Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)

What is a brachioplasty?

A brachioplasty, also known as an arm lift, is a surgical procedure our Specialist Plastic Surgeons perform in Perth to remove excessive skin from the under-surface of the upper arms. The procedure is performed to change the shape and coutour of the upper arms to give a more balanced appearance in proportion with your body. A brachioplasty is generally combined with suction lipectomy and may form part of a body contouring procedure.

This procedure can be performed for aesthetic (cosmetic) purposes or for medical/functional reasons, the latter being dependent on strict Medicare eligibility criteria.

What factors may influence the decision to have a brachioplasty?

Excess, heavy skin can result in:

  • Rashes and infections, particularly in the folds of the skin
  • Difficulty when exercising
  • Poor posture, including back and shoulder pain

Generally patients who have skin with good elasticity, which should be able to conform to new body contours, may only require suction lipectomy to remove excess fat deposits. However, if your upper arms are affected by skin laxity due to age, lymphedema, or following pregnancy or weight loss – and you have been unable to tone or tighten your arms through exercise – then a brachioplasty may be beneficial to you.

This procedure is not a substitute for weight reduction, nor a cure for obesity. It is recommended for people who are physically health and maintaining a stable weight, but suffer from loose skin or disproportionate areas of the body that do not respond well to diet or exercise.

Is a brachioplasty right for me?

A consultation with your Specialist Plastic Surgeon is the first step when you are considering body contouring surgery. During this consultation, it is important to openly communicate your goals and expectations regarding your appearance. During the consultation, your surgeon will conduct a thorough examination and attentively listen to and address your concerns prior to discussing the most suitable options for your individual circumstances. Suction lipectomy may be advised in addition to (or instead of) an arm lift.

How is a brachioplasty performed?

An incision is made on the under-surface of your arm, usually from the armpit to the elbow and any excess fat may be removed using suction lipectomy. The underlying muscle is tightened using stitches to provide new shape and definition to the upper arm. Excess skin is removed and the area is closed with stitches. Your plastic surgeon will take your physical condition and requirements into consideration, and will determine which techniques would be best for you.

Brachioplasty surgery is performed in Perth in a fully-accredited hospital under general anaesthesia. The surgery is generally performed as a day procedure or alternatively with a short hospital stay if combined with other procedures, depending on your general health and the extent of the procedure.

Are there any risks and complications of brachioplasty surgery?

All plastic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgical procedures come with risks and potential complications. To ensure successful surgery, it is crucial to understand and minimise these risks. Whilst all measures are taken to mitigate risks, some risks are unavoidable.

All information on this page is general in nature – your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will discuss the specific risks and complications pertinent to your individual surgical procedure during your consultation. General risks for surgery are listed here.

Specific risks related to brachioplasty surgery include, but are not limited to:

  • Fat necrosis: This is a rare complication that can occur when fatty tissue dies. It can cause hard lumps under the skin, but it is usually not a serious problem.
  • Restricted movement: Tightened skin after brachioplasty can make bending arms and certain movements more challenging.
  • Skin graft: There is a risk of skin that does not heal and may require a skin graft. This risk is rare, but it is important to be aware of it before undergoing surgery.
  • Blood loss: In rare cases of significant blood loss during surgery, a blood transfusion may be necessary.
  • Nausea: Nausea is a common side effect, often caused by anaesthesia, but it typically resolves quickly after surgery.

Will the brachioplasty procedure leave any scars?

Although scars are the inevitable results of any surgery, your surgeon will make every effort to make the scars as inconspicuous as possible. Due to the nature of this procedure though, scars will usually be be present on the inside of your upper arm, running from your armpit to your elbow. As with most scars, they should fade over time however, scarring is an individual characteristic and can vary from patient to patient. Some patients have a tendency to develop keloid or hypertrophic scars and you should advise your surgeon if you are aware of this tendency in yourself.

What results can I expect from a brachioplasty?

The primary objective of your surgery is to reduce your upper arms to a size that is in better proportion with your physique and makes you feel more comfortable. The results of an arm lift are immediate and will be long lasting if you maintain a healthy lifestyle however, an arm lift will not prevent sagging of your upper arms if you gain and lose considerable weight in the future. Your surgeon is the best person to determine whether your expectations are achievable.

When can I resume normal activities following a brachioplasty?

Returning to your normal activities is an individual matter. Your surgeon will advise you on your schedule, but most activities may be resumed within a few weeks. Many return to work after one week, and some even sooner. You should avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise/sports and swimming until advised by your surgeon. You will have to wear post-surgical compression garments on your arms for up to six weeks to reduce swelling and assist with the healing process.

It is important to note however, that each patient requires adequate time, support, and proper postoperative care to facilitate their recovery process. Due to individual variations in healing abilities and pain tolerance, the duration of recovery and ability to engage in various activities may differ among patients.

How much does this procedure cost?

Please contact us online or call us on (08) 9380 0333 and one of our medical secretaries can provide you with more information. Please note that pricing does vary from case to case.

Where can I find more information?

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) website is a helpful and reliable source of information online. Their website is an excellent place to research a range of surgical procedures and non-surgical treatments, and view video animations.