Sagging upper arm skin can develop on anyone after a weight loss journey or due to aging. This excess skin and fat can interfere with daily activity by getting caught in clothes or bags carried under the arm. An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, is a cosmetic procedure to excise excess skin and fat from the upper arm. The procedure is very common and relieves people who have struggled with excess skin.
Table of Contents
What Is an Arm Lift Procedure?
An arm lift is a surgical procedure that eliminates excess skin on the upper arm that tends to hang when the arm is extended. The procedure also removes excess fat in the area, resulting in a slim upper arm that is proportionate to the lower arm.
Why Do People Get Arm Lifts?
An arm lift surgery improves the following:
- Reduces or removes sagging skin
- Reshapes your arm to create smoother skin and contours
- It can also creates a more toned symmetrical appearance
To remove excess fat, your surgeon may use a liposuction cannula for better contour.
How Much Does an Arm Lift Procedure Cost?
Arm lift costs vary depending on the extent of the procedure, plastic surgeon and medical facility. Most patients pay around $4,861, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This price is only part of the total cost, which does not include the operating room and consultation fees.
Your health insurance cover is unlikely to cover this procedure or approve it, but check with your insurance provider to confirm.
Types of Arm Lifts
Here are a few arm lift techniques or approaches you may consider for your procedure.
Traditional Arm Lift
This technique leaves a scar from the elbow to the armpit crease and is best for patients with considerable skin and fat to remove. The technique also leaves a marked improvement in the patient’s upper arms.
An Extended Arm Lift
During the consultation, your plastic surgeon may notice other problem areas along the side of your body, which can be addressed during an extended arm lift. This procedure may leave scars on the side of your body but results in better contouring.
Hidden Arm Lift
This arm lift surgery leaves a scar in the crease of the underarm. This procedure is most successful when done with liposuction. Patients with good skin elasticity are the best candidates for this procedure.
Patients looking to get rid of fat but do not want scars can opt for liposuction only. However, this will leave loose skin, especially if a considerable amount of fat is reduced.
This is a type of non-surgical arm lift procedure that does not involve making surgical incisions. This procedure is ideal in situations where there is only a moderate amount of fat to be reduced from the upper arm. CoolSculpting® does not address excess skin.
Arm Lift Q&A
Will an arm lift procedure leave scars?
Yes, the arm lift procedure requires a surgical incision to be made along the length of the upper arm, which will leave a scar. Your plastic surgeon will make the incision on the inner side of the upper arm and skillfully close the wound to result in minimal scarring. Most scars will fade over time and become barely visible.
Is arm lift painful?
Your surgeon will administer a local anesthetic that will help reduce pain for a few hours after the procedure, after which you will start on your pain medication. Overall, the pain from an arm lift is manageable.
What does arm lift recovery look like?
After an arm lift, your arms will be wrapped in elastic bandages to help minimize swelling. Your doctor will advise you to stay away from pools of water until the incision sites are fully healed. You may get drainage tubes attached to your arms, which will be taken off a few weeks after the surgical procedure. Any sutures will dissolve on their own as the wound continues to heal. Some doctors may opt to glue together the tissue, so no stitches are required.
Will my insurance cover my arm lift?
Unfortunately, most health insurance covers do not cover arm lifts because they are elective surgeries. All costs have to be covered by the patient. Associated costs include facility fees, medication costs, surgeon’s fees, consultation fees and anesthetic costs.
What risks are associated with arm lifts?
Some common risks and complications include swelling, infections, seroma (fluid buildup), asymmetry and changes in skin sensation. Check with your plastic surgeon for any other risks that you may face as a patient.
How long will my arm lift procedure last?
The results of your arm lift procedure last a lifetime. It is important to note that weight gain can affect the arm lift results by adding fat and skin around the area.