Arm Lift

There are many body sculpting exercises that can be performed to tone the arms. But while the muscles respond to exercise, the skin does not. When the skin becomes stretched out on the upper arms, it can result in a flabby appearance and make patients look less fit than they actually are. At Jefferson Plastic Surgery in Philadelphia, our surgeons perform arm lift surgery to tighten the skin on the arms and excise the excess of skin.

Arm Lift Candidates

Suitable candidates for arm lift surgery have loose skin on the underside of the upper arms to the elbow. Many arm lift patients have experienced significant weight loss; these patients should be at their goal weight when undergoing arm lift surgery. Skin accumulation on the arms could also result from the aging process, or the skin may be prone to lost elasticity due to genetics.

In addition to having flabby skin on the upper arms, arm lift patients should be in good health and not smoke.

Arm Lift Techniques

Arm lift surgery techniques are designed to reshape the arms by removing excess skin and re-draping the skin over the arms to produce a smooth and toned appearance. 

  • Liposuction: In some cases, liposuction alone can improve the appearance of the arms. Liposuction of the arms may be recommended for patients with good skin elasticity and a mild to moderate amount of fatty tissue in the upper arms. After the fat is suctioned out, the skin on the arms should conform to the new shape.
  • Limited Incision: In the limited incision approach, the incision is made in the armpit. Since the incision does not extend down the arm, this technique can only be performed in cases of mild to moderate excess skin. The advantage of this approach is that it results in minimal scarring.
  • Traditional: The traditional arm lift involves an incision that starts in the armpit, and runs downs the length of the arm to the elbow. The incision is made on the underside of the arm to make it less conspicuous. This approach enables our surgeons to address skin laxity on the entire upper arm; it produces excellent results for patients with higher degrees of skin looseness.

Arm Lift Procedure

Arm lift surgery takes about two hours to perform, during which the following steps are followed:

  1. The incision locations are marked in the armpits, and the underside of the arms
  2. The patient is put under general anesthesia
  3. The treatment area is sterilized with an anti-bacterial solution
  4. The incisions are made in the armpit and arm
  5. The skin is separated from the underlying muscle and tissue
  6. The underlying tissue is tightened and sutured
  7. The skin is pulled taut and excess skin is removed
  8. The incisions are closed
  9. The treatment area is cleaned
  10. Medical tape and bandages are applied
  11. The surgical process is repeated on the other arm

Arm Lift Recovery

The first few days after arm lift surgery, keep the head elevated, rest and relax, and apply ice to the treatment area for 20-minute increments every two or three hours.

To improve the final aesthetic, wear a compression garment or bandages as much as possible for the first four weeks after surgery.

Avoid any activity that could rupture the stitches or healing incision in the weeks after surgery. Keep in mind that any activity that raises your blood pressure can increase inflammation and swelling.

Arm Lift Side Effects

Arm lift surgery does result in some side effects:

  • Discomfort
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Itching, tingling, numbness, or irritation at the incision site

Arm Lift Risks

Like any surgery, arm lift may result in complications. These include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Hematoma
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Seroma
  • Poor healing of the incisions
  • Asymmetry of the arms

Arm Lift Results

The skin tightening results of surgery are noticeable when the bandages come off, but the best results are seen at one to three months after surgery.

Philadelphia Arm Lift Consultations

Contact our Philadelphia practice today to schedule an arm lift consultation at Jefferson Plastic Surgery.

Questions? Email us today.

To make or reschedule an appointment please complete the form below or call:  (215) 625-6630.

CALL US TODAY: (215)625-6630


Jefferson Plastic Surgery is located on the corner of 9th and Walnut streets in Center City, Philadelphia on the 15th floor of the Wills Eye Hospital Building.

Jefferson Plastic Surgery
840 Walnut Street - 15th Floor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Phone: (215) 625-6630
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Online Consultation

Out of town patients can take our simple 4 step online consultation. To make or reschedule an appointment please call:  (215) 625-6630.

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