Questions about Arm Lifts

Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery serving Alexandria, Arlington, Springfield, Fairfax & Washington, D.C.

What is an arm lift?

Brachioplasty, also known as an arm lift, is a procedure to remove excess skin and fat hanging from the upper arms, a condition commonly caused by aging and weight changes.

What is the arm lift procedure like?

The brachioplasty procedure consists of creating an incision that extends from the armpit to the elbow. Depending on the amount of fat, some liposuction may be utilized before the excess skin is removed. The skin is then pulled taut, the incision closed and the upper arm areas dressed.

Is an arm lift a better option than liposuction?

Although liposuction is often used in arm lifts to remove fatty tissue, liposuction of the upper arm area alone is typically best suited for patients with good skin tone and a limited amount of excess fat. Arm lifts are usually a better solution for patients with a large amount of excess skin under the arms, a condition commonly referred to as “bat wings.”

Is an arm lift painful?

You will be under anesthesia during the procedure, but some residual discomfort as your body heals is normal and can be controlled with pain medication.

Am I a candidate for an arm lift?

A consultation with accomplished Springfield plastic surgeon, Dr. Eric Desman will determine if an arm lift is the best option to achieve your aesthetic goals. Generally, ideal candidates for brachioplasty are within 10 to 20 pounds of their intended long-term weight and in overall good health. If you’re planning to lose weight, it’s advisable to do so prior to your arm lift; the more weight you lose prior to surgery, the more excess skin that can be removed during your procedure.

What is the arm lift recovery process?

Most patients are able to return to work and resume day-to-day activities within a week after the brachioplasty procedure. You may need to wear compression sleeves for a couple weeks following surgery to help reduce swelling. Although most people can engage in moderate cardiovascular exercise within two weeks, strenuous physical activity should be avoided for at least four weeks after your arm lift. Dr. Desman will thoroughly review your recovery guidelines with you prior to surgery and clear you for increased physical activity as you heal.

Will I have scars?

Due to the nature of the incision used to effectively remove excess skin and fat, you will have scars following your arm lift procedure. In many cases, the scars—which extend from your armpit to near your elbow—are difficult to detect, and most patients find residual scarring an acceptable tradeoff to the loss of underarm flab. Individuals also heal and manifest scarring differently, and some patients’ scars will be less obvious than others.

If you live in the Washington, D.C., or Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax or Springfield, Virginia, areas and would like to learn more about arm lifts, please contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Eric Desman at the Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery to schedule your consultation.