Advertisement

Arm lift surgery guide

Arm lift surgery guide

Alternatives

Supplementary treatments

Thinking about getting cosmetic surgery?

Download our free 64 page PDF guide

Submit a request for further information, a quotation or indicative cost. Your enquiry will be forwarded to up to 3 private healthcare providers. They will respond directly with further information.

Get a quote for a private arm lift >

Arm lift surgery, also known as arm reduction surgery or brachioplasty, aims to reduce the amount of excess skin underneath the upper arm. It can be done in men and women, but tends to be done more often in women who develop flaps of sagging skin known commonly as bingo wings or bat wings as they get older.

Why consider an arm lift?

Loose tissue and skin under the upper arm is often seen in people who have lost a lot of weight. If you have been obese and have completed a weight loss programme successfully, your self-esteem can be held back by poor body appearance caused by loose and flaccid skin. This can be apparent on the main trunk of the body but another key area is the underside of the upper arms. Bingo wings or bat wings can also develop in women whose weight has been stable but find that their skin loses its elasticity and firmness with ageing. This type of loose skin is difficult to improve, even with dedicated exercise but good results can be obtained with an arm lift.

What is involved in arm reduction surgery?

The type of arm reduction that you have will depend on your particular arms and the technique favoured by your cosmetic surgeon. In general, an arm lift takes about two hours (one hour for each arm) and involves:

  • Making an incision under the arm in a line between the elbow and the armpit. This is kept as small as possible.
  • Cutting away fatty tissue and excess skin.
  • Liposuction. This technique may also be used to suck out some more excess fatty tissue from under the skin that is being left in place.
  • Stitching. When the cosmetic surgeon is happy with the shape, the incision is closed, lifting and tightening the entire upper arm so that no sagging remains.

What to expect after an arm lift

It is important to let fluid out of the wound so you are likely to be fitted with a drain in each arm for the first day after surgery. You will be encouraged to get out of bed and move around to help tissue drainage. Your arms will feel sore but most patients cope well with painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. 

Your arms will have dressings, including elastic sleeve type bandages to support the upper arms. You will need to continue wearing these for several weeks as healing progresses.

Most people go home in 1-2 days and return to work after two weeks. Your cosmetic surgeon will advise you about when to resume exercise or strenuous activity and the final results will be apparent only after about 9 months when healing is complete and your scars have faded.

What risks are involved in arm lift surgery?

In addition to bleeding and infection, arm lift surgery can lead to:

  • Scars that are raised or slow to fade. This will depend on the way your skin reacts but scars will fade over time.
  • Pain, swelling and bruising. Again, this depends on each patient. Let your cosmetic surgeon know if you are still experiencing pain that is difficult to cope with after the first few days.
  • Skin numbness. Sometimes the nerves in the skin are damaged, leading to a loss of feeling underneath the arm.
  • Disappointment. If you had unrealistic expectations, the final result may not please you. In rare cases, there is obvious asymmetry between the two arms, which can only be corrected by a second operation.

Submit a request for further information, a quotation or indicative cost. Your enquiry will be forwarded to up to 3 private healthcare providers. They will respond directly with further information.

Get a quote for a private arm lift >

Thinking about getting cosmetic surgery?

Download our free 64 page PDF guide

Advertisement

Features

Latest news

Andrew Goldberg was featured on Radio 4's 'Inside Health' in 2014.

Val Cornwall was diagnosed with osteoarthritis which meant that the cartilage between her toe and...

30,000 people are diagnosed with ankle arthritis annually

FREE Guide
FREE Guide

64 page PDF guide to cosmetic surgery

  • Practical advice about what you need to do
  • Learn about the benefits and risks
  • Advice on choosing a surgeon and hospital

Find a ...

Advertisement