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Brachioplasty: What You Need to Know

Brachioplasty, also known as an arm lift, is a cosmetic surgery designed to help patients improve the appearance of their arms. This procedure involves removing excess skin, reducing fat, and tightening the skin in the upper arm. The skin that remains in the area will be lifted back over the newly contoured area to help it look more toned and fit.

As we age, sometimes our skin gets looser and tends to sag. This can also happen if you’ve lost a lot of weight in a short amount of time. Once the skin starts to sag, a brachioplasty may be the only way to create the tighter, firmer appearance you desire. If you are interested in this procedure, contact a plastic surgeon.

What Are The Risks Of Brachioplasty?

There are risks involved with every surgical procedure, including brachioplasty. Let’s take a quick look at all the different risks and complications that can happen with this surgery.


There may be scarring at the incision points. The location of the incision points can vary on a case-by-case basis. This is because the location of the incision depends on where the excess skin and fat is found on your upper arms. However, your surgeon will try to make the incision in a location that is not easily visible to others. 

Symmetry Issues

An unqualified surgeon may not make your arms perfectly symmetrical, which is why it’s important to find a board certified plastic surgeon to perform this procedure. 

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage is a possibility in nearly every surgical procedure. Severe nerve damage is rare, however you may experience temporary skin sensation changes during your recovery. For example, you may experience temporary numbness or tingling in the days or weeks following the surgery. 

Sutures Don’t Absorb

The sutures used to close the skin may not absorb as expected, but rather rise to the surface of the skin. This is rare, but if it happens, it can cause irritation, discomfort, and redness.

As with any surgery, complications do occur from time to time. It’s important to discuss the possible risks and complications with your plastic surgeon prior to undergoing this procedure.


A doctor might warn you against getting an arm lift if:

  • Your weight is unstable
  • You are overweight 
  • You suffer from certain medical conditions
  • You smoke

How To Get A Brachioplasty

You should see a plastic surgeon for a brachioplasty consultation. The plastic surgeon will go over your medical history and ask several questions about any medical problems or issues you’ve had in the past. They will also ask you about any medications currently on and do a physical exam to see what the best course of action would be for you.

The surgeon may also take pictures of your underarms and anywhere else you getting skin removed. They will remain a part of your medical record. The surgeon will then explain to you what he plans to do as well as sharing any complications and risks that might happen. Some plastic surgeons even have technology that will allow you to see what your arms might look like after the surgery has been done, including before and after pictures of previous patients.

Where you get your surgery may vary. The surgeon might have their own facility or they might schedule an appointment at a hospital for the procedure. You will receive general anesthesia prior to undergoing the procedure. 

Before your surgery, it’s important for you to take several steps to protect your health. The first is that you quit smoking. Smoking can inhibit healing. You will also be asked to stop taking certain medications. The surgeon will go over those with you as you discuss your medical history. Other drugs, like aspirin, can increase bleeding risk and are not encouraged.

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