Fluctuations in weight, along with the usual culprits like age and genetics, can make the arms loose and underarm skin lax. In some cases, no amount of exercise can help with toning and firming this area, but there’s plenty that can be done surgically do to improve the tone and contour of your arms. An arm lift, or brachioplasty, can re-shape them while also tightening and smoothing the supportive tissue that exists just under the skin. Excess skin is removed through incision, and sometimes liposuction is used to get rid of fat pockets in the upper arm. Countless patients undergo this procedure every year with positive, permanent results.

An arm lift is performed to:                                                                                                                         

• Reduce excess skin and pockets of fat between the underarm and the elbow                                                     

• Reshape your arms to create smoother skin and more toned, shapely contours

What To Expect

If your goal is to look better in form-fitting clothes and have more self-confidence, you will be tremendously happy with your results. However, an arm lift usually leaves behind a tell-tale scar that makes some people still hesitant to wear tank tops and short sleeves.


You will be sedated either intravenously or with general anesthesia, depending upon what’s best for you. In some cases, additional local numbing medicine will be injected into the surgical area.


Incisions will be made to remove excess skin, and liposuction may be used to remove excess fat. The skin will be sutured together for a taught appearance and better contour. If your skin sags near the armpit, it may simply need to be tucked away, resulting in a much smaller incision and smaller scar. Sutures can be inserted under the skin where they’ll gradually dissolve away.


You will go home from our Walnut Creek, Bay Area practice the same day of your procedure and have a speedy recovery, but you’ll need a friend or family member to keep you comfortable since you won’t be able to drive home or use your arms like you normally would. Your arms will be wrapped from forearm to armpit for the first 72 hours and a compression garment, which acts like a bandage, must be worn. In addition, a drain will help to remove the fluid that accumulates because of the incisions (this will help decrease postoperative swelling and bruising). You’ll be drinking only fluids for the first few hours after surgery then graduating to small bites, then full meals.

Things To Consider

 If your loose underarm skin isn’t extreme, liposuction may be a better solution for you.

 It will be at least one or two weeks before you can return to work and about ten days before you can drive.

• Bruising and swelling will peak within the first 36 to 48 hours after surgery and will gradually subside over the next ten to fourteen days.

• To minimize swelling, reduce inflammation and help with drainage, you’ll need to sleep with your arms elevated by two or three pillows for two weeks following your surgery.

• Walking is the safest form of exercise during the first week of recovery. You’ll be advised against doing any physical activity that stresses your arms (i.e. lifting weights or a child) for a full four weeks.

• Six weeks after your arm lift procedure, you should be able to resume your normal level of activity.


Q. Will it hurt?

A. Any mild to moderate pain you experience is tolerable and can be controlled with the proper medication.

 Q. Will I have unsightly scars?

A. The level of scarring ultimately depends on your skin, but the good news is your scars will be in a fairly inconspicuous location. We will work with you to help minimize the scarring long-term.

Q. How long will results last?

A. Arm lift results are permanent, although the skin will continue to show signs of age with time.