• Overview

Or call us on

0300 123 6200

Arm reduction and lift (Brachioplasty) is a form of body contouring (shaping). It is normally performed on patients with large amounts of loose or sagging skin on the upper arms.

Liposuction may also be performed during this procedure. An arm lift is not a substitute for weight loss. The best candidates for brachioplasty are those who are within several pounds of their ideal weight. Ideal candidates also have enough loose skin and elasticity to allow a good outcome.

What happens during an arm reduction and arm lift operation?

An upper arm reduction or an arm lift is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes 90-120 minutes. Your surgeon will make a long incision between your elbow and armpit. Depending on your condition and situation the incision could be minimal. Be sure and discuss your incision with your surgeon. Segments of skin and fat will be removed and the remaining skin and tissue will be lifted resulting in a tight, smooth look.

Dressings will be applied and small tubes (drains) may be put in to drain any fluid or blood from the wound. Elastic bandages will be applied to support the area. You will be given medication for pain relief.

Upper arm reduction and lift usually takes approximately two hours depending on the amount of reduction required and whether other procedures like liposuction are performed.

Going home after arm reduction and lift

You may need to stay in hospital one to two days. Recovery from this procedure can take one to two weeks. You should expect to feel pain and discomfort during the first week of recovery which can be managed with pain relief medication. Your consultant will recommend appropriate medication. Depending on the nature of your job, you should be able to return to work after 2 weeks.

You will need to wear a tight fitting body garment for the first few weeks to support the area. You should not engage in any strenuous activities until your surgeon releases you to do so. Your scars will be permanent but will eventually fade. You should allow 9 - 12 months for your scars to flatten and lighten in colour.

Body contouring procedures are major surgery. You should be prepared for the recovery process.

It’s important to maintain an active lifestyle and eat healthily once you’ve fully healed from your surgery. It’s natural to lose some firmness as you age, however, the results of an arm lift are meant to be permanent. If your weight fluctuates, the results of your arm lift may fade.

Preparing for your surgery

  • Smoking should be stopped several weeks before your operation
  • Maintaining a healthy weight can help patients avoid further complications
  • Regular exercise can also help (but make sure you consult your GP first)
  • There should be no shaving or waxing of the area to be cut in the week leading up to the operation
  • Having a bath or shower on the day of the operation is a good idea.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Generally, patients come to us for arm reduction surgery when lifestyle changes have failed to succeed. Examples include:

  • eating healthily
  • exercise
  • wearing long-sleeved tops.

If you've not tried these things, we recommend discussing these options first with your GP.

What are the complications of arm reduction and lift surgery (Brachioplasty)?

Every surgical procedure has a risk of complications. Be sure and discuss any concerns you might have about these risks with your surgeon.

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in a surgical wound
  • Blood clots
  • Unsightly scarring.

Specific complications of arm reduction and lift

  • Persistent or severe pain
  • Bruising and swelling
  • Numbness of the skin
  • Asymmetry of the upper arms.

Our surgeons

Choosing the right consultant is an important part of the process; Find out more about Nuffield Health’s registered cosmetic surgeons.

Making the right decision

So that you know exactly what to expect from the results of this surgery, we encourage you to share your expectations with your consultant as early as possible. This should help you to establish a clear indication of what is realistically achievable with this procedure.

We will never pressure you to make a decision. To give yourself time to decide what’s right for you, we recommend you leave at least 2 weeks between your consultation and booking your surgery.


We strive to make sure that you’re completely satisfied with the treatment and care you receive. If you do have any complaints post-surgery, you can send them to us via our clinical complaints form.

Ways to pay

Paying for yourself

There are no hidden costs in our treatment prices. The price you see is the price you pay.

Find out more

Personal medical loan

Spread the cost of your treatment with a 6, 10 or 12 month 0% personal medical loan.

Find out more

Medical insurance

We work with you and your insurance provider to get you the treatment you need quickly

Find out more