Arm Lift in Pittsburgh, PA

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One of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures after a major weight loss is brachioplasty, sometimes referred to as an arm reduction or arm reshaping. This is a procedure that removes excess skin from under the arms and reshapes a portion of the upper arm — from the armpit region to the elbow — to restore a more youthful, sculpted appearance. The surgical techniques utilized by Pittsburgh plastic surgeon, Dr. James Fernau, allow the arm lift procedure to be performed with or without liposuction. The end result is a well-defined, trim and toned upper arm that defines a natural shape (or figure). Body contouring procedures, such as brachioplasty, are popular and allow patients to complete their weight loss transformation.

Surgical Technique

The goal of an arm lift is to result in a toned upper arm appearance. The length of the incision varies depending on how much skin and fat are to be removed. Patients who have a fairly good skin tone may only require a minor incision. However, patients who have excessively loose, hanging skin will require an incision that may run from the armpit to the elbow. At this time, the excess skin is trimmed and the underlying muscles are tightened. In some patients, the armpit will also need to be addressed and surgically tightened.

Alternative to Full Surgery

Smartlipo Triplex, a groundbreaking technology, can deliver the results most arm lift patients are looking for. This minimally invasive procedure is scarless, unlike surgical brachioplasty.


SmartLipo Triplex used for female arm lift (brachioplasty) Before & After Image

During/After Surgery

Patients undergoing brachioplasty are put under general anesthesia. It is an outpatient procedure that takes an average of 2 hours to complete. If the procedure is a part of an after weight loss surgery, which usually involves more than one body part, an overnight stay may be required. After surgery, the arm is protected with a compression garment and drain tubes may be present to avoid the risk of infection. Swelling and bruising are normal. Patients should keep the arm elevated to promote blood circulation and help with swelling. With proper care, the arm will return to normal function after several weeks.

Expected Cost

This procedure, performed alone, will cost around $8,000 to $14,900. It is also common to combine brachioplasty with another cosmetic surgery procedure. In this case, the costs will increase.

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Average Cost  
$8,000 - $14,900
Recovery Time  
2-4 Weeks
Average Procedure Time  
2 Hours
Post-op Follow-up  
2 Weeks
Procedure Recovery Location  
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Arm Lift FAQs

Arm Lift or Lipo?

This depends on the amount of loose skin that is present. Patients who lose a significant amount of weight generally need the skin removed in order to attain a positive result. In fact, many times, arm lift patients do not even need liposuction because there’s no excess fat to be removed. On the other hand, patients who have relatively good skin elasticity may only need liposuction or minor tightening.

What About Scars?

Any patient who undergoes an operation where skin is excised and incisions are made should understand that scarring is a part of the procedure, including brachioplasty. We make every effort to ensure that the scar will be as minimal as possible. For post-surgery care, topical ointments to assist in scar healing will be prescribed. It is also recommended that patients avoid sun exposure during the first year to protect the incisions from any additional discoloration. Most patients believe the benefits of a more toned arm outweight the appearance of scars.

Other Procedures?

It is common for arm lift patients to combine this surgery with another procedure. This is sometimes referred to as an upper body lift and may include liposuction, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and breast surgery (breast lift). During the consultation, each surgery will be discussed and recommendations will be made as to whether these procedures can be done at the same time.

How Contoured?

An arm lift is performed to remove hanging skin and fat. The only way to build actual muscle is through strength training. Following surgery, once the arms are fully healed, patients can begin weight training if they wish to do so. This is a great way to add shape to the arms by toning and strengthening them. Patients should maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes diet and exercise in order to avoid a recurring weight gain, which could compromise the surgical results.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.