An upper arm lift, also known as “brachioplasty,” reduces excess skin and fat from the upper arm. This procedure targets the problem area between the underarm and the elbow, and serves to contours the arm, resulting in smoother skin and a more toned appearance. Problems with skin in the upper arm area is common and often distressing for patients, with derogatory and embarrassing names such as “tuck shop” arms, “bingo wings” well know to those who suffer from this problem.
An arm lift is usually considered as a post weight loss surgery for those who have lost a large amount of weight, resulting in loose, sagging skin, or due to ageing where the skin has lost its elasticity and tone.
It is important to note that an arm reduction is not a weight loss measure or a replacement for diet and exercise. Arm reduction surgery should only be considered when as much excess fat from the upper arms has already been lost, and there is a significant skin excess or looseness. If you are considering an arm lift you should as close to your ideal weight as possible, with a healthy lifestyle and not smoking.
Meet your Surgeon
Dr. Justine O’Hara
Meet your Surgeon
Education and Training:
- Attended University of Sydney attaining an MBBS with Honours in 1999, after a Science Degree at University of Queensland.
- Completed 8 years of rigorous training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery training under the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons across Sydney and New South Wales tertiary hospitals.
- Was awarded her Fellowship in 2013, training across all aspects of Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery.
- Appointed as a Consultant in 2013 at the esteemed Royal North Shore Hospital and Concord Hospitals. She is a member of the governing bodies RACS, ASPS, ASAPS and is active in governance and patient outcomes.
- Travelled to gain super-specialist training in the United Kingdom with Fellowships in:
- Aesthetic Surgery with Mr Barry Jones
- Craniofacial Surgery at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children
- Microsurgery at Cambridge University Hospital
- Burns Surgery at St Andrew’s Centre for Plastic Surgery.
- Invited to be a Craniofacial Consultant at the outstanding Great Ormond Street Hospital.
How can this arm lift procedure help me?
An arm lift can assist in providing a smooth, toned and contoured appearance to the upper arms.
Benefits of Brachioplasty include:
- Reduces bulky fat in the upper arms
- Creates a better contoured arm shape
- Removes loose underarm skin, particularly after weight loss
- Allows clothes to fit better and more comfortably
The Consultation Process: What to Expect
During the consultation, your Pure Aesthetics plastic surgeon will ask you questions covering everything from your current health situation to details about the physical outcomes you desire. Be prepared to talk about current medications, allergies and any past or current medical treatments.
Your specialist plastic surgeon will also closely go over your options and recommendations. We will carefully examine your arm and take measurements. You will also discuss the recovery process and any potential complications that could arise. This is the time to ask your plastic surgeon any initial questions that you might have.
The Procedure: What Does it Involve?
The incision for arm lift surgery is on the inside or towards the back of your upper arm. A brachioplasty incision sometimes extends all the way from the underarm to the elbow, but may be shorter. The surgery will leave a scar that fades over time, but may always be somewhat visible.
The loose and excess skin and fat from the upper arm is removed, then the remaining skin is pulled over the new contour and tightened, leaving a result that is shapely, smooth and tight.
The effect of arm lift surgery is visible immediately and your results will improve over time as swelling decreases during recovery.
Before surgery begins, your upper arms will be marked to outline where the incisions will be made. The surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and takes about 2 to 3 hours. The length of the incision, and the final scar, will vary depending on the degree of the correction and may start at your underarm and finish at the elbow. Excess skin is removed to restore the shape to a more natural contour with the skin redraped and retightened, reshaping the upper arm.
Drains are not usually used, and stitches are dissolving and do not need to be removed.
Will I need to be hospitalised for the arm lift surgery?
As an isolated procedure, arm reduction is usually done as “day surgery”, although this procedure is often combined with other procedures, which may need overnight stay in hospital.
Can I combine arm lift with other procedures?
Yes, brachioplasty is usually performed after major weight loss to remove excess skin. If other areas of the body have also been affected, it can be combined to correct these areas also. Common procedures performed with an arm lift include liposuction, body lift, breast surgery, and more. Arm lift surgery is often part of a comprehensive post weight loss surgery approach to remove excess skin.
What is recovery after arm lift like?
Advancements in anaesthesia over recent years has meant more comfort for patients – less pain with minimal post operative sedation and nausea and a quick recovery to “feeling normal.” The anaesthetists in my team are highly skilled and experienced in modern techniques and devoted to keeping you comfortable.
Initially you may feel “woozy” as the anaesthetic wears off. You may feel some soreness, swelling or discomfort, but this is usually easily manageable. You may also feel tired after surgery, but this and the soreness is normal and will last only a short while.
Support garments are worn for several weeks. It will be six weeks before patients can commence strenuous exercise, and a scar management program will be continued for several months after surgery.
What are the results of arm reduction like: What and When?
The results are apparent almost immediately, however initially masked by swelling and bruising. Once this has resolved, the smoother, tighter and contoured appearance is visible.
An arm lift provides long-lasting results. As long as you stay healthy and in good shape, you should be able to enjoy your new arms for many years.
When will I be back to normal after arm lift surgery?
In most cases, you can resume light normal activities within one to two week’s time. Strenuous activity should be avoided for 4-6 weeks. You can then gradually increase your activity and should be back to normal in 6 weeks. For the first few weeks after arm reduction surgery, there can be significant swelling, and this is managed by wearing surgical compression sleeves for the first few weeks.
What complications can arise from the procedure?
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications. These include:
- Bruising, bleeding, heamotoma formation
- Anaesthetic problems
- Deep Vein thrombosis
Risks and complications specific to Brachioplasty include:
- Extensive scarring that may be thickened, widened or uneven pattern
- Wound healing problems
- Altered skin sensation
- “Dog ears”
What are the scars like for arm reduction?
Brachioplasty requires an extensive incision in order to remove excess skin and provide a dramatic result that removes extensive hanging skin, and the scars usually need to extend from the armpit to the elbow. Depending on your individual problem, the position of the scar will be determined to try and make it as hidden, of the best quality and acceptable as possible.
The scars will gradually fade over time and we will give you as much information on what you can do to assist in good wound healing.
We aim to achieve scars of superior quality and minimal length; however your personal anatomy and healing pattern are ultimately responsible.
Is having arm lift surgery right for me?
The patients who benefit most from having arm lift surgery are those with significant looseness and hanging of the skin of the upper arm, usually due to significant or rapid weight loss, the ageing process or genetics.
The ideal arm lift plastic surgery patient is a healthy non-smoker at a stable weight. Your Pure Aesthetics plastic surgeon will discuss in detail your personal goals for arm reduction surgery to ensure that your expectations about the procedure are realistic.
Are there other options to arm reduction?
If diet and exercise has been exhausted, brachioplasty will provide the best result for a dramatic difference to your upper arm. Liposuction will not result in excess skin removal, but can help reduce excess fat if the skin tone is reasonably good.
What else should I consider before having this surgery?
One of the major trades-offs for brachioplasty surgery are the potential scars. There are different techniques used for arm lifts depending on your severity and individual circumstances.
Your Pure Aesthetics plastic surgeon will go through which option is best for you in order to achieve the best results.
You should also consider if you are happy with your body weight and whether you intend to lose any weight in the future.
You may also want to consider your planning for the healing period. Will you need help or assistance from others? Also if you do encounter complications, it is a good idea to understand how they are typically handled so that you are fully prepared.
Do you have any more questions?
Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions that you might have about this procedure. Our team will be happy to address any concerns that you may have.
Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) Before & After
What are the costs of arm lift?
***Please note, there have been recent Medicare changes that affect the costs associated with body contouring procedures (including arm lift).
As of 1 January 2016, Brachioplasty attracts Medicare and Health Insurance rebates only after significant weight loss (BMI reduction of at least 5 points) and other specific criteria. If you do not meet these criteria, arm reduction is considered cosmetic, and there are no Medicare rebates, and your private hospital insurance will not cover any costs.
Out of Pocket expenses start at $9,400 including Surgeon, Anaesthetist, and hospital fees (where you meet the criteria for Medicare and are covered by private health insurance).
Please note, it is your responsibility to check with your insurance provider if you are covered for hospital and any associated costs.
For an accurate price, please contact us to schedule your consultation.