Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

Arm Lift for Both Women and Men

Both women and men want to have more self-confidence and feel better about how they look. Arm lifts have become a very popular procedure to take care of “jiggly” arms. Often, no amount of diet and exercise can restore firmness and tone to the upper arms. This surgery has tripled in the last 20 years according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

An arm lift, also called brachioplasty, removes excess skin and fat from the arms between the underarm and elbow. Skin on the upper arms can lose elasticity and may look loose and flabby:

  • after weight loss,
  • after weight gain,
  • from years of excess weight
  • from the effects of aging
  • or from excessively tanning (chronic photo-aging)

How is it done?

An arm lift is done under IV sedation. The incision length depends upon the amount of skin laxity the patient has and the amount and location of excess skin to be removed. With better elasticity, an incision can be done with an under arm incision hidden in the fold when your arms are at your sides. With less elasticity, an incision may have to be placed on the inside or on the back of the arm, which is hidden by a normal pose. Dr. Gray and you together will decide on the best incision for you.

If fat is to be reduced during your arm lift, Dr. Gray will use liposuction to remove the necessary amount. The underlying supportive tissue is tightened and re-shaped with internal sutures and the skin is smoothed over the new contour of your arm to give you a pleasing result. Your incisions will be closed with absorbable sutures or sutures that will be removed within 1 to 2 weeks. Those who mostly just have excess fat are better served just having liposuction rather than skin removal.

Before & Afters

Individual results may vary.

The smoother, tighter contours that results from an arm lift can be seen very quickly after your procedure, although your results will be obscured by swelling and bruising. Your new, shapely and toned upper arm will be dramatically improved and the results will be long lasting, provided a you maintain a stable weight and general fitness. As your body gets older, it is natural to lose some firmness, but most of your improvement should be relatively permanent.

Before and After Examples

Arm Lift Before
Arm Lift After
Arm Lift Before
Arm Lift After

Press Release excerpt from The American Society of Plastic Surgeons:

Plastic Surgery Trend Has Women Armed for Spring and Summer

Inspired by Strong-Armed Celebrities, Upper Arm Lifts Jump 4,378% Since 2000

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — New statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) show that arm lifts in women have skyrocketed a staggering 4,378 percent in just over the last decade. It is a trend fueled, in part, by sleeveless fashions for women and more focus on strong-armed celebrities. In 2000, more than 300 women got upper arm lift procedures. Last year, more than 15,000 did.

“Women are paying more attention to their arms in general and are becoming more aware of options to treat this area,” said ASPS President Gregory Evans, MD. “For some women, the arms have always been a troublesome area and, along with proper diet and exercise, liposuction can help refine them. Others may opt for a brachioplasty when there is a fair amount of loose skin present with minimal elasticity.”
Doctors say there is no single reason behind the increase, though celebrities from the White House to the red carpet may be having an influence. A recent poll* conducted on behalf of ASPS found that women are paying closer attention to the arms of female celebrities.

According to the poll, women most admire the arms of first lady Michelle Obama, followed closely by Jennifer Aniston. Actresses Jessica Biel and Demi Moore, and daytime TV talk show host Kelly Ripa also got votes for their toned arms.

That’s just what happened to 24-year-old Natalie Robinson of Knoxville, who says she was inspired by the arms of the first lady. “I looked at Michelle Obama and said ?Oh my gosh, I want her arms.’ When I first started losing weight and started to tone up, I had her image in my head.”…..That was three years ago. Today, Robinson has lost more than 170 pounds and continues an amazing transformation through diet and exercise. But for all the weight she’d lost, Robinson says she still wasn’t entirely happy….”I had a lot of excessive skin around my upper arms,” she said. “Every time I looked in the mirror there was a reminder of a heavier person and I just couldn’t get rid of it.”

That’s when Robinson contacted (her plastic surgeon) who performed her brachioplasty. “Natalie had the perfect arms for this procedure,” said (her plastic surgeon), “but it’s not for everybody.”…”It’s a trade off. We get rid of the skin, but we leave a scar,” he said. “So, as long as there’s enough improvement to be made in the shape of the arm to justify the scar, then it’s a great procedure.” (Her plastic surgeon) stresses the importance of proper diet and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle to all his patients, but says some women simply can’t achieve the look they want on their own. Many who simply want to tighten and tone their upper arms, but don’t have a lot of excess skin, opt for liposuction instead of a brachioplasty.

“We are genetically programmed to have different accumulations of fat in different areas, and for some women the arms can be a problem area….The arms are a very noticeable area and if excessive fat and skin are an issue, they tend to look more out of proportion than the rest of the body.”

That was certainly the case for Robinson, but not anymore. Robinson says she never expected surgery to make her arms perfect, just more normal. “Well-proportioned is what I was going for, and I’m very happy. It was well worth the investment,” she said. “I would do it again.”