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How Long Do Arm Lift Results Last?

If I get an arm lift, how long would the results of the surgery last?  Would there be anything that could happen that would make the saggy skin on my arms come back after the arm lift?

Doctor Answers 29

Arm lifts give long-lasting results

An Arm Lift, or Brachioplasty, removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the upper arm when there is too much loose skin to depend on liposuction alone to give a nice result. Sometimes liposuction is included with the procedure, depending on each patient's needs. As long as your weight does not change, you should expect the results to last for many years.

Abington Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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Arm lift surgery gives nice contour, if you are will to put up with the lengthy incision

Arm lift surgery will give a nice contour to your arms, especially if you have excessive or redundant skin. However, in order to get nice, predictable and lasting results, you will likely have an incision running down the length of your arm from your armpit to your elbow. The skin will initially appear very tight, but as the swelling from the surgery resolves over several weeks, the skin will appear more natural again. Your body will continue to age, including your skin. This may lead to loose skin in the future, which is not a deficiency of the surgery but just a fact of life. Another sure way of loose skin returning is if you gained considerable weight after the surgery and then lost the weight again.

Good Luck with your surgery.

David Shafer, MD
Shafer Plastic Surgery

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Arm Lift

The results on an arm lift is permenant if you have an extended arm lift with an incision that runs from your arm pit to your elbow. However, the process of ageing means that you may develop future arm laxity, albeit fat less significant.

Brachioplasty - An Upper Arm Lift

Brachioplasty (Upper Arm Lift)

With advancing age, and sometimes following major weight loss, the upper arms can become 'flabby', with excess skin that sags when the arm is held upright. Many patients I see with this problem will wear only long-sleeved shirts and dresses. In some patients the problem is primarily excess skin, in others it is mainly excess fat, and many it is a combination of both.

Brachioplasty is designed to remove excess upper arm skin (and some cases, fat as well) and requires an incision that runs from the underarm area to the elbow. The scar is placed in the inner aspect of the upper arm, facing the side of the chest, to help conceal its presence. This is a great operation for fair-skinned patients who are generally in their fifties or older, as the skin is often fairly thin, and results in a scar which is faint and minimally visible. In younger patients, this fairly long scar tends to widen, become pigmented, and even thicken - which means that younger patients must seriously consider if the scar is an acceptable trade-off for the improvement in upper arm contour.

Limited-incision brachioplasty

In some cases, when the skin excess exists primarily in the upper half of the upper arm, the skin excision can be performed in the underarm area only, avoiding the scar along the inner aspect of the upper arm. Underarm incision brachioplasty can often be combined with liposuction to produce a very favorable upper arm contour. This can be a good option for some younger patients and for those with more deeply pigmented skin. In some patients with an 'in between' amount of skin laxity, the underarm incision may be combined with an incision that extends only halfway down the arm, thereby avoiding the 'armpit to elbow' scar

Upper arm recontouring with liposuction only

In some patients, a nice improvement in upper arm contour can be accomplished with liposuction alone. Individuals that have a minimal excess of skin, in whom the 'sagging' appearance of the upper arms is mainly due to excess fat, are good candidates for liposuction of the upper arms. The better the upper arm skin tone, the better the liposuction result will be. If the skin tone is somewhat lax, the improvement may not be as dramatic as with a formal brachioplasty, but the long upper arm scar is avoided.

As with all plastic surgery procedures, the approach to surgical rejuvenation of the upper arms must be carefully individualized to meet each patient's specific circumstances and personal goals.

Skin quality sometimes does play a role in the result and longevity of surgical results. Some people who have been sun worshippers and have extreme sun damage may find that their skin may not retail the same sleekness as a person wwithout extreme sun damage. The same can be true for people who have experienced massive weight loss. In my Raleigh, North Carolina plastic surgery practice we provide laser skin tightening to the arms following surgery to help improve the quality of the remain ing skin. Generally, patients who experience a brachioplasty are delighted with the results and feel that the surgery is life changing.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Prettier Arms - Pretty Permanent

Brachioplasty or Arm Lift is an excellent surgical treatment for loose, hanging skin of the upper arms. Generally, it requires an incision running the length of the inner upper arm between the elbow and armpit, in the groove between the biceps and triceps muscle. This scar is essentially invisible when your arms are at your sides, and even if you are wearing a sleeveless or short-sleeve blouse, the scars are generally a very acceptable trade-off against the "bat-wings" of saggy, loose upper arm skin that are keeping you in long sleeves.

Once the excess skin and fat have been removed, there will be some continued loosening of the skin as a natural function of age, however it should never return to the same condition as before surgery. It also helps to keep the muscles of the upper arms toned and strong by light weight-lifting or exercising, if you wish to maintain the results even longer.

Athleo Louis Cambre, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Arm lift results duration

An arm lift is typically performed only once.  Your skin will loosen from normal aging as decades go by, but most people do not develop laxity severe enough to warrant a second operation.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Brachioplasty Results

                  The vast majority of patients who undergo brachioplasty are happy with the long term results of this procedure. Unfortunately, plastic surgeons set the clock back but don’t stop it from ticking. Under these circumstances aging and gravity continue to impact the upper arms. When patients have stable weight and skin elasticity, these minimal changes are well tolerated and patients usually remain happy with their results. 

Results as long lasting as the quality of your skin

There are many causes for flabby arms.  If one has flabby arms, the best indicator of the treatment would be the elasticity of the skin.  If the skin has good elasticity, then Lipo suction alone may be the answer.  If not, then an arm lift to resect the excess skin is best.  However, the best indication for an arm lift, and the most gratifying are those who have lost a lot of weight.  The skin is usually flabby and overstretched.  It is simple and effective to remove the skin that has been stretched past its capacity.  No Liposuction, or other noninvasive modalitiy will help the skin become more firm around the arms.  The length and type of the incision will vary depending upon the location and the amount of fat in the arms.  The results are as long lasting as your skin quality. The cost will also vary by geographic locale.  Most will run anywhere from $3500-$7000.  I would advise you to visit with a board certified plastic surgeon to have treatment recommendations specific to your concerns.

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Brandon Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Lasting results of an arm lift...

The effects of an armlift can be long lasting, as long as you can maintain a consistent weight.  Unfortunately, gravity is always present, which can cause skin to sag again with time, but the results of the armlift usually hold up pretty well, and you will always look better than if you had done nothing.  Be sure to contact a board certified plastic surgeon to go over all of your options.


Arm Lift Results are Sustaining

There will always be improvements following a brachioplasty, arm lift, however despite turning the hands of time back, the clock keeps ticking. Large weight gain will increase fat in the area and large weight loss will increase the amount of loose saggy skin.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 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.