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Arm Lift Recovery

I'm thinking about an arm lift and just wondering what to expect. What's the recovery like after the arm lift? What can I expect in terms of downtime and scarring?

Doctor Answers (23)

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Armlift Recovery Variable


Thank you for your question. Some patients with upper arm skin and fat laxity benefit from laser liposuction with non-ablative skin tightening procedures.  This recovery is perhaps the shortest with 1 week of mild downtime, 3-4 weeks of mild to moderate swelling and small scars.  Middle of the road patients with just skin excess benefit from a traditional brachioplasty with a low-anterior incision.  The downtime is 1-2 weeks, 3-6 weeks of mild to moderate swelling and long scars that improve with time.  Heavy arms with excess skin benefit from a low-anterior brachioplasty  with adjunctive liposuction.  Downtime is 1-2 weeks, 4-12 weeks of mild to moderate swelling and long scars that improve with time.  Arm compression garments help to manage the swelling and provide comfort.  Most patients are thrilled with the improvement in contour they achieve with these procedures. Consult with a Plastic Surgeon experienced with body contouring after weight loss. All the best.

Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Promoted Local Answer Promoted local answers are based on Featured Doctor activity within your current location.

Arm lift recovery and scars


During the post-op recovery period you'll likely be given specific written insutructions depending on your specific case but arm lift surgery is generally well tolerated. You'll need someone to drive you home after surgery and someone to stay with you for the first 48 hours. You'll be fairly sore for the first few days and will need bed rest with your arms elevated, avoiding movement as much as possible for the first 10 to 14 days following surgery.

Your plastic surgeon will follow your recovery closely and recommend the level of activity you may resume at the appropriate time, but be prepared to have limited movement of your arms for up to 4 weeks. Most patients are able to resume all regular activities between 4 and 6 weeks after undergoing brachioplasty.

During your initial consultation your board certified plastic surgeon will evaluate your specific needs to help you determine which type of arm lift is best suited for you. The incision length and pattern will depend upon the amount and location of excess skin to be removed to give you the best looking results. As such, the scarring will depend on your specific procedure details. Common types of arm lifts include:

* Invisible Arm Lift - removes excess skin at the crease of axilla (armpit) and results in a short scar (this is usually combined with liposuction of the upper arm.

* Traditional Arm Lift - removes excess skin and fatty tissue, the incision is placed on the inside of the arm or on the back of the arm and extends to just above the elbow.

* Extended Arm Lift (or Thoracic Lift) - removes excess skin and fatty tissue that is on the side of the chest, axilla, and upper arm. The incision is like the traditional arm lift except that it is extended from the arm all the way down the side of the chest.

Web reference:

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Arm Lift Recovery


What I tell my patients always is if you follow the indications properly especially the first week everything should go smoothly from there. The indications I recommend to my patients to follow are , to limit yourself to minimal activities at least for 10 days and no lifting heavy object for a month. As for driving approximately 10 days also. The use of the bandages or garment is very important this is to prevent serious complications like hematomas, seromas inflammatory liquid that could accumulate. Some stitches will be removed in 10 days after the surgery, others are not necessary. The scar tends to diminish in 6 months. I recommend this surgery it has a amazing results and patients leave very satisfied. 

Hope this helps !


Mexico Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Arm Lift Recovery


This is a very satifying surgery and has a short recovery for the gains you get.  Most of my patients need about 2-3 days of recovery and are back at work as long as it is a desk job at about 3-5 days.

Arm movement at the shoulder is restricted for the first 4 weeks.  After that there are no restrictions.

Good luck.

Web reference:

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Optimum recovery after an Arm Lift


The recovery time after a full arm lift in my typical patient is quite short.  Usually there is only mild discomfort for 2-3 days.  My patients usually are able to drive a car and can return to office work after 5-7 days.  The major restriction is avoiding a full range of motion of the arms for about one month, but the patients are able to start certain  exercises after about 10 days.

Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Recovery Time Following Brachioplasty



                  Brachioplasty recovery varies from patient to patient and depends on a variety of factors including the type of procedure performed, the patients wound healing characteristics and the patients overall health.

                  The vast majority of patients are able to resume normal activities in 2 to 3 weeks following surgery. Strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least 6 to 8 weeks following this procedure.

                  In the immediate post-operative period drains and compression garments are utilized. Drains are typically removed in about a week, but compression wraps are left in place for about 3 weeks.

                  Wound healing varies from patient to patient and is an important issue because incision sites are hard to hide with this procedure. Under these circumstances the wound healing characteristics of the patient are extremely important because scars are often visible following surgery. For this reason, wound care is extremely important following brachioplasty surgery. If you’re considering brachioplasty, it’s important to discuss after care with your plastic surgeon before proceeding with surgery. 

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Armlift Recovery


It depends on the type of armlift done. If you do a hidden inner armlift, it has a minimal incision and the recovery is about 5 days. If you do a posterior armlift, which is done primarily on massive weight loss patients for significant skin redundancy, the recovery is about 7-10 days. The scarring is dependent upon 90% of your own genetics and how you heal. Most of the time the scars, especially in the inner arm, look remarkably good at 6-12 months.

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Typical Arm Lift Recovery


Following surgery, the arms are wrapped in a compression sleeve to reduce swelling.  During the first 10-14 days, the swelling will reduce as a sign of the initial healing.

Patients should avoid lifting arms overhead after the procedure.

Swelling and bruising will gradually fade during the 3 to 4 weeks following surgery. After 6 weeks there are no activity restrictions for my patients but always ask your surgeon for his recommendations.

The scars on the inner side of the arm should fade between 6 and 24 months following surgery, depending on the patient’s skin. This process can be hastened with certain types of lasers and scar maturation products such as silicone based products.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Arm Lifting Surgery Recovery?


Thank you for the question.

The arm lifting procedure is a great procedure to remove excess skin and adipose tissue of the upper arms. However, this procedure carries a major drawback: difficult scarring that may require scar revision (more so, in my experience, then other procedures).

I have tried placement of the resulting scars in the bicipital  groove (between the biceps and triceps muscles)  as well as a long the inferior–lower aspect of the upper arm. I have found higher patient satisfaction with the latter approach. If the excision can be planned such that the scar falls along the frontal aspect of the lower arm, then the scar may be visible only when the patient raises his/her arms.

As with many plastic surgical procedures, the planning of the incisions and resulting scar line is critical. However, even with attention to detail, the resulting scars may not be ideal and revisionary surgery is  often necessary to improve the appearance (for example, the width) of the scars.

I asked my patients  to keep arms elevated for one week after surgery and avoid heavy lifting for the 1st month after surgery.


I hope this helps.

Web reference:

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 626 reviews

What to expect after an arm lift...


Arm lift surgery reduces or removes loose sagging skin from the upper arm to create a more toned apperance.  After an arm lift, patients must wear a compression garment for about 6 weeks after surgery, which allows the skin to tighten and supports the incision.  The incision, while noticeable at first, should gradually fade to a thin line.  You most likely will have swelling and bruising, and both will disappear after a few weeks.  Most patients may return to work after a week of having surgery.  You should avoid doing any strenuous activites for the first few weeks after your procedure to ensure a smooth healing process. 

Edison Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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