Brachioplasty or arm lift is a procedure that removes loose, sagging skin from the upper arms. It is generally sought by patients who have experienced significant weight loss, although many people get saggy arms with time, and this is usually resistant to improvements with exercise.

The Procedure

Arm lift procedures are classified according to whether they leave a vertical scar along the length of your arm or a horizontal scar concealed in the armpit. A vertical arm lift allows for more skin to be removed and results in a significant improvement in contour and shape at the expense of a longer and more obvious scar. A horizontal arm lift results in a better, smaller scar but gives only a marginal improvement in arm contour. In either technique, liposuction is used to remove excess fat from the area and then the sagging skin is removed. The contour will be immediately improved; however the final result will be apparent when the swelling subsides in around 3 weeks. The surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic in a hospital.

Recovery from Arm Lift Surgery

Isolated arm lift surgery is usually performed as day stay surgery, but the procedure is frequently combined with other surgical procedures such as liposuction or breast surgery. During your surgery, your surgeon will infiltrate the wounds with local anaesthetic so that your arms and wounds are comfortable.
During the first two weeks, you should keep your arms elevated to help reduce the chance of swelling and a compression garment may need to be worn for several weeks after the surgery to protect the incisions and help the skin to retract back to its new contour and shape.
The recovery period is about 2 – 3 weeks. You should be able to do upper body limb exercise after 4 to 6 weeks, and will need to wear sleeved clothes until the incisions fade over several months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Brachioplasty surgery is usually performed in patients who have had a massive weight loss or women whose skin has sagged over time with gravity and sun damage. There is no ideal age for the surgery, but should be performed when your weight has been stable for at least 6 months.
Arm skin is susceptible to gravity and ageing and will sag slowly over time. Weight loss or gain after the surgery will also change the result.
Brachioplasty surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital such as St George Private, East Sydney private or Kareena private hospitals. Most patients are able to go home on the same day of surgery. If a large amount of skin is to be removed or if the operation is combined with another body contouring procedure, then you will be sent home after 2 to 3 nights. The degree of pain experienced largely reflects the amount of skin that needs to be removed.
A vertical brachioplasty results in a scar that extends for the entire length of the upper arm from armpit to elbow. A short scar brachioplasty results in a scar that sits in the apex or roof of the armpit.
The cost of brachioplasty surgery is determined by the expected complexity and duration of your operation and will be estimated following your first consultation.

Prices start from

insured: $8,500

uninsured: $13,500

including the surgeon’s fee, assistant’s fee, anaesthetist’s fee, hospital stay, garment and 12 months post-op care.

This procedure may attract an item number from Medicare which allows you to claim a rebate. If you have the appropriate level of health insurance cover, they may pay for your theatre and accomodation fees. The Medicare item number is 30171.
Scars are a part of all surgery. A vertical arm lift results in a long scar that looks like a seam at the back of your arm. You will be advised how to improve the quality of your scar with silicone ointment or taping. In addition, the scar will only be visible to people standing behind you with your arms fully exposed.
Depending on the level of correction needed, liposuction may be required to achieve the final desired contour.
Regular exercise can improve muscle tone, but exercise would not affect skin that had lost its elasticity.
Liposuction is a good surgical alternative in people with excellent skin tone and thick arms. Liposuction is a day surgery procedure performed in hospital. CoolSculpting is also an effective method for removing fat cells from the arms of patients with good quality skin. It is performed on site at Silkwood Medical without an anaesthetic and takes one hour for each arm to complete a treatment, however, some patients may require more than one treatment.
You will be seen by your surgeon within 7 days of your surgery.

Regular appointments are made to remove sutures and to check on your healing following surgery.

You will be given a Plastic Surgery Recovery guide upon booking your surgery. This document explains in great detail all of your after care following surgery.

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