Inner arm lift surgery (brachioplasty)

The skin’s elasticity varies considerably on different parts of the body. This means that the conditions for liposuction also vary considerably depending on what part of the body is involved. For example, the skin on your calves and chin has good contracting properties, while the inside of your arms contracts not so well following liposuction. Therefore, it is also common for surgery to be needed on your arm.
Some younger women are able to undergo liposuction on a strong upper arm without any need for surgical skin stretching. However, most patients seeking advice on this problem also have sagging, surplus skin. To achieve an improvement, an incision needs to be made to the inside of the arm and the surplus skin removed. This procedure is usually called inner arm lift surgery or brachioplasty.



About the operation

As with all our treatments, a pre-treatment consultation visit is important as it gives you the opportunity to find out information about the procedure and what the scar will look like. To stretch surplus skin on the arm optimally, an incision needs to be made to the inside of the upper arm. The scar usually runs from the armpit to just above the elbow. The length of the scar depends on how much skin has to be removed.

Depending on the extent of liposuction and skin removal, the procedure is performed either under local anaesthetic and sleep inducement drugs or under a full general anaesthetic. After the operation, the incision is sewn up and you will receive aftercare at the clinic. You will usually need an elastic support bandage from your hand up to your armpit. If only your upper arm is bandaged, your lower arm and hand will become more swollen.

After the operation
For the first few days after the operation, you should avoid allowing your arms to hang down by your side, as this can cause swelling and a pricking sensation. Instead, it is recommended that you keep your arms raised as much as possible, e.g. lying in a couple of cushions in bed.

All the same, some patients can experience swelling in their lower arm and hand, although this usually disappears a couple of days after the operation. After the operation, it’s important to exercise the muscles in your lower arms by stretching and bending your fingers to reduce any swelling.

Most patients can return to sedentary work after about a week and have their stitches removed after around 14 days. We therefore recommend that you wear support tape and, if necessary, an elastic support bandage for up to 3-4 weeks after the operation. You can return to light physical exercise after around three weeks.

The main risk of brachioplasty is that the scar is more conspicuous than expected. That’s why looking after the scar after the operation is extremely important for a good result. The scar should not be exposed to sunlight and must be protected with surgical tape, preferably up to six months after the operation. There will always be a scar on the inner arm, although it usually fades with time to a fairly discreet, thin white line.