Arm lift surgery: What’s involved and what does recovery look like?


Arm lift surgery, or brachioplasty, is an increasingly popular procedure designed to reshape and refine the contours of the upper arm. Most people that choose to undergo arm lift surgery do so after significant weight loss, having been left with excess sagging skin between the elbow and armpit, otherwise known as the “bingo wing”. Many patients also elect for arm lift surgery if they have an abnormal distribution of skin or fatty tissue in the area.


Arm lift surgery

The skin laxity and excess that motivates most clients to undergo arm lift surgery can cause significant psychological and social distress. At The Harley Medical Group, we understand that this can be challenging in terms of self-esteem, body image, and forming and maintaining social relationships. Excess skin and fat around the upper arm can even cause pain and skin inflammation, impacting a client’s choice of clothing and reducing comfort levels.

What does surgery involve?

Any procedure performed by surgeons at The Harley Medical Group incorporates a detailed initial assessment of the patient, their concerns, ideal results and thought processes leading up to the decision to seek surgical treatment, along with any other medical conditions they may have. Throughout the preoperative assessment, any decisions will be made in collaboration with the patient as part of a shared decision-making process.

Prior to arm lift surgery, your surgeon will examine the relevant areas, determine the amount of skin and fat that needs to be removed to achieve your goals, and advise you on the best options for treatment. Excess skin can be removed in different ways, and some techniques are able to place the scars in the armpit area where they are less visible. Excess fatty tissue can be removed by cutting it out or, more commonly, through liposuction at the same time.


On the day of the procedure, both the anaesthetic and surgical teams will assess the patient. Arm lift surgery can be performed under general anaesthetic or with sedation. This decision will be based on specific personal circumstances and the recommendations of the anaesthetic doctor.

Before the procedure, the surgeon will make precise, temporary markings on the skin of the arm and torso to plan the incisions and act as a guide for the contour changes that will be made.

Through a cut in the skin, the surgeon is able to carefully remove fat from underneath the skin and remove any loose excess skin to achieve taught, more youthful-looking contours.

What about recovery?

Patients that undergo arm lift surgery are usually discharged home the same day, with a package of important postoperative advice.

After the procedure, the wounds will be dressed by the medical team and pain relief medications will be given to ensure as much comfort as possible. Compression garments will be applied and should be worn for at least 4 weeks unless advised otherwise by your surgeon.

Although you are likely to be allowed home on the same day as surgery, it is essential that all strenuous activity is avoided for at least 2 weeks to avoid disruption of the wound and encourage healing. Naturally, the range of motion of the arms will be reduced after surgery so driving must be avoided during the initial recovery period. It is important, however, to regain mobility as soon as is comfortable following general anaesthetic.

At approximately 1 week after surgery, you will be seen in clinic for the wounds to be assessed and any dressings will be changed or removed entirely. Although the follow-up appointment will be arranged for a week later, clients at The Harley Medical Group have access to postoperative support throughout the entire recovery journey, from Day 1.

Arm lift surgery is an excellent solution for those suffering from the impact of excess, loose skin on their self-confidence and body image. If you would like to find out more, you can explore whether arm lift surgery is the right option for you, view some of the impressive results achieved by our surgeons and find answers to some frequently asked questions.

Posted January 21, 2023
Book a free consultationRequest a callback
Registered in England No. 12325705. Vat No. 339266281