Arm Lift: Cosmetic surgery of the upper arms

An arm lift is an plastic surgery procedure that aims to firm and tighten the skin of the arms. Generally, the intervention is related to age-related skin loosening (referred to as "skin ptosis") or to severe weight loss. An arm lift procedures aims to achieve the removal of excess skin, reduce the underlying fat tissues and redraw the whole upper arm. The size and location of the surgical-induced scar depends on the extent of skin distension and the type of surgical procedure chosen.

Principle of an arm lift

Why undergo an arm lift ?

An arm lift is a cosmetic surgery procedure which can be motivated by an esthetic embarrassment (crumpled skin) but also functional reasons (discomfort with mobility, difficulty to dress) .

An arm lift must be adapted to the patient's morphology. The amount of excess fat can not be the only criterion taken into account by the surgeon. During the consultation, he will examine the characteristics of the skin and its ability to retract to determine areas to be treated

Different types of an arm lift

As with any surgical procedure, arm plasty induces a scar. The location and length of the scar depends on several factors: the size of the arm, the skin distension and the type of intervention chosen:

  • In case of limited relaxation of the skin or excess fat located in the upper and inner part of the arm, the operative techniques allows attempt to limit the visibility of the scar by circumscribing it to the armpit area.
  • In case of greater relaxation, it may be necessary to lower the scar a few centimeters along the arm. The scar is then hidden by short-sleeved clothes.
  • If relaxation is present on the entire arm, a larger scarring ransom is needed to obtain a satisfactory and lasting result. Indeed, the scar may extend from the armpit to the elbow on the posterior and internal part of the arm.
  • In case of an excess of fat without skin relaxation, especially if it is located in the area below the biceps, it is not necessary to resort to a plasty of the arm. Lipoplasty or liposuction can achieve the desired result.

Recovery after an arm lift

The operative follow-up after a cosmetic surgery of the upper arms is usually simple. The patients essentially feel feelings of tightness and slenderness. Appropriate treatments (analgesics) can be prescribed to relieve this discomfort.


The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia (outpatient hospitalization) or general anesthesia in the case of larger interventions (day hospitalization).

An arm lift induces bruises that usually disappear in 8 to 21 days. The appearance of edema (swelling of the skin) is also normal. It disappears gradually until disappearing within 10 to 20 days.

Scars after arm lift

The scar usually appears pink during the first three months after surgery. It is then protect from the sun. It then fades gradually from the 3rd month for 6 to 12 months. The duration of healing depends on the tissue properties of each patient.

After three weeks, it is possible to resume normal activities of daily life. Sports practice can be resumed gradually from the 4th week following the intervention.

Results after an upper arm lift

The final result of the arm lift can be assessed within 6 to 12 months after the procedure. It remains stable over time depending on the quality of the skin.

Like any surgical procedure, an arm plasty presents the risks inherent to any surgical procedure.

Complications are infrequent. A risk of poor healing can occur in the case of poor quality skin. This risk is increased in smokers as smoking may cause delayed healing. Smoking cessation is strongly recommended at least one month before and one month after the procedure.

Smoking increases the risk of surgical complications of any surgery. Stopping smoking 6-8 weeks before the procedure eliminates this additional risk. If you smoke, talk to your doctor, surgeon, and anesthesiologist, or call Tobacco-Info-Service at 3989 to help reduce risk and put the odds on your side.

🇬🇧About the translation: Parts of the English version of this website were translated using computer generated translation. If you notice a significant error or if you have any doubt regarding the medical information provided, please send us a message.

armsplastic surgery
Dr Cédric Kron - Plastic surgeon in Paris

Former resident, Gold Medal of Surgery and Head of Clinic of Paris Hospitals (APHP), Dr. C. Kron is qualified in Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery. He practices as a plastic surgeon in Paris, with a comprehensive and tailor-made approach of aesthetic treatments.