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 31

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

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

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.

Bruce E. Genter, MD, FACS
Abington Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 16 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.

Siamak Agha, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

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
4.8 out of 5 stars 118 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
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Arm Lifts should last you a lifetime

Thank you for your question regarding the longevity of arm lift or brachioplasty results.

The results of an arm lift should last you a lifetime. During an arm lift or brachioplasty, excess arm skin and fat is permanently removed. It is very unlikely that the excess arm fat and subsequent excess arm skin will return. If however, you gain a significant amount of weight, like 80 to 100 pounds, the results from your arm lift will be sub-optimal due to re-accumulation of some arm fat. The re-accumulation of arm fat will cause stretching of the arm skin, and thus, diminished arm lift results.

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 196 reviews

How long to arm lift results last?

Brachioplasty or arm lift surgery is one of the most frequently requested body contouring procedures performed today. The demand for this procedure has increased more than 800% since 1997. This is the greatest percent change of any of the commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedures Much of the increase in popularity is due to the growing number of patients who undergo massive weight loss. In performing this procedure an incision is made on the inside of the arm extending from the elbow into the armpit. Sometimes it is necessary to extend the incision further into the armpit and sometimes past it. Utilizing this incision excess skin is removed and the wound is closed. It is very important to position the scar properly so that it is concealed as much as possible. A well-placed incision should result in a scar that is only visible when the arms are raised. This operation is normally performed as an outpatient. It is very important for the surgeon to discuss the resultant scar thoroughly with the patient preoperatively. Very commonly this scar takes a longer time to undergo the full healing and maturation process. Maturation refers to the process whereby the scar becomes less apparent. Brachioplasty scars commonly take up to 2 years to fully mature. 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. Performed properly results of a brachioplasty should last many years.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 112 reviews

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
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 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. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

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
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 34 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.