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Arm Lift


One big challenge when getting older or losing weight is gaining excess skin. At SBA Dermatology, we offer upper arm lift surgery (or brachioplasty) as an option for patients who cannot manage to tighten and tone the arm through diet and exercise. Lax skin from the elbow to the shoulder is very typical, particularly for men and women who have lost weight or are advancing in age. An arm lift effectively excises this hanging skin, commonly referred to as "bat wings." Dr. Ryan Couvillion, a plastic surgeon in Houston, TX, is very experienced in fat removal and skin tightening techniques. If you want to hear more information about how brachioplasty can correct the shape of your upper arms, please call and schedule an appointment at SBA Dermatology.


"Dr Couvillion kept me talking through my procedure and kept me distracted and was wonderful. His staff is also wonderful. I truly recommend him for any procedure."

- T.L. / Healthgrades / Aug 07, 2019

284 Total Reviews



An upper arm lift is a cosmetic surgery that employs advanced methods to contour and excise excess skin. If you are self-conscious about your "bat wings" and would prefer them to appear trim and contoured again, you are a good candidate for this procedure. You need to be in overall good health so that your skin will recover properly. Some of the primary signs that a patient may benefit from an arm lift are loose, excess skin on their upper arms, plus minimal elasticity of the skin. It is important to note that you should be sure that you are at your ideal weight before surgery.


Most likely, your arm lift surgery will be performed as an outpatient procedure, except in cases where several cosmetic surgeries are being performed at one time. An upper arm lift may be combined with other surgeries, such as tummy tucks, mommy makeovers, and thigh lifts — as long as Dr. Couvillion considers it appropriate. An arm lift is typically done with the patient under general anesthesia and can require a few hours to finish. The unwanted skin will be excised, starting at the elbow all the way up to the armpit. The incision will be placed as inconspicuously as possible, although it will most likely leave a visible scar. In cases where liposuction is needed to eliminate stubborn fatty deposits, this can be completed also. After the skin is pulled taut, it will be stitched back into place. You will have to care for the incisions by keeping them clean, bandaged, and wrapped with compression garments.


A typical recovery timeframe is about two weeks with lots of rest. Allow your body time to heal. You use your arms for almost everything so most patients should ease their way back to their normal activities. A suture removal appointment will be set approximately ten days following surgery. Compression garments must be kept on until you receive permission from Dr. Couvillion. For at least a month (4 – 5 weeks), all exercise must be eliminated, except taking short walks. If you notice uncontrolled bleeding, excessive swelling, fluid buildup (hematoma), signs of infection, numbness in the hands or arms, or unusual scarring, please contact SBA Dermatology for assistance.


How much does arm lift surgery cost?

Your cost for arm lift surgery will be based on several things. Before he can estimate your costs, Dr. Couvillion will start with a consultation to understand your needs and goals. After that, he will develop your customized surgical plan and break down your expected costs. In order to make it easier to afford an experienced plastic surgeon, like Dr. Couvillion, and get the results you want, SBA Dermatology takes several payment methods. We will also give you information on low-interest medical financing.

Can I combine an arm lift with other surgeries?

It's normal for patients who want an arm lift to create a custom treatment plan with another surgery. This is often referred to as an upper body lift and can combine liposuction, a breast lift, or tummy tuck. Arm lift surgery is also frequently performed as a part of after weight loss surgery for those who have lost a significant amount of weight and need contouring throughout their body. In your initial consultation with Dr. Couvillion, each surgery will be talked about so your unique treatment plan can be developed.

Will there be scars?

Arm lift surgery requires incisions in order to remove excess skin, which leads to stitches and scarring. However, Dr. Couvillion will make every effort to ensure that your incisions are small and placed in inconspicuous areas. Following your arm lift, topical creams that help with healing will be suggested along with additional advice for minimizing scarring. Dr. Couvillion also recommends that you limit UV exposure for at least one year to protect the incisions from any additional discoloration. In general, patients consider the overall benefits of an arm lift are worth the minimal scars created.

What results can I expect from an arm lift?

An arm lift is performed to excise loose skin and fat. You should follow a healthy lifestyle that includes diet and exercise in order to avoid a dramatic weight loss or gain, which could compromise your surgical results. After your surgery, as soon as you are recovered and Dr. Couvillion has given permission, you should start strength training. This is a good way to improve the shape of your upper arms by strengthening the muscles.

Are there nonsurgical treatments to improve my arms?

Although there are many great noninvasive skin tightening treatments, they can only give you small improvements. To remove moderate to severe skin laxity, an arm lift is your best choice. In addition to removing loose skin, Dr. Couvillion also uses liposuction on small pockets of fat and smooths the tissue and remaining skin. If you're interested in learning about nonsurgical options, Dr. Couvillion can explain these in your consultation and then help you choose which fits your needs and goals.


No matter what you call your droopy skin or "bat wings" under the upper arms, Dr. Couvillion is confident that you can improve your life with cosmetic surgery. This exciting surgery provides physical and emotional benefits for individuals who may be struggling with the excess skin on their arms. If you're at your goal weight but still can't lose the skin and flab that hangs off your arms, please contact us to plan a consultation with plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Couvillion at SBA Dermatology in Houston, TX. You can look forward to appearing fitter and younger with brachioplasty.

 When it comes to treating your skin, it's important to choose a specialist who knows the skin inside and out. To meet with one of our board-certified dermatologists or other experienced practitioners, call our office at 713-850-0240.