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The arm lift: how it works, how much it costs, and how long it takes to recover

There are many reasons why someone might feel uncomfortable with their upper arms. After weight loss, skin and fat around the area can appear to droop or sag. In other cases, it can happen naturally through the process of ageing, which some individuals can be more or less genetically predisposed to.

Mrs Carla M Babicki  |  RGN

Last Updated On: March 13, 2023 | Published On: December 30, 2022


Medically reviewed by Mr Shivram Singh MBBS, FRCSI, FRCS (Plast), Medical Director & Lead,
Medical Advisory Committee for Manchester Private Hospital
Last Reviewed December 30th 2022

What is an arm lift?

A brachioplasty can be one or more procedures, to define and improve the contour or shape of the upper arm. A combination of liposuction and excision can be used to achieve the desired result. Surgeons typically combine these methods to achieve a look which improves self-confidence and boosts self-esteem.

An arm lift may address one or more of the following:

– Lack in self confidence and self esteem
– Appearance of so-called bingo wings
– Presence of cellulite
– Excess skin caused by genetics or ageing
– Disproportion of upper arms to rest of body
– Feeling the need to always cover your upper arms
– Lack of muscle tone in the upper arms
– Presence of sagging on the undersides of your arms.

What happens during brachioplasty surgery?

Because of the vast types of approaches to brachioplasty, they can vary in duration of surgery. Typically you can expect an arm lift to take between 90 minutes and two hours.

Incisions are made along the inside of the arms and the excess skin is carefully removed from beneath, before the skin is stitched into its new shape. If required, liposuction can also be used to remove excess fat and create a more contoured shape to the arms.

Are there any risks?

When it comes to having any surgical procedure there is always a risk involved. If you’re considering arm lift surgery your surgeon will explain the potential complications before you decide to go ahead.

Risks associated with arm lift surgery are relatively low, though with any surgical procedure, complications can arise. Asymmetry is one of them, in which there are slight differences in the appearance of each arm after surgery. Seroma, or a collection of fluid, can also occur in the arm. It can be drained away with a needle.
Other risks include:

Wound breakdown
This is small wound separation which can easily be treated.

Dog ears
This is when there is raised skin at the ends of the scar, this too can be easily rectified.

Nerve damage and arm and shoulder stiffness can also occur, though this is rare. There are also general risks associated with undergoing anaesthetic, such as blood clotting, chest infections, bruising and swelling.

What is the recovery process like?

Aftercare following an arm lift varies from patient to patient. You will receive a detailed plan to ensure you recover in a safe and healthy manner.

Your aftercare plan will most likely consist of:

Wearing a compression garment around the wound when showering for around two months.
Getting plenty of rest.
Avoiding direct sunlight.
Taking at least a week off work, depending on the type of work you do.
Avoiding sports and exercise for 10-14 days. Keep strenuous activities to a minimum until after 6 weeks.
Avoid driving for five days.


You’ll feel the results of your arm lift surgery immediately. The surgery site will be covered with tight bandages and should remain in place for up to 2 months.
You will continue to see the results for up to nine months post surgery as your arms settle and side effects subside.

What about scarring?

There will be some visible scarring following surgery, but this will be minimised by keeping the incision lines within natural contours on the underside of the arms. Over time, any scars will fade.

Choosing an arm lift at Manchester Private Hospital

Consultations at Manchester Private Hospital are thorough and professional. We’ll undertake a full medical assessment based on your age, body type and medical history. We’ll take into consideration your desired goals, and give an honest and upfront opinion on whether the procedure is best for you, or if an alternative surgery might provide the desired results. Crucially, Manchester Private Hospital is a pressure-free environment, meaning you’ll be informed and in control at every stage.

The team at Manchester Private Hospital will make sure your experience is comfortable and safe. For many years, we have been performing arm lift surgery with liposuction to eliminate the presence of ‘bingo wings’ that cause distress and low self esteem. Our surgeons have decades of combined experience in cosmetic surgery, and our patient-centred approach means procedures are designed around you and your goals. Our facility is designed for a comfortable recovery, and our team is focussed on allowing you to recover fully in the comfort of your own home.

How much will an arm lift cost?

Because an arm lift is so specifically tailored to the patient’s desired outcomes, the cost can vary. We will carefully talk you through the possible approaches to having an arm lift, and their associated costs, during your consultation.

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Arm Lift Brachioplasty Before And After Gallery

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