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How long does it take to recover from an arm lift? (Photo)

How long are you advised to take off from work after a arm lift? I have a desk job with typing.

Doctor Answers 11

I would estimate two weeks

Thank you for your question. I do also appreciate the good pictures which you have sent. Based on your photos it appears that you would require a brachioplasty or arm lift along with some arm wiper suction. The recoveries from the surgery range between one and three weeks depending on the patient and also how much other surgery is combined with it. 


Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Arm Lift

Arm lift after extensive weight loss require an incision in the arm pit and from the arm pit to the elbow or slightly lower.
Recovery may take between 2-3 weeks
Samir Shureih MD. FACS

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Arm lift

Hello and thank you for the question.  You certainly look like an excellent candidate for an arm lift (brachioplasty). With a sedentary job such as yours, 2 weeks should be good as long as you don't have any complications.
Consult with a ps with experience in post massive weight loss body contouring. 

Peter Fisher, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

How long visit take to recover from arm lift?

Assuming that healing is uneventful you should be able to return to a desk job in 1 week. It would be more ideal however if you could take off up to 2 weeks. Each surgeon has his or her own postoperative regimen. Very commonly however 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 82 reviews

Arm lift arm reduction brachioplasty arm liposuction massive weight loss recovery forearm reduction

For your arm lift or brachioplasty, I would suggest a full arm lift. This would include extensive arm liposuction to remove arm fat. In addition, an incision would be made from the axillae (armpit) to the elbow. Your arm lift or brachioplasty should take 3-4 hours to perform. Since you have a desk job, you should be able to return to work 2-3 weeks after your arm lift. 
You did not include forearm pictures. It is possible that you may also need a forearm reduction. In this surgery, the arm lift incision is extended past the elbow onto the forearm. In some patients, I have extended this incision to the mid-forearm while in other patients, I have extended this incision to the wrist.
Since you have significant excess arm skin and fat, you should seek insurance coverage. Unless there is exclusion for massive weight loss, your brachioplasty or arm reduction should be covered by insurance.
Good luck with your arm lift or brachioplasty surgery.

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Recovery Time after an Arm Lift

  • Based upon the photos you have provided, you can expect a dramatic change in the appearance of your upper arms after an arm lift!
  • I would plan on taking a good two weeks off of work.  Some patients who type a lot at work will take off three. 
  • You will find that once you return to work your arms will likely be sore at the end of the day.  Although this won't affect the final results, it can be annoying.  Rest assured, though, because with time this discomfort will resolve completely. 
  • Best of luck to you!

Joshua Cooper, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Arm Lift Recovery

Thank you for your picture.  I recommend that you take off about 2 weeks from work to allow adequate time for the initial recovery.

Earl Stephenson, Jr, MD,DD, FACS

How long does it take to recover from an arm lift? (Photo)

The main issue that affects time away from work following arm lift surgery is the type of work you do.  If you work at a desk and are not doing manual labor then one week should be an adequate period of time.  Any movements that stress the incisions put you at risk for separation of the suture line.  You would likely need to wear a compression garment though to help minimize the swelling.  I recommend you consult with a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in body contouring after weight loss.

Recovery time after an armlift

Hello, thanks for your question. You definitely will benefit from a Brachioplasty. Recovery immediately after surgery is usually about 2 to 3 weeks. You will continue to see healing over a whole years time. I usually recommend to the patient to wear a compression garment to help with the swelling. I think you can be back typing at around two weeks. Best of luck

Rami Ghurani, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Arm Lift Recovery Instructions

Thank you for your question and the picture.

Each surgeon's instructions are going to be different.  Ask your surgeon for his/her specific instructions and follow them.

I have included a web reference to our arm lift recovery instructions and typically recommend return to a desk job between 1-2 weeks.

I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 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.