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 32

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.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Recovery of an arm lift (brachioplasty)

The recovery is proportional to the extent of the surgery.  If you have had major weight loss and are having a brachioplasty with an elbow to armpit incision, then you need more time.  In our practice, arm lift surgery is not one that patients qualify as painful, and most patients are off pain medicine within 5 days. The scar is long, and the final result can be somewhat unpredictable. The scar goes from armpit to elbow and we aim to place it in a relatively inconspicuous place.  Most patients feel it is a good trade off to remove all the excess skin, even when the scar is somewhat thick.   How much time off you need depends entirely on your line of work. Consulting in person with a board-certified plastic surgeon with post-weight loss plastic surgery will give you the best answers. 

The link below shows a fully healed brachioplasty (arm lift). 

Heather J. Furnas, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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 !


Luis Suarez, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

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.

Recovery After Arm Lift Surgery

A brachioplasty is essentially an upper arm lift. In this procedure, the excess hanging skin and fat in the upper arm is removed. Its the procedure used to correct the common "bat wing" of skin that manifests in patients who have lost a significant amount of weight.   Most of my patients are able to get back to a desk job 5-7 days after surgery.  However, I recommend no heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 3-4 weeks.   If an upper trunk lift is involved, I may recommend holding off working out (heavy lifting/strenuous activity) for 5-6 weeks.  I generally recommend compression garments for about 3-4 weeks after surgery.

Arm lift recovery

I ask my patients not to lift anything greater than 5 pounds for three weeks. At six weeks after my evaluation they can resume normal activities. This is usually the case with full arm incisions and limited axillary  incisions as well.  In the case of SmartLipo 
technique patients are usually ready for full activities within one week. The SmartLipo technique uses a laser which eradicates fat and causes powerful skin tightening with small 2mm incisions which do not require suturing.  In my opinion, the SmartLipo technique is going to revolutionize arm lift surgery.

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Arm lift recovery

I often explain recovery in stages:
1)  Discomfort - you may have a several days of discomfort that requires narcotic support.  This can be minimized with the use of pain pumps or injectable numbing medications like Exparel
2)  Swelling/bruising - this may linger for 2-3 weeks with each week showing less swelling/bruising than the previous week
3)  Activity restriction - you should refrain from stretching the arms, or any heavy lifting/exercise for 6 weeks.

Arm lift recovery

. Immediately after the operation compressive Ace wraps are placed from the fingers up to the armpit. These can normally be removed within 24-48 hours postoperatively. Elastic compression sleeves commonly worn by athletes can be purchased relatively inexpensively at any sporting good store. Many patients wear these for up for up to 2 weeks postoperatively. No vigorous activity or strenuous activity is recommended for 3 weeks postoperatively. Complications following a well planned and well executed brachioplasty are uncommon. They may include however wound infection or wound breakdown. Is very important to follow the directions of your surgeon postoperatively to ensure the best result.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Arm lift recovery

arm lift surgery is a good surgery.

recovery is slightly difficult because it affect both upper arm.

patient feel tightness.

they experience discomfort the first 2 weeks.

off work for 2 weeks.

Jacques Haddad, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Arm lift recovery expectations

Arm lift procedures should be tailored to your unique needs and desires. Patients with less contour issues may only require liposuction with laser therapy or armpit incisions to reduce skin laxity. The downtime and recovery for those procedures is minimal, most patients are back to work in several days and resume normal activity in 10-14 days. More extensive soft tissue laxity requires a formal brachioplasty, typically with placement of operative drains and minimizing heavy activity for several weeks while the tissue heals. The scar from this procedure usually heals nicely but can be prominent in some individuals. Postoperative scar therapy can help to minimize scar formation. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your board certified plastic surgeon.

Andrew Goldberg, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 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.