Arm Lift

An arm lift may be the ideal answer for people who suffer from flabby upper arms, commonly called "bat wings." Even with dedicated exercise and a healthy diet, upper arm flab can be difficult to deal with. The extra skin and tissue can be removed in an arm lift procedure, allowing for a much improved upper arm appearance.

Who is a Good Candidate for Arm Lift Surgery?

Arm lift surgery is often an excellent option for people who have excess skin and fat hanging from their arms due to the aging process or due to major weight loss. People who are unhappy with the appearance of their arms, often going to lengths to conceal them, may be ideal candidates. The best candidates for arm lift surgery are people who are in good health and who have maintained a stable weight for some time.

The Benefits of Arm Lift Surgery

Arm lift surgery can reduce the overall size of the upper arms. This procedure can provide a reshaping of the skin and can greatly improve total arm contour. An arm lift can allow the arms to look more proportionate to the upper body as a whole. Many arm lift patients finally feel confident wearing short sleeves or sleeveless clothes for the first time in their lives.

Arm Lift Techniques

A pen is used to designate the target incision areas. The length of the arm lift incision will vary based on how much skin needs to be removed. The mini arm lift technique is appropriate for patients who have only mild to moderate excess arm skin, so the incision may be limited to the armpit area. The longer incision used in the full upper arm lift technique can correct serious sagging and can remove even large amounts of extra skin. The full upper arm lift incision begins in the armpit and moves down the arm to the elbow.

Preparing for Arm Lift

Patients will be given instructions at least a couple of weeks before their scheduled arm lift procedure. Pre-surgery blood tests may be needed, and patients may need to stop taking certain medications (including non-prescription ones) ahead of the surgery. If patients will be undergoing general anesthesia, they will need to restrict food and liquid intake the night before the surgery.

The Procedure

Arm lift surgery is usually done under either general or local anesthesia. The procedure typically takes between 1 and 3 hours to complete. While the technique can vary based on whether a mini or full arm lift is needed, once the incisions are made the process is the same. Extra fat is removed via liposuction, and then extra skin is surgically excised. The skin is repositioned and sutured, and the arms are then wrapped in supportive bandages. Patients can typically go home the day of the surgery.


After an arm lift, patients can expect to experience some bruising and swelling. Pain can be managed with prescription medicine, which can then be replaced by non-prescription pain relievers. Most patients feel much better after 1 to 2 weeks and are able to return to non-strenuous work. Heavy lifting and other strenuous exercise should be delayed until about 6 weeks post-surgery.

Results: What to Expect After an Arm Lift

Realistic expectations for the arm lift surgery are important. An arm lift is primarily designed to eliminate extra skin. While it will make a dramatic difference in the appearance of the arms, the people who enjoy the best long term results are those who are committed to toning and strengthening the arms through weight training once they're fully healed. If a patient's main concern is heavy arms overall but they have good skin tone, liposuction alone may be sufficient.

Ready to Get Slimmer Arms?

Tired of bat wings and looking for a good solution? Arm lift may be the answer. Contact the Rau Plastic Surgery offices anytime to arrange an arm lift surgery consultation with Dr. Jeffrey Rau.