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Dr. Beverly Friedlander

Arm Lift

Many women seek consultation to correct loose skin in their upper arms which causes them embarrassment and prompts them to wear long sleeves. This can be caused by extra fat or most commonly, loose skin, particularly after weight loss. The skin has lost its elasticity and requires an arm lift to tighten it.

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What is an Arm Lift?

The arm lift, also known as a Brachioplasty, reduces the excess skin and fat of the upper arm resulting in a smoother shape, a more toned appearance and a better proportion. Over time, the skin may begin to sag creating a loose appearance and in some instances, a “bat wing” appearance or the dreaded double wave. The loose skin can be caused by weight loss, or it may be associated with heredity or aging. An arm lift reduces and tightens the skin between the underarm (arm pit) and the elbow restoring a more youthful appearance, increased self confidence and improved self-image.

Am I a good candidate for an Arm Lift?

Candidates for an arm lift are generally healthy, they are at or near an ideal weight and they have the following:

  • Weight loss resulting in excess upper arm skin and fat
  • Reduced upper arm skin elasticity result in sagging

This procedure is often performed on patients who have a large amount of sagging skin or fat, and/ or have lost a great deal of weight. The best candidates have loose skin that hangs from the under surface of the arm, but have very little fat. This often occurs with large amounts of weight loss, but may be seen in physically fit individuals with poor skin elasticity. In patients who have a combination of fat accumulation and loose skin, we can perform liposuction simultaneously with the lift for added improvement in contour. If there is good skin elasticity, but excess tissue, liposuction alone may provide significant benefits. If sagging skin is reducing your confidence and preventing you from wearing sleeveless garments, then an arm lift may be right for you.

What are the types of Arm Lift procedures?

Traditional Arm Lift: Most people exhibit extra skin from the arm pit to the elbow. This form of arm lift is performed most often, since it addresses the entire arm. It creates a slimmer firmer arm by removing the excess skin and contouring the fatty tissue all the way from the arm pit to the elbow. The skin is trimmed and tightened afterwards. This surgery results in a scar that is visible along the inner surface of the arm, but may be the best option available, particularly when there is a great deal of extra skin.

Extended Arm Lift: This form of arm lift is needed in the massive weight loss patient to address excess skin in the “bra roll” area and may be combined with a breast lift. With large amounts of weight loss, we may see sagging breasts and loose skin hanging over the side of the bra. An extended arm lift includes a traditional arm lift but the incision and scar extend from the arm pit down along the side of the chest to the breast fold or lower to address other areas of concern.

Minimal Scar Arm Lift: This form of arm lift is best when the excess skin is restricted to the upper arm near the axilla (arm pit). The extra skin can be removed horizontally rather than vertically as done in the traditional arm lift, and tucked up in the under-arm region. This is usually combined with liposuction and results in a scar that is confined to the axilla. A second advantage to this procedure is that it removes almost all the hair under the arm. This may be an option for you if you are concerned about a visible scar, or have limited excess tissue.

How long does an Arm Lift take?

An arm lift is performed as an outpatient procedure and typically requires 2-4 hours.

What is the recovery after Arm Lift like?

The length and process of recovery is different for everyone. Swelling is the most common short term issue, and may last for several weeks. There may be some swelling in your hands resulting from gravity and daily use, but this disappears spontaneously. Dr. Friedlander recommends compressive wraps, for up to 6 weeks, and elevation to help reduce swelling. Generally 2-4 weeks out of work is needed for recovery, but the exact time will depend on the nature of the work you do as well as the surgery performed. There is no strenuous activity or working out for 4-6 weeks after the procedure. The improvement achieved with an arm lift is long lasting, and visible immediately after the surgery. The scars fade over time becoming less noticeable. Dr. Friedlander will provide specific recommendations during your consultation to ensure your best recovery.

What are the risks with Arm Lift surgery?

All surgeries carry certain risks. Dr. Friedlander will discuss the risks with you during your consultation. Arm lifts are generally safe but the risks may include:

  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Altered sensation
  • Swelling
  • Seroma
  • Possible need for revision surgery

Schedule an Arm Lift consultation

For more details and to find out if an arm lift is right for you please contact us to schedule a consultation or call our office at 973-524-7124.


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Beverly Friedlander MD
636 Morris Turnpike, Suite 1A
Short Hills, New Jersey 07078

Phone: (973) 524-7124

Fax: (973) 912-8070

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