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Brachioplasty (Arm Lift)

What is a brachioplasty?

A brachioplasty, also known as an arm lift, is a surgical procedure to remove excessive skin from the under-surface of the upper arms. The procedure is performed to reshape and recontour the upper arms to give a more toned and balanced appearance. 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.

When is a brachioplasty desirable?

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 beneficial to you.

It is not a substitute for weight reduction, nor a cure for obesity. For brachioplasty surgery to be most successful, you should be physically healthy and be maintaining a stable weight.

How would a brachioplasty help me?

A consultation with your Specialist Plastic Surgeon is the first step in considering a brachioplasty. You should frankly discuss your goals and expectations, and your plastic surgeon will explain to you whether this operation is right for you. Suction lipectomy may be advised in addition to (or instead of) an arm lift. You should always keep in mind that the desired result is improvement, not perfection.

How important are psychological factors in relation to a brachioplasty?

Emotional stability is a primary factor to be considered before any aesthetic surgery is performed. A “new body” does not guarantee a new life or an end to all personal problems. It is mostly the mental attitude of the individual that determines a successful outcome. Brachioplasty surgery can improve your appearance and renew your self-confidence; the rest is entirely up to you.

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 side effects of a brachioplasty?

You may experience some swelling or bruising after surgery, although no major complications should be experienced. To prevent any fluid or blood accumulation, a thin tube called a drain may be temporarily placed under the skin while you’re in hospital.

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, scars will usually be be present on the inside of your upper arm, running from your armpit to your elbow. As with most scars though, they should fade over time however, there is a variation in healing time and scar formation between individuals.

What results can I expect from a brachioplasty?

The goal 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.

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.


The Australian Foundation for Plastic Surgery (part of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons) 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. Click here to visit their website.