Arm Lift (Brachiaplasty)

An arm lift is a widely used procedure that typically involves using a combination of liposuction and surgery to remove excess fat and loose skin and restore a firm, toned, youthful appearance to the upper arms.
This area of the body can be difficult to target with weight loss and exercise alone and, indeed, if you lose weight, it often makes the problem of loose skin worse.

Are You a Good Candidate? 

If you are self-conscious about your upper arms because of loose skin and/or stubborn fat deposits, you may benefit from an arm lift. This procedure is particularly beneficial for women or men who have lost a lot of weight and /or have lost elasticity due to aging and want to restore the firmness and overall appearance of their upper arms.

Although small amounts of fat can be removed along with excess skin, an arm lift is not intended as a weight reduction technique. For best results, you should at or near a good body weight before having surgery.

Your Consultation 

Your first step will be to have a detailed consultation with Dr MacDonald where she will listen to your goals and concerns and complete a careful examination .Then, Dr. MacDonald will discuss the treatment options that best address your concerns and particular situation.

Dr. MacDonald and her staff will:

  • Give you detail information about the surgery and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure
  • Discuss any concerns or questions that you may have
  • Discuss potential risks of the procedure


Arm lift surgery is a day surgery, meaning you go home the same day. It requires a general anesthetic so we have you complete a pre-operative questionnaire to ensure you are ready for surgery. You will be given instructions on what time to arrive and reminded not to eat or drink anything the night before surgery. The surgery is approximately 2 hours and you will spend approximately 3 hours in the recovery room, so plan to spend the day at the hospital. You will be given a prescription for pain medication before leaving the hospital.

Most swelling should subside within the first 4-6 weeks, although you may not see the full results for 3-6 months following your procedure. The results of an arm lift are long-lasting providing you don’t lose or gain a lot of weight. However, age and gravity may eventually cause some loss of firmness.


You will need someone to drive you home from the hospital and stay with you for the first 24 hours. You can shower 48 hours after surgery. All the stitches are dissolving and wound care is simply ointment and gauze. You will have a wrap or binder on from the day of surgery and this is worn full-time until the healing is complete in 2-4 weeks. Dr. MacDonald will see you 5-7 days after surgery to ensure you are healing well.

If you have a very physical job, plan to have 2 weeks of healing time before you return to work. If you have a fairly sedentary job, then you may return to work as early as 1 week after your procedure. You should avoid activities that may increase your blood pressure, like running or lifting weights, until 4-6 weeks after surgery. You are encouraged to be out walking as soon after surgery as possible.


As in any surgery, risks include infection, scarring, delayed wound healing, bruising and bleeding. Issues specific to this surgery are asymmetry, numb skin and contour irregularities. Complications in this procedure are relatively uncommon but will be discussed further at the time of consultation.


The surgery suited best for you will be discussed at the time of consultation and Dr MacDonald’s assistant will e-mail you a detailed cost breakdown.