Arm Lift




Arm lift procedures are becoming increasingly more popular as the number of Lap Band and Gastric Bypass patients increase. Although massive weight loss is often a cause excess skin and sagging of the underarm, this condition can affect anyone. This condition can be caused by fluctuations in weight, age and heredity.

Exercise and weight training can build muscle tone, however it cannot remove excess skin or weakened tissues. The only way to remove excess skin on the underarm is through a brachioplasty (arm lift surgery).

The exact details of your procedure are determined by the amount of skin to be removed. Many times patients choose to undergo liposuction of the arms to remove unwanted localized pockets of fat. You will discuss this and your aesthetic goals with Dr. Smiley at your complimentary consultation.



Although the length and shape of the scar varies from patient to patient, all arm lift incisions are made from the armpit to the elbow- either under the arm or along the back of the arm. Supportive tissues (known as the fascia) are tightened and contoured. Internal sutures are put in place to hold the new shape of the arm. The incision is then closed either with absorbable sutures or stitches.

A Mini Arm Lift can be performed if only a small amount of excess skin needs to be removed. In the case of a mini arm lift, a small incision is made in the arm pit.


Results can be seen almost immediately. Swelling and bruising will dissipate over the weeks following your arm lift. Any pain or discomfort can be alleviated with medication prescribed by Dr. Smiley.

  • You will need to return to see Dr. Smiley post-operatively for routine check ups. If stitches are used, they will be removed after a week or two.

  • Compression garments will be provided to reduce swelling and bruising. It is important to wear your garment as indicated by Dr. Smiley (anywhere from 2-3 weeks).

  • Typically you will be able to return to work within 3-7 days.

  • It is important to refrain from lifting and excessive arm movement for 2-6 weeks, however, you may return to mild exercise after 2 weeks (such as walking, leg exercises, etc). Most patients are fully recovered after 4-6 weeks.


After undergoing a brachioplasty, many patients are relieved to see the smoother, more toned appearance of their arms and in turn often gain more self-confidence. It is important to have realistic expectations when undergoing any type of cosmetic procedure. Please note that an Arm Lift can only correct the sagging of the arms between the armpit and the elbow.



Thousands of arm lift procedures are successfully performed every year; however, as with any type of procedure it is important to be informed of the risks associated with the procedure. Risks associated with brachioplasty include: unfavorable scarring (keloids), seroma, hematoma, infection, changes in skin sensation, discoloration, asymmetry and the possibility of revision surgery, in addition to risks associated with the use of general anesthesia.

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