Body Surgery

Arm Lift / Brachioplasty

at Cadogan Clinic, London’s Leading Cosmetic Surgery Specialists. 

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What Is An Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)?

An Arm Lift, or brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure to remove loose skin and excess fat deposits on the upper arm in order to create a more sculpted, aesthetically pleasing arm.

Excess fat or skin distribution in the arm can be:

  • Natural, and a function of genetics
  • Caused by weight gain (excess fat deposits)
  • Caused by weight loss (excess skin)
  • Caused by ageing as the upper arm skin becomes loose and flabby

An Arm Lift procedure, or brachioplasty, aims to tackle these conditions via liposuction and skin excision to leave a tight and smooth skin appearance.

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Arm Lift
At a glance

Surgery Time

2 hours

Time off work

1 - 2 weeks

Hospital Stay

Day Case

Shower

After 1 week

Reasonable Mobility

After 1 day

Exercise

After 6 weeks

Bras & Garments

2 weeks

Sexual Activity

After 4-6 weeks

Sleeping on back

Elevated on back for 1-2 weeks

Full Recovery

6 - 8 weeks

Driving

2 weeks


Before and After
Arm Lift

Why do people have it?

The benefits of an arm lift are both cosmetic and psychological, and include:

  • Firmer, leaner, more slender arms
  • Tightened arm skin and elasticity
  • Restored, redefined figure
  • Sculpted, shapely arms
  • Ability to wear tighter cut clothes/swimwear
  • Improved sense of emotional wellbeing

Who is suitable?

Cadogan Clinic considers individuals fit for the procedure, if all of the following are true of them:

  • You are in good psychological and physical medical health
  • You are at your ideal body weight
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic expectations of what can be achieved via surgery
  • You are seeking to remove excess fat deposits and cellulite in your arms
  • You are seeking to remove excess skin (or ‘bingo wings’) in your arms
  • You are seeking to improve the shape and contours of your arms
  • You are looking for long lasting results 

Words from our clients:


The Cost of an Arm Lift

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Included in this treatment

Up to two 60 minute consultations with a leading specialist plastic surgeon at our award-winning premises in Chelsea

Your procedure carried out at London’s leading specialist cosmetic surgery centre of excellence

24/7 on call nurse assistance 

Dedicated Patient Co-ordinator, as a personal point of contact through your journey with Cadogan 

A pre-operative medical assessment to ensure you are fit for surgery 

Comprehensive post-operative aftercare courtesy of our specialist cosmetic nurses


How Does An Arm Lift Procedure Work?

A brachioplasty employs two key surgical techniques to achieve the desired results; liposuction and skin excision.

Liposuction targets excess fat deposits in the upper arm, and adjacent areas. Small, unobtrusive incisions are made in the armpit and on the back of the elbow. Your surgeon will then carefully remove the fat from around the arm.

Adjacent areas of fat deposits that can be treated at the same time include:

  • the shoulder
  • armpit
  • back
  • breast
  • forearms
  • back of the elbow

Skin Excision targets the loose skin that hangs down underneath the arm, commonly known as 'Bingo Wings'. This may be occurring in the patient as an existing condition, or caused by the removal of excess fat deposits following liposuction. The skin is removed in a long ellipse shape from the back of the elbow, along the line between the inside and back of the arm, curving into the armpit. It is important to consider the position of the scar to ensure it is as subtle as possible.

These two surgical procedures are often combined since liposuction procedure will often result in excess loose skin that requires excision. Liposuction only is most common in younger patients whose skin is still relatively elastic, whilst skin excision only procedures are most common among skinnier patients who have experienced meaningful weight loss already.

What Are Some Of The Main Aesthetic Considerations For Your Surgeon?

Two key considerations are symmetry and scarring.

  • Surgical experience and careful planning are required to produce a symmetrical result. It is common to see patients who have had unequal amounts of skin and fat removed with unnaturally shaped arms, of unequal size. There are even occasions where patients have required to have skin put back, using skin grafts. This is a key consideration at the outset
  • A skilled surgeon can minimise arm lift scars and place them expertly in locations where they are not visible to the eye. Arm lift scars take some months to settle in, but your surgeon will try and confine the scarring to the armpit; this involves excising the skin from the armpit area, and then pulled up the arm skin towards the armpit. Full concealment of arm lift scars may not work among all patients, particularly among patients with excessive surplus skin or fat deposits

Arm Lift Surgeons

We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.

What to Expect

Below you will find some key information to help you prepare for surgery and make necessary arrangements to ensure you have the support you need and that everything runs smoothly on the day.

The first step for all of our arm lift patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation. At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing anatomy.

Your surgeon will take you through the options available to you, and which is the most preferential for you given your stated ambitions. Having established this, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.

Some questions you may want to ask your surgeon include:

  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • Can I achieve the results I am asking for?
  • What will be expected of me to get the best results?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What scars will I be left with?
  • Will I be in pain after the surgery?
  • How soon after an arm lift can I return to work?

Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding what to expect in the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.

If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.

Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.

If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure. Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:

In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications (see FAQs)
In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission

On the day of your procedure we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.

Before surgery, the surgeon will measure up the arms to assess how much fat and/or skin needs to be removed. The arms are then photographed, with the skin markings, in various positions, front and back. The procedure can be carried out under local anaesthesia, but more usually under our form of general anaesthesia called T.I.V.A. (Total Intravenous Anaesthesia) and takes between one and two hours.

The arms are bandaged after surgery to reduce bruising and you will feel stiff and mildly uncomfortable as you bend your arms. Most of the sutures used are dissolving to avoid stitch marks, but there may be a few to remove, particularly in the armpit, a week after surgery. Bruising lasts about 3 weeks.

You should not feel much pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You'll be given painkillers if you need them.

Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between two to three hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.

Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.

We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.

We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 6 - 8 weeks for a final check up.

The Patient Journey. A breakdown of what you can expect on your journey with us

We are deeply invested in ensuring that every step of your surgical journey with us is as informative and reassuring to you as it can be. This article outlines what you can expect at each stage of the journey

The Patient Journey

Frequently Asked Questions

An arm lift is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the size of the arm and eliminate fat deposits in the arm, as well as remove a surplus of loose arm skin.

The choice of procedure depends on the exact condition (excess fat deposits, excess loose skin or both) but will involve either liposuction, skin excision or both.

The procedure is carried out as a day case procedure usually under General Anaesthesia and takes between 1 – 2 hours.

There is typically bruising for up to 3 weeks after which you can happily wear short sleeves, and an end result at about 3 months. Scars are insignificant and managed by our Scar Management programme.

You may be suitable for an arm lift if you have:

  • Excess fat deposits in your upper arms
  • Loose sagging skin in/around your upper arms
  • Inelastic, lax arm skin
  • 'Bingo wings'
  • Unshapely, untoned arm contours
  • Disproportionate arms relative to rest of figure

An arm lift focusses on the upper arm area, but adjacent areas of fat deposits and excess skin can also be treated at the same time

These include:

  • the shoulder
  • armpit
  • back
  • breast
  • forearms
  • back of the elbow

One of our highly trained, elite plastic surgeons will perform your arm lift.

All our liposuction specialists have been hand-picked by Mr Bryan Mayou, our founder, and the pioneer of liposuction in the UK.

There are three techniques that are used, with techniques relating to the size and scale of the operation at hand. Where possible more minimal techniques are preferred, as this reduces the length of surgery, the amount of scarring, and the amount of downtime and extent of recovery

  • Mini brachioplasty (minimal incision) - your surgeon will make a single incision in the shape of a crescent under the armpit. This may be extended in a 'T-Line' into the arm. This technique is most suitable for people with minimal excess skin and fat in the upper region of the arm and will result in less scarring than a standard brachioplasty. Your surgeon will hide the scar within the armpit
  • Standard brachioplasty (inner arm incision)- this technique involves making two separate incisions: one from the armpit to just above the elbow, between the biceps and triceps, and another on the back of the arm from the armpit to just above the elbow along the tricep region. It is most suitable for those with a moderate amount of excess skin and fat. Your surgeon will remove the excess skin and fat, then tighten and reshape the underlying tissues. The scar is well hidden when the arms are held at the side, and this technique is thought to achieve a more comprehensive result than the mini-brachioplasty
  • Extended Brachioplasty – the incision for an extensive brachioplasty runs from the elbow, through the armpit, and into the side of the chest. After your surgeon makes the incision, they will remove excess skin and fat, then tighten the underlying tissues. They will either remove the excess fat directly or use liposuction to remove it. As this technique results in maximal scarring that extends to the side of the chest, surgeons do not often use it.

Your consultation is designed to be the perfect opportunity to ask all the pressing questions that you have to your consultant, ahead of making a decision on surgery. It is vital that you are fully informed before making your final decision, and the consultation is, therefore, a key part of the education and decision-making process.

Some good examples of questions to ask include:

  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • Do you think my goals are realistic given my existing anatomy?
  • Will I require a single surgery or multiple surgeries?
  • Can I see some before & after pictures of arm lift procedures you have done previously?
  • How long will my recovery take?
  • Is it true that Cadogan offers 24/7 on-call nursing service?
  • What can I expect in terms of bruising, swelling and scarring?
  • What are my options if I am unhappy with my results?

No special preparation is required although it is generally advisable to do the following before any surgery:

  • Stop smoking. Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend that you stop smoking before surgery and during recovery.
  • Avoid certain medications. You'll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.
  • Arrange for help during recovery. Make plans for someone to drive you home after you leave the hospital and stay with you for at least the first night of your recovery at home.

Arm Lift surgery should take between one and two hours.

You should start to see results in the days following surgery. These will fully start to appear from around the six-week mark and improvements will be ongoing for the first 12 or so months.

Your results will be long lasting and permanent so long as you maintain your body weight following surgery.

The ageing process will however continue from your new post-procedure point, and skin laxity will gradually increase over time. The ageing process will start from a far better point, however, so it should be many years before this becomes noticeable again.

You will not feel any pain during arm reduction surgery as you will be under the influence of the anaesthetic.

Immediately following arm reduction surgery, you may experience discomfort but any pain should be tolerable.

Your surgeon can provide painkillers for this and the majority of patients will no longer need them a few days after arm reduction surgery.

Arm reduction surgery is straightforward, safe surgery although you should be aware of all the risks and complications before going ahead with arm reduction surgery.

Some are listed above in the body of this web page, but your surgeon at your will go through these at length and in full at your arm reduction consultation.

Downtime is fairly minimal following an arm lift and you should be back at work within a week or two, and resuming normal exercise in 4 – 6 weeks.

If you have undergone Liposuction, you will feel a little bruised and stiff for a few days but there is no restriction on movement. Any dressings can be removed in a couple of days or when they come loose, and stitches removed in a week.

If you have undergone skin excision you will have some dissolving sutures and probably some permanent sutures to be removed in 7 to 14 days. Dressings vary, but any bulky ones can come off in a couple of days. You should exercise to maintain full movement of the shoulder and arms, but this need not be violent to stress the sutures.

Yоu may соntіnuе tо experience ѕоmе mіld, реrіоdіс dіѕсоmfоrt and ѕwеllіng durіng thіѕ tіmе, but ѕuсh fееlіngѕ аrе nоrmаl. Sеvеrе pain, bleeding or swelling should bе reported tо your surgeon.

You will receive more detailed advice from your surgeon ahead of surgery.

A brachioplasty, or arm lift, is sometimes referred to as arm reduction surgery as this procedure involves a reduction in the size and volume of the upper arm following liposuction and the excision of excess skin.

Of all the terms for a brachioplasty, arm reduction surgery captures the sculpting and volume reducing essence of the operation best, and hence its use.

Yes, an arm lift will leave a permanent scar, but a skilled Cadogan Clinic surgeon will endeavour to conceal this as much as possible. Arm lift scars can take some months to settle in. Scars can take up to a year to flatten and lighten.

You can expect minor scars following arm lift surgery.

An arm lift, otherwise known as brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure to remove loose skin and excess fat deposits on the upper arm. This is done via liposuction and skin excision.

Our expert surgeon will try to make scars as subtle as possible by confining scarring to the armpit. They do this by taking skin from this area and then pulling up the arm skin towards the armpit. However, scars may remain visible for some patients, particularly among those with excessive surplus skin or fat deposits.

Arm lift scars are mainly confined to the armpit area. In some cases, these scars can be visible under the arms between the armpit and elbow if the patient, particularly if the patient has excessive surplus skin or fat deposits.

During the procedure, skin is removed in a long ellipse shape from the back of the elbow, along the line between the inside and back of the arm, curving into the armpit.

An arm lift surgery is highly likely to be worth it if you have clearly defined your aims with your surgeon and he or she has made you very clear on what can be achieved via surgery in relation to these aims.

Arm lift surgery is an excellent way of targeting excess fat deposits in the upper arm. Arm lift surgery typically results in firmer, leaner, more slender arms, tightened arm skin and elasticity, sculpted, shapely arms and a more defined figure.

Arm lift treatment helps to restore self-confidence and can deliver an improved sense of emotional wellbeing following surgery.


A state of the art, award winning clinic.

Founded in 2004 by world renowned plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, we now work with over 100 leading consultants and successfully treat over 20,000 patients each year. We have been winning industry awards since inception.

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Best in Class Facilities

All of our treatments take place at our beautiful boutique premises in Chelsea. We have six consulting rooms and five operating rooms, as well as a dedicated pre and post-operative suite, and a full team of specialist nursing staff.

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A Strong Tradition of Innovation

We were founded in 2004 by world renown plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, best known for his pioneering work in the area of liposuction, lasers and microvascular surgery. We continue to collaborate with pioneers in our field.

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At Home in Sloane Street, London

We are proud that our state of the art award-winning clinic is located in one of the best neighbourhoods in the country

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We offer surgical consultations in London, Chelmsford and Bristol, and attract international patients from all corners of the globe such as as the USA, the Middle East and Europe.

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What are the risks?

Arm Lift surgery is a safe procedure, but it is common after a brachioplasty to experience:

  • bruising and swelling
  • temporary numbness
  • a small amount of scarring

As with all surgical procedures, brachioplasty surgery carries some risk and it is possible that you might experience:

  • Nausea
  • Bleeding or Infection
  • Poor healing of incisions and scarring
  • Seroma
  • a collection of blood underneath the skin (haematoma)
  • death of fat tissue (fat necrosis) or embolism

Body Surgery

Related Treatments

Cadogan Clinic offers a wide range of cosmetic surgery procedures to help you make the changes you want to your body under the guidance of some of the very best surgeons in the UK.


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2021

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Highly Commended

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2021

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2020

My Face My Body

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2018

My Face My Body

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