Arm lift / Brachioplasty

Treatment information

Generally about the treatment

Sagging, loose skin on the upper arms is often the effect of a great weight loss, or a result of ageing and thereby gravity, which has an unfortunate tendency to place its inexpedient mark on our bodies. A brachioplasty, or an arm lift, as it is usually called, is performed when sagging, loose skin on the upper arms is noticed, and when it is not possible to achieve a cosmetic improvement with the use of traditional liposuction. With an arm lift, the excess skin is cut off, after which everything is sewn together.

This also means that the biggest downside of an operation like this is the following scar, which is inevitably sustained from the surgery.
The surgeon will, however, at any time strive to place the cut in such a way that it is hidden away in less visible areas of the body, or so that the clothes will cover the scar.

As with thigh lifts, buttock lifts, and tummy tucks, you must consider and counterbalance, whether you will be able to accept the scar that will follow, in order to obtain a more smooth, firm skin.

Only through a consultation with a surgeon will he or she be able to fully clarify for the patient how extensive a scar as such will be. You can, however, as a general rule say that the looser the skin is, the bigger the scar will be.

The procedure

The amount of drooping, surplus skin will be different in each case. Exactly how pronounced the condition is has an impact on the placement and length of the cut. Regardless of anything, a procedure like this has the purpose of removing the sagging tissue and thereby reducing the overall circumference of the arm.

Under normal circumstances, a cut from the elbow to the armpit will be made. this is the best way
to remove the excess skin in the middle. Later on, a scar revision may be necessary, seeing as this method also leaves behind the largest scar. Only in cases of limited amounts of excess skin will it be possible to limit the cut to the armpit only. In some cases - also with limited excess skin - the surgeon will be able to combine the 2 techniques in order to limit the size of the scar. The actual cut will, regardless of the technique, most often be made as a curve or a zig-zag cut, in order to avoid further scar formation.


The operation can take place under local anaesthesia, using a powerful sedative, or under general anaesthesia. An arm lift is either done ambulant or under hospitalisation.


When first recovering from the anaesthesia you will experience quite a bit of soreness and pain, although this can be allayed with medicine. Due to the localisation of the wounds, the time following the operation will be relatively uncomfortable, and strong contractions will be felt. Contusions (bruises) will also incur, although in time these will slowly fade.

Risk of complications

There is a risk that a nerve can get damaged when the excess skin is cut off, which can result in temporary numbness, and in worst case permanent numbness.

There is a risk of side effects from the anaesthetic used, along with bleeding, poor wound healing, a poor cosmetic result, and blood accumulation.

No form of surgery is risk free, although severe complications are very rare.

Healing and recovery

The appropriate time for returning to work depends on the patient's type of job. Normally 2 weeks is realistic. During the first period of time following the operation, it is important to avoid lifting. It is also advised not do drive for a week or stretching your arms upwards, outwards, or backwards during the first 14 days, seeing as this could influence the healing process, resulting in worse looking scars. It can take up to 6 months or more before the scars will start to fade.

Duration of the result

The operation normally lasts between 2-3 hours, depending on the extent.