FAQs About Arm Lift Surgery

Arm Lift
Dr. Phillip Chang

Dr. Phillip Chang

Board Certified By The American Board of Plastic Surgeons.
Voted Top Plastic Surgeon in Loudoun, Virginia
Offices in Leesburg, Virginia.

Best of SUBURBIA
Best of Loudoun 2019
real self top doctor virginia

Loose, saggy skin around your upper arms, sometimes referred to as ‘bat wings,’ is a common problem many people experience. Whether it occurs after extreme weight loss due to excess hanging skin or during the natural aging process, having this loose skin can be the cause of embarrassment for many. Many who suffer from this excess skin on their arms opt for a procedure called a brachioplasty, more commonly referred to as an arm lift.

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What is an Arm Lift?

An arm lift is a cosmetic procedure performed in an outpatient setting by a board-certified physician. The main goal is to tighten and reshape arm tissue by tightening and removing excess skin and fat. The ultimate goal is to make your arms look defined and toned.

Who is a Good Candidate for an Arm Lift Surgery?

Someone who is healthy and non-smoking is an ideal candidate. If you do smoke, you should stop using all tobacco products at least 4 weeks before your surgery. If you’ve recently lost a significant amount of weight, you should wait around 6 months and remain at a stable weight before considering this surgery.

How Long Will the Results Last?

The results of an arm lift surgery are permanent as long as you maintain your weight! If you gain a significant amount of weight after your surgery, it could compromise your results. 

We also recommend starting to incorporate weight lifting into your exercise routine after you are fully healed from your arm lift surgery. The strengthened arms will add extra shape and definition to your arms! 

What Does the Procedure Look Like?

After a consultation, you and your physician will discuss what you want to see in your end results. On the day you come in for your procedure, the doctor will mark on your arm where the incision will be. Most commonly, incisions will be made on the back of your arm and under your arm to hide the scar as much as possible. In extreme cases, the scar will go from the top of your elbow to your armpit, but sometimes the incision can be kept to only your armpit. It depends on how much reshaping needs to be done.

You will be given either a local or general anesthetic depending on the surgical method your doctor chooses. They will use the marks on your arms as guides to tighten and shape your arm tissue, then they will pull your skin back over the tissue and use stitches or sutures to close the incisions.

In certain situations, liposuction may also be used to get rid of excess fat still present that may make healing more difficult. Typically the procedure takes no longer than three hours.

Arm lift exercise - Arm lift surgery

Will There be a Large Scar?

As mentioned above, there will be a scar. It’s size will depend on how much fat needs reshaping and the location of your excess skin. If your surgery involves the upper area of the arm, near the armpit, the scar will likely be placed under the armpit and can be hidden by short sleeved clothing. The more traditional arm lift surgery which covers all of the upper arm down to the elbow will mean a longer scar. 

Remember, scars fade with time, and it is important to look after the scar by minimizing sun exposure. You should also be sure to work with a qualified plastic surgeon. Qualified plastic surgeons will do their best to hide the scars. 

What are the Risks with Arm Lift Surgery?

Arm lift surgery carries the same risks as all surgical procedures. You may experience:

  • Infection
  • Excessive Bleeding
  • Permanent Scarring
  • Nerve and muscle damage – which could limit feeling in the arm

Your surgeon will monitor you post-op to ensure you are healing well and staying healthy.

What Does Recovery Require?

You will want to make sure you have someone to drive you home after your procedure and to stay with you overnight to ensure there are no complications. Your doctor will go over post-surgical care with you prior to the surgery. Follow the instructions to make sure that you heal quickly and maintain your desired results.

You may need to wear compression garments to reduce swelling as well as have a drainage tube to drain any excess fluids after surgery. This will be removed by your doctor when the swelling goes down.

The postoperative care instructions will tell you how to care for your wounds once you go home. They will also include instructions for medications, warning signs and follow up appointments.

Beautiful Under Arm

When Will I See My Arm Lift Results?

After your arm lift surgery, it is important to limit arm movement for the first 7-10 days until most of the bruising and swelling goes down. Most people are able to return to work within 14 days of the procedure. Within six weeks you should be able to mostly return to normal activity.

You’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see the full effect of your arm lift. Swelling can last for 3-6 months after surgery. You skin may fill number for 3-6 months, and your scars will take 12-18 months to whiten (if you use scar creams in the first 3 months after surgery).

But, about 6-12 months after your arm lift surgery, you will have arms that you’ll love showing off in all your favorite summer tanks and dresses! 

Can This Surgery Be Combined with Other Surgeries?

Yes! Arm lifts are often combined with liposuction. The liposuction removes the fatty tissue and the arm lift tightens the skin and tone of the arm. Other surgeries that are popular with an arm lift surgery include: body lift, tummy tuck and neck lift. 

Schedule a free consultation with a plastic surgeon to discuss your goals. They can go over the potential costs and recovery time as well as provide their expert opinion on procedures that will help you achieve your goals and boost your body confidence.

What Does an Arm Lift Surgery Cost?

Because the specific needs in an arm lift surgery vary, as well as the combined procedures, we can’t give a set-in-stone arm lift surgery cost. If you think an arm lift surgery would boost your confidence and help you love your look, we recommend setting up a free consultation with Dr. Chang to evaluate your specific needs. From there, we can give an accurate cost estimate. 

Girl doing exercise - Arm lift

Ready to bid farewell to bat wings?

If you’re wondering if you would make a good candidate for an arm lift, we invite you to simply come in for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Chang or one of the cosmetic laser and injection nurses to explore whether you would make a good candidate. To find out more whether Aesthetica can help you, contact us online or at 703-729-5553 to arrange an appointment. Dr. Phillip Chang is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Northern Virginia near Leesburg, Virginia and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments.

Let Us Help You!

Our office can provide you with helpful information, schedule a free consultation, and walk you through the many services and procedures we offer.

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