Silhouette cosmetic surgery
Arm lift / Brachioplasty

The arm lift (brachioplasty or arm dermolipectomy) procedure removes excess skin located on the inner arm. This excess, often unsightly, may make it difficult when wearing clothing.

Several types of arm lift treatments are available, Dr. Laveaux will propose the most suitable method for you :

  • the vertical scar lift is used in cases of severe excess skin. It causes a scar all along the inside of the arm, even beyond the elbow in some cases. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The hospitalisation lasts 10 to 24 hours. The duration of the operation ranges from 1 and a half to 2 hours.
  • the horizontal scar lift is designed to correct moderate skin excess. The improvement is more moderate, but the scar is discreetly hidden in a fold of the armpit. The operation takes place on an outpatient basis under assisted local anesthesia (diazepine-induced analgesia). The procedure lasts about 1 hour.
  • the T scar lift is a compromise between the two previous techniques, by correcting the excess skin of the upper arm leaving a horizontal and vertical scar of only a few centimetres.


cicatrice longue lifting de brascicatrice courte lifting de brascicatrice en T lifting de bras

Principle of the arm lift

Depending on the case, the arm lift is performed either under assisted local anesthesia as an outpatient or during hospitalisation for 24 hours under general anesthesia. The duration of the procedure varies between 1 and half and 2 and half hours. 

In all cases, liposuction is almost always performed to remove excess fat from the entire circumference of the arm. 

No drain is inserted.

Postoperative effects

Pain is variable, generally mild and mainly due to liposuction.  The dressings are semi-permeable, therefore showers are allowed.

Complete healing is achieved within 2 to 3 weeks. Special dressings will need to be applied to the scars, even after healing, for 2-3 months to improve their appearance.

compression garment is not recommended to avoid swelling of forearms and hands.

The patient may return to work between 1 to 3 weeks after surgery depending on the job.

Resuming sporting activities varies between 4 weeks and 6 weeks.


The final result is achieved after 6 to 12 months, especially because of the time needed for the scars to heal.

Finally, the scars are long but thin, white and well located so they can be almost unsuspected after one year.

Risk of complications

As with any surgery, a number of complications can occur. But the likelihood of these complications is reduced in the hands of a qualified plastic surgeon and in the presence of a competent anesthetist. The patient’s compliance to instructions given by the surgeon is also essential and include:

  • stopping smoking 1 month before and after the procedure (reduction of all risks) ;
  • stopping the pill two months before and after the procedure (reducing the risk of phlebitis and pulmonary embolism) ;
  • not taking aspirin for 10 days before and after the procedure (reduced risk of hematoma) ;
  • where applicable, achieving the target weight your surgeon has determined before surgery, (reduced risk of phlebitis and pulmonary embolism and the risk of a poor cosmetic outcome).

Fortunately, postoperative effects are generally manageable following an arm lift that has been carried out properly, so serious complications are rare.

In spite of the fact that complications are so rare you must be aware of the following problems :

Haematomas are extremely rare but can occur. They can be evacuated.

Infection : this is extremely rare when the procedure is carried out in sterile environment.

Numbness of the skin may be observed. It is usually transient and most patients recover normal nipple feeling after 6 to 18 months.

In case of a complications, your surgeon will treat them successfully if necessary.

In practice, the vast majority of cases take place without any problem and the patients are satisfied with the result.

Health insurance coverage

As this procedure is considered purely for aesthetic purposes, no coverage is provided by health insurance.

In some cases (excess skinafter significant weight loss) a partial reimbursement of the cost of the procedure may be considered upon prior agreement.

In case of prior agreement, you will be responsible for the additional surgeon and the anesthesiologist fees which will be redeemable in whole or in part by your health insurance.


Specialist in aesthetic surgery - Antibes
Updated: 09-11-2015

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