Upper Arm Lift


An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, is a surgical body procedure to remove excess skin from the upper chest near the armpits down to the elbow. If you are bothered by loose skin on your upper arms, consider an arm lift at UCI Plastic Surgery in Orange County where a team of plastic surgeons treat all aspects of massive weight loss body contouring.

Reasons to Choose Arm Lift Surgery in Orange County or Los Angeles Area

Patients who present with upper arm excess often complain of feeling like they have “bat wings.” Most often these patients had been overweight and have lost a significant amount of weight leading to a deflation of the upper arm.

In a few patients, the skin of the upper arm will contract back to its original size, like a balloon that has been blown up for a short time, and, after the air is let out of it, it goes back to its original size–a small tight balloon.

Unfortunately, upper arm skin most often will not contract after massive weight loss and will act like a balloon that has been over inflated for a long time leading to a loose balloon that hangs after deflation.

Most people who have upper arm excess are embarrassed to wear sleeveless clothing and are bothered by the inability to find clothes that fit both their torsos and their arms.

The best candidates for arm lift in Orange County or Los Angeles are those who are troubled by loose skin and tissue on the arms. The upper arm is quick to show signs of aging. For a sleeker look, excess skin in the upper chest area near the armpits down to the elbow can be reduced during this procedure. Results are long lasting and should make it possible to wear sleeveless clothing with confidence.

Your plastic surgeon at UCI Plastic Surgery will discuss the benefits and potential risks based on your individual case, medical history and evaluation. The arm lift procedure involves the removal of excess skin and tissue that may hang from the upper arms.


Arm lift is best for treating:

  • Loose, hanging arm tissue
  • Excess fat in upper arms

Candidates for an arm lift surgery should be highly motivated to improve their physique. The best results are achieved with healthy patients who are at a stable body weight. It is also recommended that patients be non-smokers who are realistic about the expected outcome.

FAQ About Arm Lift in Orange County

These are some of the most asked questions about brachioplasty at UCI Plastic Surgery in Southern California. If you would like additional information, please call or email our friendly staff.

How does brachioplasty work?

Upper arm lift surgery in Orange County can be done as an outpatient procedure. The surgery usually takes two to three hours.

More traditional arm reduction techniques limit the removal of tissue to the upper arm and armpit (axilla). This will often lead to inadequate removal of excess tissue and less than optimal results. Our technique takes into account the excess that spills onto the chest wall and allows for more trimming of tissue in the upper arm. The markings, which are made prior to surgery to estimate the amount of tissue to removed, are shown below.


The ellipse of tissue is then removed and the tissues are re-approximated . No drains are utilized.

Stitches are usually internal and absorbable.  The skin is covered with medical grade glue. The smoother contour that results from brachioplasty is apparent immediately following your procedure, although initially it may be obscured by the swelling and bruising. Your surgeon may decide to use compression garments for additional contouring and healing.

What are the risks of arm lift surgery in Orange County & Los Angeles?

As with any surgery, there is always a possibility of complications, including bleeding, infection or reaction to anesthesia.

The procedure will leave noticeable, permanent scars, which may take months to years to become less noticeable. (Poor healing, wider scars, are more common in smokers). It can also leave you with mismatched scars, asymmetry, major wound separation, fat necrosis, damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs. Some patients also experience a permanent loss of feeling in their arms or persistent pain symptoms. There is a possibility of revisional surgery.

What should I expect after arm lift surgery?

Following surgery, your arms are elevated for one to three weeks. Eventually, you may be asked to wear a compression garment to help reduce swelling.  You may feel some pain for first few days, especially when you cough or move around. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication. Instructions on showering and dressing will be given to you by your physician.

Your arms may still ache occasionally for a couple of weeks. Avoid lifting or pushing heavy objects for the first month. Most patients can return to work (if it’s not too strenuous) and social activities in about two weeks.

Below are a few examples of pre and postoperative brachioplasty results:


A typical brachioplasty result in a patient who presented with very deflated arms. The scar is located on the underside of the arm.


Another patient that is shown before (above), and after (below), a brachioplasty.


One more example of preoperative, (above), and postoperative results, (below),  of brachioplasty surgery utilizing our surgeons’ technique.

To learn more about brachioplasty or upper arm lift in Orange County & Los Angeles areas, please call or email UCI Plastic Surgery. We are conveniently located in the city of Orange, just a short drive from Los Angeles, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and other cities of Southern California. Contact us via our online contact form.