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Arm Lift


One big challenge when getting older or losing weight is loosening skin. At SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery, 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. If you want more information about how Dr. Ryan Couvillion performs a Brachioplasty, please call and schedule an appointment at SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery.


An upper arm lift is a cosmetic surgery that employs advanced methods to contour and remove excess skin. If you are self-conscious about your upper arms 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. It is important to note that you should be sure that you are at your ideal weight before surgery, as additional weight loss after surgery may lead to more extra skin.

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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 at the same time. 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 seven days following surgery. Compression garments must be worn until you receive permission from Dr. Couvillion to stop. For at least a month (4 – 5 weeks), all exercise must be eliminated, except taking short walks.


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. At SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery, we take 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 that includes another surgery. This is often referred to as an upper-body lift and can combine liposuction, a breast lift, or a 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. Unfortunately there is not a great place to hide arm lift scars and in some shirts the scars will be visible. Dr. Couvillion will make every effort to ensure that your incisions are as inconspicuous as possible.   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, most patients that undergo an arm lift  consider the overall benefits of the surgery worth the 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 extra skin, 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, surgery may be the best option for a youthful, slim contour.  If you're at your goal weight but still can't lose the skin that hangs off your arms, please contact us to plan a consultation with plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Couvillion at SBA Dermatology & Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX.

When it comes to aesthetic plastic surgery, it's important to choose a dedicated surgeon who is committed to your desired surgical goals. To meet with our double board-certified plastic surgeon, Ryan Couvillion, MD and his team, call our office at 713-850-0240.