Questions about Brachioplasty Surgery for Arm Reduction

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Arm Lift FAQs – Best Questions about Brachioplasty Surgery in Australia

If you have undergone massive weight loss, you may find you now have excess skin, resulting in a flabby upper arm or ‘batwings’, an Arm Lift or Brachioplasty procedure can recontour your arms, giving them a more youthful, healthier look. Below are the most common Arm lift FAQs.

Dr Patrick Briggs performs Upper Arm Lift surgery at CocoRuby Plastic Surgery in Melbourne. Dr Briggs is a seasoned, experienced plastic surgeon with thousands of satisfied patients and can take a personal, customised approach to help you achieve the look you have worked so hard for.

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About Arm Lift or Brachioplasty FAQs

Why are my arms so flabby?

Your arms can be flabby because of a variety of reasons. Upper arm saggy skin may appear after massive weight loss. Flabby arms can also be a result of Bariatric Surgery or weight fluctuations. An Arm Lift or Brachioplasty is an excellent surgical procedure that can help you remove excess, saggy skin and some fat deposits and restore a more toned-looking upper arm.

What causes fat upper arms?

  • You may have fat upper arms because of a massive weight gain and loss.
    • This causes your skin to stretch as you gain weight, to enable it to hold higher volume of fat tissue.
  • When you lose weight, the upper arm skin retracts, however, it can retract only so much.
    • Once your upper arm skin has reached it’s retraction limit, it cannot get any smaller, and you are left with bat-wing upper arms, tuck shop arms or ta-ta arms.
  • You may also have loose and saggy upper arm skin because of the aging process.
    • As you age, your body produces significantly less Elastin and Collagen, two vital proteins supporting your tissues.
    • Collagen and elastin are produced less throughout the body, although this change is most apparent in the skin.
    • The decreased protein production in combination with the gravitational pull will leave you with saggy upper arms.

How do you remove armpit fat?

  • Armpit fat removal is a common procedure.
  • It involves the removal of the fatty tissues using liposuction and then the excision of extra skin.
  • Armpit fat removal is a surgical procedure that yields very good, noticeable results.

Can you get rid of loose skin underarms?

  • Yes, you can get rid of loose skin underarms.
  • If the loose skin is present even after you’ve lost weight, then the procedure of Brachioplasty may be the solution for you.
  • You should schedule a visit to your specialised plastic surgeon, who will be able to properly assess your situation and recommend the best possible procedure for you.

Is there plastic surgery for flabby arms?

  • Yes, there is plastic surgery for flabby arms.
  • If your flabby arms result from fat deposits, but your skin is not too lax, you may opt for an invisible arm lift or arm liposuction.
  • If you have considerable upper arm skin laxity, you may need a full Brachioplasty (Which includes Arm Liposuction).

How do you fix batwing arms?

  • A Brachioplasty/Arm Lift can easily fix batwing arms.
  • The procedure consists of removing some extra fat tissue and upper arm excess skin and gives good, immediately visible results.
  • Consult your experienced specialised plastic surgeon to learn more about this procedure and whether you are the right candidate.

What is invisible arm lift surgery?

  • Invisible arm lift or a limited-incision Brachioplasty surgery is a procedure in which extra upper arm skin is removed using a C-shaped incision in the armpit area.
  • The process includeds;
    • Making the incision
    • Removing extra skin
    • Reattaching the skin under the armpit, (where it will gradually heal and leave a difficult-to-notice scar).
  • This may be the perfect solution for you if you are;
    • Satisfied with your current weight
    • Have limited arm skin laxity to remove.

Am I the Right Candidate / Arm Lift Prerequisites FAQs

Am I the Right Candidate for Arm Lift?

  • You may be the right candidate for an armlift procedure if you:
    • Have lost a significant amount of weight resulting in loose upper arm skin,
    • Have issues with the new appearance of your upper arms,
    • Understand what a Brachioplasty can and can not acheive.
    • Have been able to maintain a stable weight for at least six months to a year before the surgery,
    • Are in good health and have no chronic medical conditions. For example; heart or lung-related disease,
    • And do not smoke.

Do you need to lose weight before an arm lift?

  • Yes, you should lose weight before getting an Arm Reduction Procedure or an upper arm Brachioplasty.
  • Brachioplasty is not a substitute for healthy eating habits and good exercise regimens.
  • It is not a substitute for weight loss.
  • However, if you are satisfied with your current weight and the upper arm skin laxity is due to ageing or genetics, you may not need to lose weight at all.
  • Contact your experienced specialised plastic surgeon for more information and an assessment of your particular case.

Will I need an Arm Lift after weight loss?

  • You may need an arm lift or Brachioplasty after a weight loss.
  • If you have lost massive amounts of weight and now have loose skin on your body, including extra skin in the upper arm region, you should schedule a consultation with a specialised plastic surgeon to assess your situation.
  • Your seasoned plastic surgeon will recommend the appropriate procedure.

What is the maximum weight for an arm lift?

  • You should be approximately 5-7 kg from your ideal weight.
  • In general, your BMI should not be higher than 30, as any increase in weight increases the chances for in-surgery complications.
  • A moderate weight combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise is the best recipe for a quick and successful recovery.

Arm Lift Prep FAQs

What to do before Arm Lift Surgery?

  • Before an Arm Lift surgery, you should have lost enough weight for skin laxity to be pronounced.
  • You will need to be 5-7 kg from your ideal weight.
  • Its also important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Furthermore your diet should consist of healthy, diverse food.
  • Its also important that you; exercise regularly and avoid stress.

How to prepare for Arm Lift Surgery?

  • Preparation for an Arm Reduction Procedure surgery should cover:
    • Any lab work suggested by your surgeon,
    • Taking all your medication for any preexisting conditions regularly,
    • Avoiding any anti-inflammatory drugs or any drugs and substances which may promote bleeding (including herbal supplements, such as Ginkgo Biloba and others),
    • You should stop smoking several weeks before the procedure, as smoking increases the chances of complications and prolongs the recovery time.
    • Prepare your medical history and your family medical history, and make sure you have informed your specialised plastic surgeon about any important details.

What to pack for arm lift surgery?

  • You should pack;
    • Any medicine that you may take regularly.
    • Your compression garment if your surgeon does not supply it.
    • Your lab results and any other documents that your surgeon has asked for should also be in your bag.
    • You should wear loose, comfortable clothes that are easy to take off and put back on.
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Arm Lift Surgical Procedure FAQs

Is an arm lift a major surgery?

  • Yes, an armlift is major surgery.
  • Upper arm Brachioplasty carries certain risks and possible complications.
  • Ensure to speak with your specialised plastic surgeon about any concerns you may have about the procedure and the recovery time.

What are the different types of arm lifts?

  • There are several types of arm lifts:
  1. Full Brachioplasty or Full Arm Lift Procedure
    • This is the classical Arm Reduction Procedure procedure.
    • It is done utilising an incision from the elbow to the armpit.
    • In this procedure, the surgeon will remove excess skin and some fat.
  2. Extended Brachioplasty or an Extended Arm Lift
    • This is a procedure choosen if you have skin laxity that goes beyond the upper arm and onto the armpit and the chest wall.
    • The scar is longer, but more excess skin and fat tissues can be removed.
  3. Short Scar Brachioplasty or a Short Scar Arm Lift
    • This is the procedure of choice if you have some stubborn fat or some localised skin laxity.
    • Some sagging skin and fat are removed, but the scar left after the procedure is shorter.
  4. Invisible Arm Lift is also known as an Invisible Brachioplasty, Scarless Arm lift or a BodyTite Brachioplasty
    • This is a procedure addresses limited skin laxity and is done without any larger incisions.
    • All that is needed are two entry points for the cannula: one in the armpit and one at the elbow.
    • It is a variant of liposuction and is commonly performed for smaller amounts of upper arm fat that you should remove.
  5. Brachioplasty with (Auxiliary) Extension
    • This is the procedure of choice if skin laxity extends from the upper arm, over the armpit and onto the chest wall – multiple incisions = multiple treated areas the greater the amount of skin that is removed.

What is a full arm lift?

  • A full Upper Arm Reduction or a full Brachioplasty is a surgical procedure that removes extra upper arm skin and some upper arm fat deposits.
  • It does so through an incision that starts at the elbow and ends at the armpit.
  • It is a very common plastic surgery, and it yields good results.

What is a mini arm lift?

  • A mini armlift or mini Brachioplasty is a surgical procedure that removes smaller amounts of loose skin on the inner upper arm.
  • Other names for this procedure include; a C-type arm lift or a Crescent Arm Reduction Procedure, thanks to the shape of the incision.
  • It is a great surgical procedure for removing smaller amounts of lax upper arm skin and small pockets of fat.

What kind of Arm lift do I need?

  • The type of arm lift you need depends on several factors:
    • How much of the extra skin and fatty tissues need to be removed,
    • How much weight you have lost,
    • Your age and the overall state of your skin elasticity,
    • Your goals and the desired look.

Ensure to schedule a consultation with an experienced specialised plastic surgeon for more details and a proper assessment of your case.

How long is an arm lift surgery?

  • An armlift surgery typically takes 3-4 hours, depending on what you want to achieve.
  • You will most likely be abe to go home the same day.
  • Although you may be released on the same day, please bear in mind that an arm lift surgery is a major surgery and that you will need to take plenty of rest.

Is an arm lift surgery without scars possible?

  • Yes, arm lift surgery without scars is possible only in the case of the BodyTite Brachioplasty procedure.
  • This procedure demands only two entry points for the cannula.
  • All other Brachioplasty or Arm Lift Procedures leave noticeable scars, which scar revision procedures may help fade.

How much skin can be removed in an arm lift?

  • An arm lift procedure can remove significant amounts of skin depending on your condition, to begin with.
  • This does not mean that Upper Arm Reduction is a weight loss solution, but rather a surgery that should remove excess skin and marginal amounts of fat AFTER the weight loss.

How much weight do you lose with an arm lift?

  • An arm lift or upper arm Brachioplasty will generally remove between 600-1800 gr or around 1.5 – 4 lbs of fat and extra upper arm skin.
  • Again, you should understand that this is not a weight-loss procedure.

How do they remove batwings with surgery?

  • During the upper arm Brachioplasty, your specialised plastic surgeon will reshape your upper arms by removing loose skin and some fat deposits.
  • Upper arm Brachioplasty is an excellent surgical procedure which recontours your body and restores a firmer, fit look.

Brachioplasty Recovery FAQs – Questions about Arm Lift or Brachioplasty Recovery

How bad is the pain after an arm lift?

  • You may experience pain and discomfort after an Upper Arm Reduction or Brachioplasty surgery.
  • Pain relievers easily manage the pain, and after the first few initial days post-op, it will start to fade away.
  • As the recovery progresses, discomfort will dissipate and will be fully gone within the first few weeks.
  • You can speed up this process by avoiding alcohol and tobacco products, maintaining a healthy diet and having plenty of rest.

How painful is an arm lift recovery?

  • The arm lift recovery period is somewhat painful.
  • Pain killers and plenty of rest should reduce any pain and discomfort you may feel during this time.
  • It is important to note that the arms are moved frequently during the day and that this movement makes the healing process somewhat longer.
  • Contact your specialised plastic surgeon for any information on pain relievers that you may use after your Brachioplasty.

When does arm lift pain go away?

  • Arm lift or upper Brachioplasty pain should go away after a week or two post-op.
  • You may experience some discomfort and swelling even after this period.
  • This is a normal part of upper Brachioplasty recovery.

How do you sleep after an arm lift?

  • You should sleep on your back with arms propped by a few pillows for the first few weeks after an Upper Arm Reduction.
  • Your surgeon will closely monitor your recovery and indicate when you can start sleeping on your stomach or your sides.

Can you sleep on your side after an arm lift?

  • No, you should avoid sleeping on your side for the first few weeks after an upper Brachioplasty.
  • Always consult your specialised plastic surgeon with any questions and concerns you may have, and make sure to follow any recommendations made by your specialised plastic surgeon strictly.

How long does an arm lift take to heal?

  • An armlift can heal in as little as a week or two.
  • After this period, your incision is healed. However, your body may need more time to complete the process of scar formation and tissue reattaching.
  • Make sure to have plenty of rest and avoid any strenuous activities.
  • You should be careful not to overdo yourself since arms are an area of movement and may take longer to heal than other body parts.

How long do you wear a compression garment after an arm lift?

  • You should wear your compression garment for at least three to six weeks post-op.
  • A compression garment applies pressure to your upper arms and ensures that the upper Brachioplasty results are better and more permanent.
  • Always consult your experienced specialised plastic surgeon before making any changes to your daily activities and/or removing your compression garment.

When can I stop wearing a compression garment after an arm lift?

  • You can stop wearing a compression garment six weeks after your surgery.
  • This is how long it takes for all the tissues to heal fully and for your arms to get a shape you will be happy with.

How long does numbness last after an arm lift?

  • Numbness after an upper Brachioplasty is a highly individual factor in Upper Arm Reduction recovery.
  • In general, you can expect the numbness to go away as the healing progresses and swelling reduces.
  • Give yourself plenty of rest and a healthy diet to provide your body with all the ingredients it may need to heal properly.

How long are arms swollen after Brachioplasty?

  • The majority of swelling will dissipate after the initial two weeks post-surgery.
  • You may expect some swelling to persist for as long as 1 to 6 months after the arm lift procedure.
  • This is a normal pace of recovery and should not concern you too much.

How long after arm lift can you lift your arms?

  • It takes about three to four weeks to be able to lift your arms above shoulder level.
  • During this time, you should avoid moving your arms too much or even lifting them to shoulder level.
  • Your specialised plastic surgeon can give you more details on your specific case and provide you with a detailed day by day recovery time that applies to you.

How long do arm lift scars take to fade?

  • Arm lift scars are permanent scars that will change in size and colour for the first 1-2 years after the surgery.
  • If you are concerned about the visibility of the scars, you can discuss some alternative Brachioplasty methods that may apply to you. For example; BodyTite or Invisible Arm Lift Surgery and Crescent armlift.

How long for the arm lift incision to heal?

  • An arm lift incision takes anywhere between 1 and 2 weeks to heal.
  • During this period, your body will need a lot of energy to heal, so make sure to have plenty of rest.
  • Any post-op complications, such as ruptured sutures and infections, can prolong the healing period, so make sure to take good post-op care of your wound.

How long to recover from a mini arm lift?

  • Most patients go through the initial recovery stage after a mini Upper Arm Reduction in as little as two weeks.
  • After this time, you can slowly resume your daily activities.

How to reduce swelling after an arm lift?

  • Wearing a compression garment and avoiding movement are the best ways to reduce swelling after an arm lift.
  • The compression garment applies pressure to the operated area, prevents new fluid build-up, and makes the body reabsorb the accumulated fluids more quickly. 
  • You should understand that swelling means recovery, as your body works really hard to repair the incision.

How to stand up straight after an arm lift?

  • You should try to rest for the first few days after the arm lift procedure.
  • If you must get up (to use the restroom, i.e.), you can roll onto your side, straighten your torso to sit and then stand straight up from that position.
  • Do not use arm to help you get up: they need to rest now.
  • If needed, you can have somebody help you get up by providing support for your torso, never your arms.

How long off work for an arm lift?

  • You should stay away from work for at least one to two weeks after an arm lift surgical procedure.
  • If your job is physically strenuous or involves a lot of heavy lifting, you should wait for at least six weeks before returning to work.

When do you start driving after an arm lift?

  • You will not be able to drive yourself back home after an arm lift.
  • You should not be driving for as long as you are on pain medication and even longer, as you will need to wait for a full range of motion in your arms to restore before attempting to drive.

How long after Brachioplasty can I exercise?

  • You will be able to resume gentle walks around the neighbourhood approximately two weeks after Brachioplasty.
  • More strenuous physical activity will have to wait for at least 3 to 4 weeks.
  • You can lift moderate weight some six weeks after the procedure.
  • At the same time, heavy lifting, bodybuilding and CrossFit-like activities will have to wait for several months after the surgery or as otherwise indicated by your specialised plastic surgeon.

How to reduce scar tissue after an arm lift?

  • Arm lift surgery leaves a visible scar.
  • Some armlift methods may leave a smaller scar, such as the Crescent Arm Lift.
  • You can reduce scar tissue by improving your recovery, having plenty of rest, making sure that the scar is well moisturised at all times and avoiding unnecessary movement.
  • After the scar’s healing is finished, you may consider scar revision procedures, such as; Healite II, Fraxer Laser or DermaPen, which can significantly reduce the arm lift scar visibility.

Is getting an arm lift worth it?

  • Yes, getting an arm lift is worth it.
  • Most patients confirm that Upper Arm Reduction surgical procedure has helped them regain their confidence and positive self-image, regardless of the scar.

Risks and Complications Arm Lift FAQs

What can cause necrosis after an arm lift?

  • Necrosis after an arm lift can be as a result of smoking, excessive wound tension and/or excessive hot/cold therapy.
  • Always follow your specialised plastic surgeon’s advice and avoid doing anything risky.

Does the fat come back after an arm lift?

  • Yes, fat can come back after an arm lift surgery.
  • Although some of the fat tissue is removed from your upper arms during the Brachioplasty procedure, research shows that new fat cells may form throughout life.
  • Also, if you eat a calorie-dense diet, the existing fat cells will increase in size.

What happens if you gain weight after an arm lift?

  • Some fat will be deposited in your upper arm region if you gain weight after an arm lift.
  • However, since some fat cells are removed in the Brachioplasty, there will be less fat deposited into your upper arms than usual.

Is arm lift safe?

  • Every surgical procedure carries some risks.
  • Brachioplasty is a relatively safe procedure done by a specialised plastic surgeon in sanitary and hospital-like conditions.
  • To make sure your procedure is safe, your surgeon will make sure that the support team is up to the task and that you fully understand the procedure and risks involved.

Funding Questions About Arm Surgery – Armlift FAQs

How much is flabby arm surgery?

  • Visit the surgery pricing page and download the price guide for more information
  • You may be able to find the procedure at a lower price, but beware.
  • These surgeries may be done;
    • By a surgeon that is not a specialised plastic surgeon,
    • In conditions that are not suited for major surgery
    • Or, may not include all the essential parts of the surgery and the recovery.

Can you finance an arm lift surgery?

Does Medicare cover arm Lift surgery?

  • If your Armlift surgery is being done for a medical reason to improve the quality of your life after massive weight loss, you may be eligible for coverage by Medicare and Private health insurance. Visit the Medicare Item number page for Item number 30171
  • Medicare will typically NOT cover the costs of an arm lift if the reasons for the surgery are purely cosmetic.

Does insurance pay for Brachioplasty?

  • If you meet the strict medical criteria for Medicare item number 30171 and have a medical referral then your private health insurer may contribute. You will need to have served the waiting period after joining and also have the right level of cover – Call your fund!. – If you can’t get the item number, your insurance won’t help.

How do people afford plastic surgery?

  • In the unfortunate case that a Brachioplasty price is too high for you, you may consider financing options. You can find out more about financing options in Australia by reading the Financing and Payment plan page.

Further Reading about Arm Lift Surgery

Last updated: 28/04/2022
Author profile image
Dr Patrick Briggs - FRCS, FRCSI (Plast. Surg)
Dr Patrick Briggs is an experienced Specialist Plastic Surgeon Now based in Melbourne, Australia. He is an expert in Breast, Body and Face Surgery with a special interest in Gender Assignment Surgery. Dr Briggs has been published widely in surgical literature; he is trained and experienced in all aspects of Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. Dr Briggs’ extensive experience across multiple surgical fields has allowed him to refine his skills to produce optimum results for his patients. Combined with his experience, Dr Briggs continually attends conferences and seminars to extend his knowledge and training surrounding the latest and best surgical techniques and equipment. By doing so he is able to provide his patients with the highest level of care and skill ensuring quality results.

Coco Ruby’s Specialist Plastic and ENT Surgeons

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic Surgeons are dedicated to best practice patient care and education, customising Breast Enlargement Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

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What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday.

Phone 1300 264 811, Email us: enquiries@cocoruby.com.au or Book a FREE 15-minute Phone Chat with our Patient Liaison Manager or a Virtual Consultation with a Surgeon.


Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.