About Arm Lift Surgery

Preparing For Arm Lift Surgery

illustration of standard arm lift incision

With a traditional arm lift the incision is in the inner arm and a wide ellipse of excess skin and fat are removed. Liposuction of the arm using the Body-Jet system is often included.

At Connall Cosmetic Surgery, we have a team of professionals to prepare you for your arm lift surgery.  Thorough preoperative preparation is critical for a successful and pleasant recovery.  Once you have decided to proceed with the surgery, our team will begin preparing you.  We will see you for a preoperative evaluation in our office about three weeks before your surgery. 

We will ask that you stop taking certain medications, especially those such as aspirin that affects bleeding.  We will also ask you to stop taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy as those have been associated with increased risk of blood clots after surgery. 

In addition, if you smoke cigarettes, we will ask that you quit cigarette smoking in the weeks before surgery.  If you have significant medical problems, we may ask that you consult with your primary doctor to optimize your general health and to ensure that you are physically fit for arm lift surgery and general anesthesia. 

illustration of standard arm lift results

The traditional arm lift leaves a scar at the inside of the arm. With this approach a scar in the underarm is often necessary. The added underarm scar creates a “T”-shaped scar at the upper arm.

Your arm lift will be performed at the Meridian Center for Surgical Excellence on an outpatient basis.  Therefore, you will need a support person to help you on the day of surgery and the first night following the surgery.  Having a close and supportive friend or family member to assist you during surgery can ease the entire process and make for a more pleasant and comfortable recovery as well. 

What Happens During Arm Lift Surgery?

At Connall Cosmetic Surgery and the Meridian Center for Surgical Excellence, we have extensive experience in performing all types of arm lift surgery procedures.  We feel that our experience and integrated team approach gives our patients the best chance for an optimal outcome.   The technical aspects of the arm lift surgery will be tailored to your individual anatomy and personal preferences.

illustration of extended arm lift incision

Most weight loss patients with significant skin excess of the arm and underarm benefit from an incision that crosses the underarm to the side of the chest. A wide ellipse of arm and axillary skin and fat are removed. Body-Jet liposuction is usually included with the extended arm lift.

In most patients, an incision from the underarm to the elbow will be used.  The incision will be placed at the back of the arm.  With the final scar located at the back of the arm, the scar should not be visible from the front, even when you are wearing a sleeveless shirt. 

However, the posterior scar will be visible when viewed from behind.  In most cases, we feel that this is the best scar location aesthetically and the best placement anatomically to achieve optimal tissue removal and skin reshaping.

In some cases, the scar can be placed at the inner part of the upper arm.  However, with the scar placed at the inner part of the arm, the scar can sometimes be seen from the front when a sleeveless top is worn. The inner arm scar has advantage of not being visible from behind.  In our hands, we find that the inner arm scar has limitations in optimally removing skin in the underarm and outer chest regions, and therefore, we usually prefer the back of the arm scar.

Regardless of the scar placement, all of the excess skin and underlying fat are removed.  Sometimes a drain is then placed under the tissues.  The skin is then reshaped, tightened and closed with internal sutures.

illustration of extended arm lift results

With an extended arm lift the arm and underarm are nicely narrowed and contoured. The scar is located at the back of the arm. Some patients have excess skin around the elbow that necessitates removing skin at the elbow and leaving the scar below the elbow.

In some cases, a mini arm lift can be performed.  With the mini arm lift, an ellipse of skin is removed at the upper arm and the scar falls in the underarm area.  This approach leads to a small amount of skin removal and limited skin tightening and lifting; therefore most patients are not good candidates for a limited-scar arm lift.

An extensive skin excision procedure can be performed in patients with marked skin excess from the arm, underarm, and outer chest regions.  With this extended arm lift and lateral chest lift procedure, the excess skin along the outer chest can be removed.  This is an excellent solution to patients that have lost massive amounts of weight and with marked skin excess at the lateral chest beyond the outer part of the breast.

All of the above will be reviewed during your consultation and preoperative visit with Dr. Connall.  The above procedures have significant differences, and we tailor our approach to each individual patient.  Our experience with all variations of arm and outer chest skin excess allows us to provide optimal results for all types of arm lift patients.

Recovery from Arm Lift Surgery

The recovery begins at the Meridian Center for Surgical Excellence.  There you will recover from your surgery until you have good pain control and can begin taking oral medications.  Arm lift surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, and you may go home one to two hours after your surgery concludes.  A supportive garment with mildly compressive sleeves is placed to hold the dressings in place.  You may remove the garment and shower one day after surgery.  After five to seven days, you will feel well and can resume most routine home and work activities however, exercise and vigorous activities with the arms are limited until three to four weeks after surgery.

See The Results Of My Arm Lift

After your arm lift surgery, the arms will be smoother and the contours will be tighter.  There will be mild swelling and bruising for the first few weeks but your new shapely and toned arms will be dramatically improved both in appearance and feel.

Related Topics

~ Full Tummy Tuck A tummy tuck is great for treating skin excess and laxity of the abdomen and is an option for some patients considering buttock fat grafting.
~ Body-Jet Liposuction Body-Jet liposuction is used with buttock fat grafting surgery. Additional body-jet liposuction of the abdomen and flanks may also be considered by Brazilian buttock lift candidates.
~ Thigh Lift Thigh lifts reshape and reposition the inner and outer thighs. An inner thigh is sometimes performed in arm lift patients.
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