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 35

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 27 reviews

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.

Recovery after Arm Lift

Thank you for your question regarding arm lifts. There are several different types of arm lifts or brachioplasties. There is the crescent arm lift where a crescent area of armpit skin and fat are removed. The amount of arm skin and fat removed is minimal, however, the scar is hidden in the armpit. There is a full upper longitudinal arm lift where an elliptical area of inner arm skin and fat is removed. The incision extends from the armpit to the elbow. This full arm lift removes much more skin and fat than the crescent arm lift. There is a limited or modified T arm lift. This is a combination of the crescent and the full longitudinal arm lift. There is a moderate amount of upper arm skin and fat removed. There is well hidden armpit scar and a more visible scar that extends down the upper inner arm. The shape of the scar resembles the letter “T”. There is also a full upper and lower longitudinal brachioplasty. In this extensive surgical procedure, an incision is placed from the armpit to the elbow and then extends to the wrist. Upper arm and forearm skin is removed. This procedure is usually reserved for severe cases of upper arm and forearm excess skin and fat.

The recovery from the arm lift is similar for almost all types of arm lifts. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Depending on your plastic surgeon’s comfort level and speed and which procedure is being performed, the arm lift can 2- hours. The arm lift is usually an outpatient procedure. Drains are not used usually.

During the first week, my arm lift patients should have their elbows extended and their wrist above their heart level. I do not let my arm lift patients drive for at least 2 weeks. Usually, after 2 weeks, patients can return to desk work. If your work entails a significant amount of lifting, I would suggest returning to work 3-4 weeks after your arm lift.

Post-operatively, I have patients wear ACE bandages from the hands to the arm pit for the first week. Then, if there is minimal forearm swelling, I have patients wear ACE bandages from the elbows to the arm pit for the second week. Once the incision has healed at about 3 to 4 weeks, I have patient wear compression garments from the forearm to the axillae for 6 weeks. While patients are wearing their garments, I encourage silicone strips to minimize scarring. After the garment, I suggest Bio-corneum silicone scar cream.

Good luck with your quest for skinnier arms.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
Sincerely, Dr. Katzen

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Arm Lift Recovery

In my practice most patient scan expect to be out of work for about 7 days, and ever sooner if they do not perform any strenuous activities at work.  After 4-5 weeks the patient can return to full activities in the gym and work.  I place my scar along the medial extend of the arm, where it is nicely hidden when the arm is down by your side.  Scarring is variable and depends on the patients ability to heal. In most cases patients heal quite nicely and are very satisfied with the outcome. 

Arm Lift

Lifts on this famously wobbly part of the human anatomy—known familiarly as “Hi Janes” or “Bingo” arms—are particularly popular. Heavy and even moderately droopy arms can be recountoured very effectively with liposuction. Liposuction modifies volume by sucking out fat and because liposuction stimulates the skin to tighten, good elasticity provides a smooth contour after fat is removed. The procedure takes about an hour, the recovery takes just a couple of days, and there's virtually no scarring. I use several innovative forms of liposuction, including SmartLipo, in order to contour and resculpture the area while providing the most beautiful results with minimal scarring. SmartLipo, used in combination with other forms of liposuction or alone, is a procedure that uses laser light to liquefy fat and tighten the surrounding skin. Liposuction as an outpatient procedure under I.V. sedation can easily reduce the bulge that some people have in their arms.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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 43 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 90 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

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.