Arm lift

When Should I Consider a Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)?

  • Excessive loose and sagging skin of the upper arms; typically related to significant weight loss.
  • Loss of skin elasticity, tone, and stretch marks to the upper arms.

Anticipated Results:

  • A smoother, tighter, flatter appearance to the upper arms.
  • Reduction or elimination of excess skin from the upper arms.
  • Improved overall contour to the upper arms.

The Gillian Institute’s body contouring and reshaping philosophy is based on maintaining the feminine contours of the body. We will only recommend a contouring procedure such as an arm lift procedure if  the risk vs benefit ratio is maintained with favorable beneficial results.  The arm lift procedure does not cause significant pain post operative, but is difficult to maintain proper positioning for adequate healing of the incisions.  The incisions are placed in the most inconspicuous location (inner arm toward the back) and will extend in a horizontal fashion at the axilla, but some scarring will always be visible in the inner arm.  The incision located in the axilla or armpit area is at a high risk for separation of the incision due to the location and the increased tension with raising the arms and using the arms frequently. The arm lift procedure is recommended and performed most commonly with weight loss patients, whom have lost 100 lbs or more and are experiencing a high degree of excess skin laxity, stretch marks, and overhanging skin to the inner arms.  Conservative liposuction is performed at the same time as the arm lift procedure for contouring purposes.  If a significant amount of fatty tissue reduction is necessary as well, liposuction may be recommended prior to the arm lift procedure to achieve optimal results.

The inner arm skin and tissue is tightened resulting in a more toned appearance.  Patients feel more comfortable with wearing short sleeved shirts and tank tops following surgery.  The incision is concealed but requires limiting arm movements over 90 degrees for the first 2-3 weeks following surgery.  Due to the persistent visibility of the incision, the risk vs. benefit ratio for the medial thigh lift procedure is evaluated and discussed during the consultation. Liposuction is performed at the same time or prior to the arm lift procedure for optimal contouring purposes.  No amount of exercise or weight lifting program will result in an improved appearance of the inner arm skin redundancy, but typically weight loss will procedure more excess skin.

The future of plastic and cosmetic surgery will evolve to address the skin laxity in such a difficult area as the inner arm with recommendations based on non-surgical skin tightening options.   Currently, the technology has not produced a permanent, predictable tool for skin tightening with visible, significant results. But this advancement will be available soon for patients.

Patients are required to stop smoking and use of all tobacco products a minimum of 6 months prior to surgery to decrease the risk of complications related to healing and decreased blood flow to the tissue and skin resulting in skin necrosis and incision separation. Smoking has been shown to decrease blood flow by 30% to the incision and  tissue resulting in complications related to healing, which will significantly increase the recovery period.  Ideally, the longer the smoking has ceased the better in terms of reducing the risk of complications.  We would also recommend you are within 15-20 lbs of your ideal body weight to optimize the final result and to decrease the risk of complications related to healing.

Planning the Surgery
Time Off Work:

You will want to take 14 days off work. You must also restrict arm movements to less than 90 degrees for the first 2-3 weeks.


You will need someone to take care of you for the first 48-72 hours post-operative and is recommended to have a caregiver whom can assist you with normal daily activities to avoid overuse of raising the arms for the first one week. If you will also need a driver for the first 1-2 weeks post operative.

The Day of Surgery:

The procedure is typically performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. The procedure typically take approximately 3-5 hours.

After Surgery:

Light dressings are placed after surgery and skin glue adhesive with steri-strips in combination with clips are placed along the incision for one to two weeks.  A scar treatment for the incision is started at two-three weeks after surgery to improve the scarring. Light activity including ambulation every 2-3 hours is recommended within the first 1-2 weeks.  Patients will have a drain placed to each arm and will not be allowed to shower until the drain is removed in the office.  Patients should refrain from vigorous activities for at least 6-8 weeks. Topifoam compression pads are placed under the compression device for the first 1-2 weeks to reduce swelling and encourage skin contraction.  The compression device is recommended for the first 6 weeks to reduce swelling and provide support.  The majority of swelling will be resolved by 8-12 weeks. Post-operative external ultrasound is also recommend to reduce swelling, areas of firmness, and encourage the lymphatic system to positively respond to the swelling and healing process.  Light activity is possible within 12-14 days and will become more comfortable over 2 -3 weeks postoperative. If a separation to the incision occurs post-operative, antibiotic ointment or dressing changes are performed and the incision will heal within a few months completely.  After one year following the surgery, a scar revision to the area(s) will be evaluated and discussed.

Note: It is important to address any concerns with The Gillian Institute at the time of your consultation. There is some risk, as with any surgical procedure.  Minor complications that do not affect the final outcome occur occasionally.  Major complications are unusual. Our doctors can explain the procedure and potential complications to you in detail, and she can assist you in determining if an arm lift procedure is right for you.

What Patients Are Saying

I had a face lift, eyes upper and lower, neck. To this day I still get the comment. “You look so good” What did you do? It was the best thing I ever did and would recommend it to anyone. No pain, No problems. Thanks to Dr. Short and her team, they make you feel at home. They are the BEST !!!! * 



Penny O

I would refer Dr.Short to all of my friend and family. She are her staff was very professional and was willing to answer any question that I had. My surgery was a breast augmentation, I was a size A and went to a cup size D. I am very pleased and so happy with the out come. Dr.Short is the best there is. I would never even consider going any place else. *

Jennifer K

I came to Dr. Short for a Breast Augmentation and tummy tuck about 3 1/2 years ago. I was a mother of 5 children and had spent the past 15 years giving birth and taking care of kids. Even before the kids though, I struggled with a poochy tummy. I decided for my 40th birthday that I was finally going to do something about it. I searched the internet extensively and finally found Dr. Short. The results she was showing on her website were exactly what I was looking for. I flew out from Washington State for my consultation and immediately liked her and her entire staff. They put me at ease and answered all my questions.

I was thrilled with the results of the surgery. I went immediately from a size 12 to a size 4. I couldn’t believe it. The surgery got me so motivated that I continued to diet and exercise and have now dropped another 13 pounds and now wear a size 0. In addition to the fantastic results, Dr. Short and her staff made me feel like a girlfriend. I felt that they truly understood what my needs were, not just clinically, but from a woman’s perspective. I can’t recommend Dr. Short and her office enough for any cosmetic procedure. Thank you so much. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. *

Allissa S

I went to Dr. Short 2 years ago with an A cup breast size. She gave me a low C cup, and i get compliments on my breasts daily. They are very natural looking and feeling. A lot of people do not even believe me when I tell them I have had breast augmentation. Shes the best and I’m very very pleased with the outcome of the surgery. *

Deborah M

I used Dr.Short for a breast enlargement. I was more then impressed with the results. They did a great job and I recommend her all the time to people who ask for a Dr. I went in with a lot of questions and attended a seminar that helped me feel at ease. The surgery was not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I was back to normal in no time. The scars left are not even visible unless you look really hard. I highly recommend Dr.Short. They made me feel comfortable by having proper follow up appointments to make sure that everything was ok with surgery. I have nothing bad to say about my whole experience. It is going on three years now and I have had no complications at all. Dr. Short does a great job of giving you a natural look and making sure she keeps the look proportional to your body type. She really does a great job. *

Amy B
* Disclaimer: The claims made on this website are not intended to represent the results that every patient can expect. Surgical results vary greatly from patient to patient and are not guaranteed.

Northside Location

Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery
8455 Clearvista Place
Indianapolis, IN 46256


Downtown Location

Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery
317 S Delaware St
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204


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