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Arm Lift [Brachioplasty]

Brachioplasty is a surgical procedure to remove excess skin and fatty tissue from the upper arm and is sometimes referred to as an armlift procedure.

Arm tissue relaxes and descends with aging, gravity, and weight loss. Often, patients who have experienced considerable weight loss find themselves with sagging skin in embarrassing places that no amount of exercise will improve. One area particularly affected is the upper arms, where women tend to store excess fat and have less supporting muscle tone.

The drooping of skin is from a stretching of the anchoring fascial system and loss of supporting fat. The extra sagging can result in a significant “loose hammock” like deformity from the axilla to the elbow. Some call this a “bat wing” deformity. Also, if the skin has poor elasticity and will not contract with conventional liposculpture then brachioplasty is indicated.

The Surgery

Brachioplasty surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia. It involves excision of skin along the lower border of the arm and will leave a thin scar along the inside of the arm. There are different degrees of ptosis (drooping) deformity. Brachioplasty surgery can remove the excess tissue and reduce the circumference of the upper arm. Surgical correction depends on the amount of extra skin and how loose the supporting tissues have become. An incision is made along the underside of the upper arm, in the most inconspicuous place, and unwanted skin and tissue are carefully removed to reveal the more natural contour of the arms. In cases where there is loose skin of the lateral chest, the incision can be extended into the axilla to deal with the extra tissue there. Liposuction may be employed during the arm lift to accentuate your results.


Because of the level of the brachioplasty surgical incisions, visible scars can be a major concern. Meticulous surgical technique and good after surgery scar care can limit the degree of scarring.
Other possible complications include persistent swelling of the arm, infection, bruising, and bleeding. Nerve injury can result in numbness and change in feeling.*

Brachioplasty is not suitable after mastectomy or operations in the axilla lymph nodes. Those with multiple infections of the sweat gland may also not be candidates for brachioplasty. Drainage of the arm may already be impaired, and further surgery may lead to permanent arm swelling.

After Surgery Care

Recovery post brachioplasty takes one to two weeks. Swelling is generally mild to moderate, and peaks at 2 to 3 days. While each person’s recovery is unique, bruising and swelling after an arm lift generally lasts 1 to 2 weeks. You’ll probably be able to return to work in a week, and resume exercise within 2 weeks. Strenuous workouts and contact sports can be engaged in after about four weeks.*

The dressing after brachioplasty includes use of elastic support to minimise swelling. You will need to protect the incisions after surgery. Limiting lifting is important. Elevation with pillows increases comfort. It can take 6 months or more to see how the scars will evolve.*


Patients benefit from improved balance and proportion in the contour of the arm, often resulting in greater confidence and comfort in clothing.

To learn more about whether a brachioplasty (arm lift) surgery is the right choice for you, contact Perth Bariatric Centre today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Padovan.

For more information on cosmetic choices, Dr Padovan offers a broad range of treatments. Feel free to visit his additional website: www.timelesscosmetics.com.au

*Results may vary for individual patients. Please consult your surgeon.

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