Arm Lift Surgery

Brachioplasty Surgery (Arm Lift Surgery)

Because Dr. Kelly Sullivan is a leader in post-weight loss Cosmetic surgery in Annapolis, MD we see quite a few arm lift patients in the course of their body contouring journeys. After weight loss (or gravity over time), the skin on your upper arms can become loose and hang. Patients are often frustrated with how they look wearing t-shirts, tank tops, or shirts with tight sleeves. It may also cause infections, rashes, or difficulty exercising. An arm lift surgery or brachioplasty with or without liposuction can help improve the shape of your arms and how you feel about yourself.
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Techniques of Arm Lift Surgery

Each arm lift is individualized depending on the amount of extra skin and fat and the amount of improvement desired.


If there is only a small amount of extra skin improvement can be made with a small incision near the armpit. Post-arm lift scarring is often very difficult to see.

If you have a larger amount of extra skin, then you will need to have an incision shaped like the letter L that goes from just above the elbow to the armpit. The incision can even extend down the chest wall to remove extra tissue there. After the incision has been made, Dr. Sullivan will gently elevate the skin and fat off of the underlying arm muscles.

The extra skin and fat are removed, and the skin is re-draped over the underlying muscles. One or more drains may be placed beneath the incision. These slender tubes assist in draining fluid that accumulates beneath the incision and delays healing.

The arm lift incisions are carefully closed with multiple layers of strong sutures to minimize your scar. All of the sutures are beneath the skin and are absorbed by your body so they will not have to be removed after surgery.

A sterile dressing is applied to the incisions, and a compression garment is placed around your arms. This compression garment helps support your arms during healing, decreases postoperative swelling, and helps decrease bruising.

If you have extra skin but no extra fat, then a one-stage surgery to remove the skin will give you the results you want. If there are fat deposits as well as extra skin, then you may get better results from a two-stage approach with liposuction first and skin surgery at a second stage to address skin that doesn’t shrink enough over time.

Risks Associated With Arm Lift Surgery

What to Expect After Arm Lift Surgery

Brachioplasty or Arm lift surgery can safely be done in an outpatient surgery center. You will need to be taken home by a friend or family member. You may choose a private duty nurse to care for you in the comfort and privacy of your own home for the first few days after surgery.

Antibiotics and pain medication will be prescribed and should be taken as directed. The pain medications can cause constipation, so we recommend you use over-the-counter stool softeners to help prevent this. The dressings will be taken off in the office a few days after arm lift surgery, and the drainage tubes will be removed when the drainage is minimal.

You should plan to take it easy following your surgery. No strenuous activities, heavy lifting (over 10 pounds), aerobic exercises, swimming, contact sports, tennis, or golf should be planned for the first three weeks. You should wear the compression garment for three weeks following surgery. You will see some results instantly after surgery, but it can take 6-12 months to see the final contour and scar.