What to expect from arm lift surgery

Written by: Miss Judith Hunter
Published: | Updated: 08/01/2020
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Had weight loss surgery and left with loose or excess skin on the upper arms? Or perhaps your arms are the problem area that you just can’t seem to tone up with exercise? If this sounds familiar then you might want to consider arm lift surgery (brachioplasty) to help remove your ‘bingo wings’.

Here, consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon Miss Judith Hunter explains what to expect from arm lift surgery and what happens during the process of healing.

 

Woman thinking about having surgery

Who is suitable for arm lift surgery?

During brachioplasty, the excess skin from the upper inner arm above the elbow, which sometimes extends into your armpit, is removed. The procedure is usually performed on patients who have lost a lot of weight and have folds of skin in this area.
 

Are there any scars following arm lift surgery?

The surgical scars can be tailored to the position of excess skin but usually, they are long vertical scars in the inner aspect of your upper arm. They will be hidden when the arms are held by your sides but otherwise will be visible. The shape of the arms should be improved and the sleeves of your clothes will fit more easily. The excision may also be combined with liposuction.
 

Are the scars from brachioplasty permanent?

The scars will be permanent. They will be red and raised to begin with and may take up to 18-months to settle down. Once they have faded, they will always be there if you look closely enough. Once the wounds are completely healed, moisturising and massaging the scars can help. If you have darker skin, it is possible to have problematic lumpy scars but you will be given advice on this before the surgery.
 

What happens during brachioplasty surgery?

Arm lift surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and takes between two to three hours. The following is what happens during brachioplasty:

  • It is advised not to eat or drink anything other than water for six hours before surgery.
  • You will have a pre-op assessment where a garment will be fitted and occasionally where blood tests are taken.
  • The procedure is performed as a day case.
  • Supportive garments are fitted on the day of surgery and will need to be worn both day and night for the following six weeks.
  • You should take one to two weeks off work.
  • Avoid heavy lifting or body work at the gym for a month.
  • Driving is not advisable for up to two weeks as the wounds heal.


A wound check will be required the week after surgery and then the following week, depending on how the wound is healing. Your surgeon will oversee these consultations and should also see you in the clinic at around six weeks.


If you are considering brachioplasty then do not hesitate to book an appointment with Miss Hunter now.

By Miss Judith Hunter
Plastic surgery

Miss Judith Hunter is a Senior Consultant Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeon based at Imperial College Healthcare NHS and Imperial Private Healthcare London with a special interest in all forms of breast surgery, including DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction and TUG Flap Breast Reconstruction.  Miss Hunter's work in breast reconstruction has served to finesse her cosmetic surgery procedures offered to her private patients: she regularly performs breast reductions, having performed around 1000 breast reductions over the last few years; together with breast uplift (mastopexy); breast augmentation (breast enlargement - using implants or fat transfer to breasts); augment mastopexy (breast enlargement and uplift) and removal of implants and capsulectomies and exchange.  Miss Hunter also has extensive experience in body contouring, regularly performing abdominoplasty (tummy tuck); brachioplasty (arm lift): and inner thigh lift procedures, combined with liposuction and also labiaplasty procedures.   

Miss Hunter has undertaken three microsurgery fellowships, at the Royal Marsden and St Thomas's Hospitals in London and a year in Australia.

Miss Hunter originally graduated from the University of Cambridge with a First Class Honours degree and trained for over 10 years in plastic and reconstructive surgery in Cambridge and London. She attained her FRCS (Plast) in 2011 and achieved her specialist registration in plastic surgery in 2013. In 2015 she joined the consultant plastic surgery team at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, primarily to perform immediate microsurgical flap reconstruction for breast cancer patients, her post was made substantive in May 2016.

Miss Hunter has performed over 300 DIEP free flaps over the last few years, helping the Plastic Surgery Department at Imperial College Healthcare NHS to become the second largest free flap provider for breast reconstruction in the UK; she has set up a breast reconstruction clinic at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, working together with fellow breast surgeons; she is also trained in medical tattooing, and in microsurgery for lymphoedema.

Miss Hunter teaches at the Royal College of Surgeons courses on oncoplastic breast reconstruction and is a faculty member of the Masters Programme in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery; she has over 25 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and has presented widely at national and international meetings.

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients


This website uses its own and third-party cookies to collect information in order to improve our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences, as well as to analyse your browsing habits..