Hugs are a gift. When you wrap your arms around a loved one, you want to feel a connection. But bulky upper arms can inhibit you, cause you to shy away, and put distance between yourself those you wish to embrace. If you struggle with saggy underarms, sometimes called “bat wings,” then you should consider a visit with Dr. Kimberly Short. She is a board-certified plastic surgeon who empowers patients to determine their own destiny. An arm lift allows each individual to direct their unique aesthetic journey to their specifications.

Under Dr. Short’s esteemed leadership, The Gillian Institute provides tailored solutions to issues such as drooping skin and excess fat deposits. With two convenient Indianapolis locations, The Gillian Institute serves the Indiana community with pride. Book a consultation soon and learn how an arm lift can raise your profile as well as your spirits!

What Is an Arm Lift?

An arm lift is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess skin and tightens the contours of the arms. Also called a brachioplasty, an arm lift addresses ptosis, the sagging skin that weighs down underarms.[1] The Gillian Institute’s body contouring and reshaping philosophy is based on maintaining the natural shape of the body. We will only recommend a contouring procedure such as an arm lift if it is truly right for you. The incisions are placed in the most inconspicuous location (inner arm toward the back). Depending on the extent of ptosis being addressed, the incisions may extend to the axilla, or armpit. Some scarring will be visible along the inner arm. The incision along the axilla is delicately made to avoid separation due to its location. The surgeon must consider how tension relates to the raising and pivoting of the arms, since this is a very active area of the body. To maneuver this complex set of challenges, it is important to consult with the best. The Gillian Institute understands the balance of skin, muscles and fascia (the connective tissue that separates layers of tissue in the upper arm). When you schedule an arm lift at Gillian, you are in great hands.

Benefits of Brachioplasty

Looking good is wonderful, but feeling good is even better. A successful arm lift removes excess skin and re-drapes it to accentuate your slim, taut upper body. The procedure may also entail liposuction to gently vacuum unwanted fat deposits from the arms. Even if you have lost weight through diet, exercise, and/or bariatric surgery, you may still need help defining your dimensions. Brachioplasty highlights your musculature and delivers an array of physical and psychological rewards.

  • Reduces bulk along your upper arm
  • Decreases mass and circumference
  • Removes “bat wings” hanging from under your arms
  • Increases mobility
  • Clothes fit more comfortably and look more flattering

To experience these benefits for yourself, call (317) 787-3260 for our downtown Indianapolis office or (317) 913-3260 for our northside location.

Eligible Candidates

Dr. Short most commonly recommends and performs arm lift procedures for weight loss patients. Individuals who have lost 100 pounds or more and are experiencing a high degree of excess skin laxity, stretch marks, and overhanging skin to the inner arms may be perfect candidates for brachioplasty. To determine your eligibility for an arm lift, please contact The Gillian Institute.

Personal Consultation in Indianapolis 

Communication is the key to improvement. During your consultation, you will be invited to share your medical history and future aesthetic goals. In our continued effort to communicate our dedication and precision to our patients, we update our blog regularly. Take a look and feel free to ask us any questions you may have. Please note: It is important to address your cosmetic concerns with The Gillian Institute at the time of your consultation. There is some risk associated with brachioplasty, as there is with any surgical procedure. Major complications are unusual, but your doctor can explain the procedure and potential complications to you in detail. She can also assist you in determining if an arm lift procedure is right for you.

Preparation for Brachioplasty

During your consultation, you will receive detailed instructions tailored to your upcoming arm lift. Patients are required to stop smoking and use of all tobacco products a minimum of 6 months prior to surgery. This will decrease the risk of complications related to decreased blood flow to the tissue and skin. If circulation suffers, it may result in skin necrosis and incision separation. Smoking has been shown to decrease blood flow by 30% to the incision and its surrounding tissue, resulting in complications related to healing. If the incision separates, it will significantly increase the recovery period.

We would also recommend that you are within 15-20 lbs of your ideal body weight. The Gillian Institute wants to achieve your aesthetic dreams and decrease the risk of complications related to healing. While every patient is unique, the following guidelines are important factors to consider before you arrive for your arm lift surgery.


You will want to take 14 days off work because your arm movements will be restricted 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. Please designate a caregiver who can assist you with normal daily activities to avoid overuse of raising the arms for the first week. You will also need a driver for the first 1-2 postoperative weeks.


The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia. Brachioplasty typically takes approximately 3-5 hours.

Arm Lift Procedure

From the moment you arrive for brachioplasty surgery, your comfort is our top priority. You will receive the proper anesthetic to facilitate safe, successful slimming of your appendages.

Dr. Short is an artist when it comes to concealing surgical incisions. Once the appropriate incision is made, the inner arm skin and tissue is tightened. This results in a more toned appearance.

Liposuction is often performed either simultaneously or prior to the arm lift procedure for optimal contouring purposes. No amount of exercise or weight lifting will result in an improved appearance of the inner arm skin redundancy, but typically weight loss will produce more excess skin. An arm lift can address your issues with loose skin and excess bulk to help your strong, sleek dimensions emerge.

Healthy Recovery

Light dressings are placed after surgery. A combination of skin glue adhesive with steri-strips and clips are placed along the incision for one to two weeks. The Gillian Institute can devise a treatment plan for the incision, starting at two-three weeks after surgery to minimize scarring. Light activity including ambulation every 2-3 hours is recommended within the first 1-2 weeks. Patients will have a drain placed at each arm and are advised not to shower until the drains are removed in our Indianapolis 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 should resolve within 8-12 weeks. Post-operative external ultrasound is also recommended to reduce swelling. We want to encourage the lymphatic system to aid in swelling reduction and the overall healing processes. Light activity is possible within 12-14 days and will become more comfortable over 2 -3 postoperative weeks. If a separation to the incision occurs post-operatively, antibiotic ointment or dressing changes are performed. The incision should completely heal within a few months. One year after the arm lift surgery, The Gillian Institute can evaluate your progress and determine if scar revision is necessary.

Amazing Results

The average brachioplasty surgery helps patients reduce the circumference of their upper arms by a range of 15-25%.[2] When the body achieves its ideal size and shape, it moves more freely and reflects an individual’s optimal appearance.

  • 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

Please visit our reviews page to see the glowing remarks our past patients have written. We appreciate their kind words and strive to continue providing world-class service to our Indianapolis community.

Complementary Procedures 

Excess skin and unwanted fat are no match for our arm lift procedure. If these issues affect other parts of your body as well, you may want to consider additional aesthetic remedies. The Gillian Institute offers a tummy tuck to tighten abdominal skin and contour the midsection. If unwanted fat and lax skin tend to accumulate in your upper legs, a thigh lift may be the perfect solution for you.

Regardless of your unique contours, Dr. Short and her associates will approach your case holistically and harmoniously. No procedure should be done without taking the overall shape and wellness of the patient into consideration.



Healthcare must be tailored to each individual patient. The dimensions of your arm are unique to you, so the cost of your brachioplasty will also be specialized. Please visit our pricing page to see how we work tirelessly to provide the best aesthetics at the right rates.


Nothing in life lasts forever. Our bodies grow, evolve, and flourish in new directions every day. Brachioplasty is a long-lasting solution for sagging, bulky upper arms. Diet and exercise will extend the benefits of an arm lift for years and even decades. Weight fluctuations, however, may impede the tightened, toned results of your brachioplasty procedure. Please contact The Gillian Institute to schedule a consultation and discuss your bright cosmetic future.


  1. Lockwood, T. (1995). Brachioplasty with superficial fascial system suspension. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 96(4):912-920. DOI: 10.1097/00006534-199509001-00022
  2. Richards, M.E. (2001). Minimal-Incision Brachioplasty: A First-Choice Option in Arm Reduction Surgery. Aesthetic Surgery Journal21(4)301–310.