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St. Louis Arm Lift Specialist

An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes loose skin and excess fat deposits in the upper arm. With age or weight loss, upper arm skin can become loose and flabby, producing what is commonly known as a "bat wing" appearance. Skin tone is lost through the normal aging process or major weight loss.

Women are primarily affected by this arm deformity, which can make someone so self-conscious that she refuses to ever wear short sleeves. Arm exercises can rarely correct the skin laxity once it has developed, and people who have never been overweight may still have loose skin in the upper arm.

In some cases, liposuction alone can correct upper arm contour deformities. For other patients, excision (removal) of the excess skin is the only way to get rid of that "flappy" tissue that hangs from the inner, upper arm. Fat deposits and excess skin can also be removed from the armpit and the area just in front of the armpit during a brachioplasty. In addition to producing a significant cosmetic improvement in arm contour, a brachioplasty also makes clothes fit much better.

The Surgery

In a brachioplasty, the contours of the upper arm and armpit area are smoothed and tightened by removing excess skin through an incision typically placed on the inner surface of the upper arm. The length of this incision depends on how far down the arm the excess skin and fat deposits extend, but it may run along the underside of the entire upper arm.

An arm lift usually takes 1-1/2 to 2 hours, followed by quick recovery and return to normal activities. Although a brachioplasty can be performed alone, most patients have it done in combination with other body lifting procedures.

The scar on the underside of the upper arm that results from an arm lift will never be invisible and may remain red and quite noticeable for up to a year. With sufficient time, the scar should fade and form a thin line that is visible only when the arms are raised.

Length Of Surgery

1-1/2 to 2 hours


Usually general


Outpatient if brachioplasty is performed alone. If other procedures are done in the same surgery, patients spend 1 or 2 nights in the hospital.

Side Effects

Temporary pain and discomfort, arm swelling, bruising, change in arm sensation.


Scars that may be conspicuous in short sleeves. Wide scars. Contour irregularities of arms. Bleeding under skin flaps. Blood clots. Infection. Permanent numbness in some areas of skin.


Back to work: 1 to 2 weeks.
More strenuous activity, especially lifting: 4 to 6 weeks.
Fading and flattening of scars: 6 to 18 months.

Duration of Results

Considered permanent, unless weight gain occurs.

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