Arm Plasty

What is an Arm Plasty?

Growing older, weight fluctuations, and heredity can cause your upper arms to droop. This condition cannot be corrected through exercise. If your upper arms appear loose and full at the underside, this is mainly due to excess skin and fat. Therefore, an arm lift (or arm plasty) may be right for you.

An arm lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that

  • reduces the excess skin that sags and droops downward
  • it tightens and smooth the supportive tissue that contours the upper arm
  • reduces pockets of fat that are localized in the upper arm region

Candidates for an arm lift include

  • adults with significant upper arm laxity
  • adults who are not too overweight and have a stable weight
  • individuals that are healthy and with no medical conditions that impair the healing process or increase risk of surgery
  • non-smokers
  • those with a positive outlook and realistic expectations

The Procedure

Medications are administered during your surgical procedure. The procedure is done under general anesthesia. You will be prescribed medication prior to your surgery day in order to use before, during, and after surgery. Make sure to bring with you all of your medications to the surgery center. 

An incision will be made inside or on the back of your arm, according to the judgement of your plastic surgeon. Incision length and pattern depends on the amount and location of the excess skin that is being removed. The incision may extend from the underarm to just above the elbow or may be limited depending on your condition. Excess fat is excised or treated with liposuction.

Underlying supportive tissue is then tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. Finally, the skin is smoothed over the new shape of your arm.


Your incision will be closed with an absorbable suture and the tighter contours that result from a brachioplasty are apparently almost immediately after the surgery. However, there will likely be some swelling and bruising.

Recovery After Surgery

Dressings and elastic bandage will be applied to your incisions. You will be asked to bring a garment with you to the surgery facility to put on after your surgery in order to minimize swelling. A catheter may be placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid. You will be given specific instructions by Dr. Afifi on how to care for the surgical site and drains and what concerns to look for. Your post-surgery appointment will be the day after your surgery. During this time, Dr. Afifi will review with you your post-operative care.


The smoother, tighter contours that result from an arm lift are almost immediately noticeable. Although good results are expected from your procedure, there is no guarantee. Optimal results may not be possible to achieve with a single procedure and another surgery may be necessary. 

Arm lift surgery results are long lasting, as long as you maintain a stable weight with healthy diet and exercise. With time, most of your improvements will be relatively permanent, but it is natural to lose firmness as your body ages.

It is important that your surgical incisions are protected from excessive force, abrasion or motion. Dr. Afifi will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.

Risks and Safety

When making the decision to move forward with an arm lift surgery, you will have to decide if the benefits and risks are acceptable. You will be asked to sign consent forms during your pre-operative visit to ensure that you fully understand the procedure. Also, risks and post-operative care will be fully discussed with Dr. Afifi and she will answer all of your questions.

Risks of this procedure include

  • anesthesia risks
  • bleeding
  • infection
  • poor wound healing
  • unwanted scarring
  • fluid accumulation (seroma)
  • damage to deeper structures, i.e. nerves, blood vessels, muscles
  • fatty tissue under the skin might die (necrosis)
  • numbness or other sensation changes in the skin
  • pain, which may persist
  • sutures may not absorb and surface through the skin, causing irritating, drainage and redness
  • possibility needing revisional surgery


Prices for an arm lift can vary. Surgery includes a surgeon's fee, the surgery center fee, and the anesthesia fee. You will be responsible for buying your own garments, completing your medical tests, and filling out your prescriptions. 

Note that most health insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery nor its complications.




About ASPS

It is imporant to select an American Society of Plastic Surgeons member surgeon you can trust. Dr. Afifi is an ASPS member and rigorous standards have to be met:

  • Board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or in Canada by The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. 
  • Complete at least 6 years of surgical training flollowing medical school with a minimum of 3 years of plastic surgery residency training
  • Pass a comprehensive oral and written exam
  • Graduate from an accredited medical school
  • Complete continuing medical edition each year, this includes patient safety
  • Perform surgery in accredited, state-licensed, or Medicare-certified surgical facilities

ABPS is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Choosing an member of the (ASPS) means you are choosing a qualified, highly trained plastic surgeon who is board-certified by the ABPS.

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