Arm lift surgery, also called upper arm brachioplasty, is a cosmetic surgery that can treat loose, sagging skin, remove excess fat, and sculpt the arm to make it appear more toned, leaner, and youthful in appearance. Many women find they are unhappy with the “bat wing” appearance of their upper arms, especially after menopause, when hormonal changes can damage the skin in this area. Whether your concerns stem from the natural aging process, weight fluctuations, or a combination of both, our board-certified plastic surgeon will help you create arms that you can feel confident about!
Quick Facts About Arm Lift
- Arm lifts are surgical procedures
- At Reflections, arm lifts are performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience
- We perform surgery in a private accredited surgical suite (full medical care without risks or costs of hospital stay)
- The procedure tightens loose skin, contours & defines arm shape
- Long-lasting transformation
Arm lifts, like all of our procedures, are customized to the individual’s needs and goals. We offer both surgical and non-surgical treatments for the upper arm, and while this page focuses on the surgical options, you can combine surgical and non-surgical options for your procedure with us. We will discuss the options that will suit you best during your consultation. If you are considering surgical treatment options for the arm, these are the current best techniques we believe give the best results:
Surgical Excision (Removal) of Loose Skin vs. Skin Tightening Treatments
Removal of loose skin is something we include in every arm lift – in fact, this alone can constitute your entire arm lift, especially if you have a satisfying shape and size to your arm, and your concerns are truly limited to loose skin. This is common in older patients when skin elasticity has diminished, as well as patients who have quickly lost a lot of weight.
Those who have moderate to good skin quality can consider a skin tightening procedure, such as ThermiTight or Smartlipo, as an alternative to loose skin removal, and the main reason one would choose skin tightening instead is a desire to avoid scarring. Removing excess skin along the length of the upper arm creates a scar alongside the bottom of the arm, which some patients find to be unacceptable. We do have a team of trained laser physicians who can help reduce the appearance of scarring, but you can also avoid the scars altogether using a treatment that doesn’t remove the loose skin, but instead attempts to tighten it. Those with severely damaged collagen support in the skin (skin is no longer elastic or firm, and is thin with many fine lines or has stretch marks) will find skin tightening procedures can provide little to no improvement for them, and are better suited to surgical removal of excess skin.
Liposuction (Removal of Excess Fat)
Those with excess fat in the arms will benefit from liposuction as a part of their arm lift procedure. Liposuction can both sculpt the arm’s shape to appear more toned, and reduce the weight that weighs down on thin skin, which if left untreated would reduce the longevity of your skin lift procedure, by stretching out tightened skin more rapidly and leading to a return to sagging arms).
We offer both traditional liposuction performed under general anesthesia and laser lipo performed under local anesthesia. We offer all of the best liposuction technologies, including Vaser, SmartLipo, SAFE lipo, and SlimLipo. Vaser and SmartLipo tend to be our favorites specifically for the arms, but your physician will help you in choosing the perfect technology for your body and goals.Learn More
If you have an arm lift, or brachioplasty, where excess skin is removed from the arm, then you will have a scar. Young, healthy patients with resilient skin tend to heal the best in terms of scarring, and are also the least likely to need skin removed. So, for most patients who have an arm lift, proactive scar management is important.
This can be simple, such as avoiding sun exposure and using a silicone cream. Or, it can be managed more proactively with lasers, steroid injections, and constant care by doctors with experience in cosmetic healing. This is something you’ll likely already know if you need, based on how your previous scars have healed. For a patient who knows they tend to have bad scars or someone having a revision (who has proven they haven’t scarred well in the past), this is a unique opportunity to be managed by a physician who will use every tool at their disposal to get the best outcome possible.
Why Choose Reflections for Your Arm Lift?
Reflections Center is home to a team of top physicians who provide the best of both surgical and non-surgical treatments – and that’s truly rare when it comes to arm lifts. Most practices only provide surgical options. We have found even those who want a fully surgical approach to their arm lift are relieved to hear we can help them minimize and manage their scarring, which is a top concern for patients undergoing this procedure. And the ability to mix in skin tightening or laser lipo, performed without general anesthesia, is a big win for patients with health concerns or fears about anesthesia.
Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Joseph Fodero, has over 22 years of experience and is the chief of plastic surgery at Morristown Medical Center, the #1 hospital in New Jersey. This gives him access to several surgical suites in the area, including his own private surgical suite, the surgery suites in the hospital, and the hospital’s affiliated surgical center. This is important because some patients desire to avoid the costs of surgical centers, while others need the care of a hospital post-surgery – each person is unique – and having all 3 of these options means we can provide each patient with exactly the level of care they need in order to have a successful and comfortable cosmetic surgery experience.
Dr. Fodero’s extensive surgical experience specifically with cosmetic surgeries following massive weight loss, helping people of all types of body contours get the natural, proportionate curves they want, including the upper arms. Because he has both cosmetic expertise and the functional expertise of a reconstructive background, you can be assured you will end up with a result that is comfortable, functional, and beautiful.
Dr. Renata Wix-Harris has been offering the latest and best treatments for avoiding an arm lift for many years at our practice – and her results are outstanding! She offers both minimally invasive treatments and non-invasive treatments. So if you are sure surgery is not for you, it’s best to start with a consultation with her or Dr. Fodero.
The best care you can receive for arm lift surgery is with a team of physicians, made up of both experts in cosmetics as well as plastic surgery.
The best arm lift treatment for you is the one that has this team working on your behalf, communicating with each other about the most effective way to achieve your desired results through state-of-the-art treatments and procedures.
– Do you have before and after galleries I can look at to see real patient results, specifically for the treatment options you’re recommending for me?
– Have you treated patients who look like me in their “before” photos?
– What’s the best way to maintain my results?
– What can I expect realistically from my procedure, in terms of results?
– If I didn’t limit you on treatment options, what would you recommend for me, and why?
– Given my limits with budget and lifestyle (downtime required, not wanting general anesthesia, concerns about scarring, etc.), what would you recommend as the best option?
Skin Tightening For Body
Skin that is loose enough to require removal during an arm lift is skin that could easily stretch out again if the collagen and elasticity is not improved (and especially if excess fat weighs it down). Skin tightening procedures stimulate the body to grow new collagen, for longer-lasting and better results.
One of the biggest concerns patients have about arm lift surgery is that there will be a visible scar for the rest of their life. With scar treatments, our physicians can complement the natural contouring achieved through arm lift by simultaneously ensuring any scars are as inconspicuous as possible.
- What is the arm lift process?
You’ll start your journey with a consultation with our plastic surgeon, Dr. Joseph Fodero. He will discuss your medical history with you and perform a physical exam to determine your health and current needs. Then the two of you will discuss the best options to help you reach your goals, and you’ll cover all facets of your needs and goals, including ability to take time off work, budget, any lifestyle concerns (like wanting to get back to working out quickly, or picking up small children), as well as your feelings about scarring and anesthesia. He will help you to understand what the realistic expectations for your outcome are, as well as what tradeoffs you may have between different treatment options. Finally, our patient care coordinators will help you to schedule your procedures, either in the Reflections Center private surgical suite located within our Martinsville Office, or at another private surgical suite (there are many options across New Jersey). Before you schedule your procedure, Dr. Fodero will explain the individual healing timeline and intensity you can expect based on the surgery you two have decided upon.
- What is the healing process from arm lift surgery like?
This varies based on the surgical procedure options that are being combined for your surgery, as well as the details of your medical history and anatomy. However, here are some general ideas to help you understand what might be involved:
- Most people are going to be wearing a compression sleeve garment after the surgery to help with keeping swelling down, improve circulation as you heal, and support the tissues along the scar line to encourage as little scarring as possible.
- You should expect swelling and bruising that’s going to last around 2 weeks. It’s going to be worst around day 2 and then start to taper off. You will likely feel significantly less sore around day 4 or 5.
- You won’t be allowed to work out with your arms or pick up heavy loads until around 4-6 weeks after this procedure, though you will likely feel like you could before then – it’s best not to stress your sutures, for the final result of the scar.
- What are the possible risks or potential complications?
Like with all surgeries, there are risks to arm lift surgery. Under the care of an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Fodero, those risks are minimal and extremely rare. Most people experience soreness for up to two weeks or more after their surgery, and other minor complications might be a poor appearance of a scar or less-than-desired results.
- What medical conditions would make me not a candidate?
Most people can be good candidates for arm lift surgery. People with blood clotting disorders, serious underlying health concerns, active infections, or other conditions might not be good candidates at the current time.
- Can an arm lift be performed fully under local anesthesia?
We don’t perform surgical arm lifts under local anesthesia because it’s nearly impossible to make a patient comfortable for this level of surgery, without the use of general anesthesia. Minimally invasive options, including Laser Lipo and Skin Tightening, can be performed under fully local anesthesia.
- Can I have an arm lift even if I'm significantly overweight or still want to lose a considerable amount of weight?
You can have an arm lift surgery so long as you are healthy enough for surgery. However, if your weight is fluctuating, we recommend you hit and maintain a stable weight for at least 6 months before your surgery, so that future weight fluctuations do not hurt your results.
- Do I have to stop smoking to have an arm lift?
Smoking is a problem not only for your safety during general anesthesia, but also as it can lead to situations where you don’t heal well after surgery. Since arm lifts leave a large, long suture line that needs to heal, we cannot risk a non-healing wound with smokers. You would need to stop smoking at least 1 month prior to surgery and for at least 3 months after surgery. We do not perform laser lipo or skin tightening on smokers, either, due to concerns about healing.
Dr. Joe Fodero is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience. For 20 years, Dr. Fodero has built an amazing resume of plastic surgery work in the New Jersey area and is recognized as a Top Plastic Surgeon in Rhinoplasty, Breast Augmentation, and Body Sculpting. We’re so happy he’s decided to join forces with the Reflections Center team of physicians.