Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) Surgery


A brachioplasty or arm lift is a surgery designed to re-lift the sagging upper arm skin. This procedure is typically done in patients that have lost a significant amount of weight from either bariatric procedures or pregnancy. These patients may also be candidates for “lifting” procedures on the thighs or possible abdominoplasties. When some or all of these procedures are performed together they may sometimes then be called a body lift.

Dr. Parson will be able to determine whether you are a candidate for a arm lift procedure after your consultation. Some patients may also be candidates for thigh lift and an abdominoplasty. Dr. Parson will be able to give you a very honest opinion about which procedure is more suited to your body and your overall goals. Unlike liposuction, which involves small incisions placed in inconspicuous areas, arm lift plastic surgery requires lengthy incisions. Fortunately, these incisions can be located on the upper portion of the arms and can generally be hidden when the arms are naturally placed at one’s sides.

Arm Lift Patient Photos

Please note that all photos are actual patients of Dr. Parson.

Arm Lift

The First Arm Lift Office Visit

The first office visit is a time when both you and Dr. Parson can become acquainted with one another. Dr. Parson will listen to your specific concerns and goals in regards to your arms. You will also have a chance to meet with other members of Dr. Parson’s team. During the visit a thorough medical history and physical examination will be obtained. Dr. Parson will also use the state-of-the art TouchMD system. TouchMD is designed to help you, as a patient, be better informed and aware of your medical experiences. You will be given access to the web portal, which will allow you to relive the experience you had in the doctor’s exam room.

Dr. Parson will then develop a surgical plan that is specific to each patient. He will explain, in easy to understand terms, why certain procedures are better “fits” for each patient’s various situations. Dr. Parson will also discuss whether a thigh lift or abdominoplasty would be of benefit in your particular situation.

The Pre-Operative Arm Lift Period

It is important that plastic surgery patients take certain measures in the pre-operative period to decrease chances for potential complications. All of your medications will be reviewed prior to this period. Any medications that may cause surgical complications will be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to operation. Any infections that arise prior to operation, however seemingly trivial, should be reported to our office. Even an otherwise innocent infection can result in a surgical wound infection, and must be treated prior to arm lift surgery.

Appropriate prescription medications will be written well prior to your procedure. This will allow you to have your medication when you return home from the operation.

Pre-operative photographs are taken at this appointment. These photos will be recorded in the TouchMD system so that you will also have access to them from home. These photos will serve as a marker for you to see the improvement from your brachioplasty surgery afterwards. You will be asked to sign a surgical consent. The consent explains the potential risks of the procedure in detail. Some of these risks have been explained here, but more discussion will occur at the consultation.

You will need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the surgery center. It’s important to have someone stay with you for at least 24 hours after surgery for your comfort and safety. If you don’t have help available Dr. Parson’s office will be able to assist you.

The Day of Arm Lift Surgery

Arm lift surgery is performed with a general anesthetic. Our board-certified anesthesiologist feels that this method of anesthesia provides the greatest degree of patient satisfaction for this procedure. The surgery usually takes 2 hours. Dr. Parson will utilize one of several techniques depending on the amount of arm skin droopiness. Liposuction is typically performed at the same time to improve the overall appearance of the area. Drains may be placed at the completion of the surgery and can usually be removed within the first 3- days. All incisions will be then closed with dissolvable sutures.

The Post-Operative Arm Lift Period

When Dr. Parson is finished with your surgery he will place you in a special compressive dressing with gauze. Your arms may initially be swollen, and bruised. This should quickly resolve over the following 7-10 days. Pain should not be severe, and is usually well controlled with the pain medication that is prescribed.

After 2 to 3 days, Dr. Parson or his nurse will remove your dressings, and the incisions are checked to ensure that there are no problems or complications. Once the dressings are removed you will then be able to shower. Dr. Parson will provide you with additional dressings and instruct you to stay in them 24/7 over the next 4 to 6 weeks. This helps with pain and swelling and provides support to the surgical area. Sensation will gradually return over the next 6 to 8 weeks. It normally takes approximately 12 weeks for all of the initial swelling to subside, and it takes 1 to 2 years for the scars to mature and fade. Dr. Parson will ask that post-operative photos be taken at some point in time when adequate healing has occurred so that results can be compared to pre-operative photos.

Risks of Arm Lift surgery

Complications of brachioplasty surgery are uncommon. When complications do occur they can include: bleeding, hand or finger numbness, infection, or a reaction to the anesthetic or sedative medications. You may experience temporary or even permanent numbness in the upper extremity. Differences that were present in arm size prior to surgery may not be able to be completely correctable following surgery. Permanent scarring will be present following the procedure. Dr. Parson will attempt to minimize these scars as much as possible, however, part of the final scar appearance will be dependent on how each patient individually heals. When poor healing is present there may be areas of scars that remain more prominent when compared to other areas. These types of scars may require further treatment.

Dr. Parson will discuss your particular scarring potential in more detail at the time of your consultation. When arm lift surgery is performed with a thigh lift or an abdominoplasty procedure, additional risks might be possible (please see thigh lift and abdominoplasty sections).

Schedule Your Arm Lift Consultation Today

Dr. Shaun parson is a board certified plastic surgeon and a leading provider of breast and body contouring procedures. If you have been considering arm lift surgery or other procedures such as tummy tuck, liposuction, breast augmentation or breast lift in Scottsdale, contact his practice today at 480-282-8386 to schedule an informational consultation.