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What is a brachioplasty?

An upper arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that reduces excessive skin that sags in the upper arm region. Brachioplasty allows your surgeon to remove excess skin while tightening and smoothing out the remaining tissue, in order to reshape the patient’s upper arm.


Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight, older individuals, or those genetically predisposed to dropping, sagging upper arms.


Brachioplasty can be done using a variety of incision methods. The incision placement and length along the upper arm is dependent on the amount of skin to be removed, as well as location of the excessive skin within the upper arm. The incision line is most commonly placed in the inner arm or on the back of the arm, usually from axilla to elbow. Some patients may only require a minimal incision along the axilla. Depending on the patient’s specific condition and desired outcome, our surgeons evaluate and treat on an individual basis.


This surgical procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis, in our Joint Commission certified operating suite. Surgery lasts on average of 3 hours, and then patients are discharged home that same day. Patients who undergo brachioplasty will follow up in our office 1-3 days post operatively.

Things to know:

  • Patient will have 2 drains (1 in each arm). The drains are necessary to allow excess blood or fluid to drain from arms. You will need to milk and empty these drains, recording the output preferably twice daily and at the same time each day. Drains will remain in place until output is less than 30ml for an entire 24-hour period.
  • You will have to wear a compression garment around the arms for a minimum of 4 weeks, except while showering.
  • You may begin showering in 48 hours after surgery. When showering, wash all areas with soap and water, and pat dry with a towel. It is important that you do not submerge your surgical incision in water (i.e. no bath tubs, swimming pools, etc.).
  • Sutures will be absorbable. Follow up appointments will be scheduled on a weekly basis until drains are removed, at which time follow up appointment will typically be schedule in two-week intervals. You may begin scar massage and use of scar creams approximately 3 weeks after surgery.
  • Elevation of your arms is very important post operatively to help control and improve swelling. Patients should keep arms elevated to a maximum of 90 degrees, as much as possible. It is important that patient’s DO NOT elevate arms above 90 degrees for the first couple weeks.

Postoperative restrictions are as follows:

Patients may NOT elevate arms past 90 degrees for approximately 2 weeks, no heavy lifting, pushing or pulling for 4 weeks. At 4 weeks post operatively, we will gradually increase the weight you may lift and your activities over the next few weeks. At 8 weeks you are cleared for full activity.