9419 Norton Commons Blvd.
Suite 101, Prospect, KY 40059

As with any elective aesthetic surgery, realistic expectations and a full understanding of the procedure are the keys to success. Goals common to many patients include: an improvement in body contour, recontouring of the upper arms with tightening of loose skin and removal of unwanted fat, bringing better balance and proportion to the arms and upper body, and improving appearance in and out of clothing. Body contouring surgery candidates are individuals who are near their goal weight and still have “problem areas” that are fairly diet and exercise “resistant”.

Many patients have skin excess with loss of elasticity (with or without stretch marks) in the upper arm areas due to aging and/or excessive weight gain and loss. Adipose tissue (or excess fat) may also exist in many cases. Problems of the outer chest and/or breast area may coexist with upper arm problems, and it may be possible to have both these areas addressed at the same time with a combination procedure (ie., concomitant breast lift, augmentation or reduction).

Frequently Asked Questions

Diet and exercise are important in helping patients near or reach their goal weights, but may not totally eliminate the problems listed above. Diet may reduce fatty tissue, but the skin is still frequently loose and continues to cause sagging of the upper arm region. Exercise may improve loss of excess fat, however the skin laxity may still be a problem. Suction lipectomy will reduce the amount of fatty tissue, but will not correct skin redundancy in the arms, and the skin problems may even worsen with over-aggressive (or even appropriate) liposuction. It may be possible to non-surgically tighten loose skin and melt unwanted fat with the use of ultrasound or radiofrequency energy, in the form of VASER SHAPE and EXILIS or EMSCULPT NEO.  The latter devices may also be used in conjunction with surgery to enhance the surgical results in either the pre- or post-operative setting or as stand-alone alternatives to surgery.

Although excess fat of the arms can only be removed with ultrasonic liposuction (or even nonsurgical treatments), significant excess skin of the arms cannot be removed without a scar. The correction of significant skin laxity of the upper arms requires an incision that typically begins in the axillary area and extends down the inner arm toward (or all the way to) the inner elbow, depending upon the amount of skin redundancy the patient possesses. In some cases, it may be possible to limit the incision just to the axillary region only, however in both incisional techniques, ultrasonic liposuction is usually combined to contour the outside of the arm for any unwanted fat. Generalized obesity is not corrected, and problems seen in the lower arm below the elbow are not corrected. Since timing of body contouring surgery is so important as it relates to goal weight, the best results are achieved with arm lifting after weight loss is complete. If patients are not at their goal weights, the incidence of revisional surgery (either further skin resection or additional liposuction) is increased. Diet and exercise are important in maintaining the results from surgery. Subsequent alterations in body contour may occur as a result of aging, weight gain or loss, and pregnancy.

Brachioplasty (arm lift) is performed as an outpatient in our fully Quad A credentialed in-suite operating room under light general anesthesia.  Patients who are candidates for liposuction alone have excess adipose or fatty tissue and minimal skin redundancy.  We use Vaser 2.4 ultrasound-assisted liposuction with Renuvion or BodyTite for liposuction arm procedures.  Here, the addition of the skin tightening radiofrequency of Renuvion or BodyTite aid in the overall tighter skin result, however, patients with many stretch marks or prohibitively looser amounts of skin redundancy will need to have some form of skin excision, along with the liposuction and radiofrequency devices, for the best results.   A “modified brachioplasty” may be utilized when the arm skin redundancy corrects to a large degree using an axillary-only skin resection, along with Vaser liposuction and Renuvion or BodyTite, to treat fat excess of the underarm and back of the arm areas.  Eliminating the long-arm scar is preferable in these patients.  If the amount of loose skin exceeds what this procedure can correct, then a long-arm scar extending from this axillary scar down the inner aspect of the arm toward (or all the way to) the elbow is added along with the liposuction and RF skin tightening.  Incisions for both types of brachioplasty are designed to be concealed by the patient’s clothing as much as possible, and are only revealed when the arm is not down by the patient’s side.  It is necessary during brachioplasty when skin is excised to place two small drains at the time of surgery, which will exit the skin in the armpit or axillary area and which will remain in place for approximately one to three days.  Patients are allowed to resume normal daily activities immediately while strenuous physical activities such as working out, lifting and reaching are limited to six weeks.  Dressing changes are performed once a day for approximately ten days, and ace wraps and then arm sleeves are provided for light compression to limit swelling and bruising.  Normal swelling lasts for several weeks, and final contours may not be realized for several months.  Immediate recovery is therefore approximately ten to 14 days, patients return to driving and to work when they feel ready, and mild pain medications are sufficient for most patients during recovery.

Individuals considering an Arm Lift should be aware of several tradeoffs involved.


  • Discoloration / swelling
  • Scars / lumps / irregularities
  • Discomfort (pain / sensitivity)
  • Numbness
  • Widened scars or openings in the skin


  • Scars / lumps / irregularities
  • Asymmetry (usually have at pre-op)
  • Restricted activity

While an Arm Lift can yield desirable results, it’s essential for individuals considering this surgery to be aware of the potential risks and complications involved:

  • Bleeding / hematoma
  • Infection
  • Fluid collections (seromas)
  • Widened scars
  • Chronic swelling
  • Contour irregularities / depressions
  • Skin loss
  • Pulmonary embolus
  • Fat embolus
  • Sensory loss

Even though the risks and complications cited above occur infrequently, they are the ones that are associated with the operation or of greatest concern. Other risks and complications can occur but are even more uncommon. Insurance usually does not cover this procedure. Treatment of complications may or may not be covered by insurance and may result in subsequent hospitalization or costs to you.


Before & After Results

Schedule An Arm Lift Consultation

For more information about an Arm Lift or to see if you’re a good candidate for this procedure, schedule a consultation with Dr. Samuels at 502-897-9411.

Our practice serves Louisville, KY and the surrounding areas.