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Arm lift

Do you suffer from flabby upper arms or excess skin? Ageing, frequent sunbathing, or substantial weight loss can cause your upper arms to be an impediment. Short sleeves either don’t fit properly or aren’t flattering, and you can suffer from skin irritations and red welts. You are self-conscious about moving your arms: waiving off visitors feels uncomfortable. An arm lift, also known as Brachioplasty, reduces excess skin and fat from the upper arm and elbow and gives the arms a more toned appearance.

Facts about arm lift surgery

Muscles make your arms look firm; fat does precisely the opposite, making your arms flabby. Atrophy of the triceps muscle — the muscle on the back of the arm between the elbow and the shoulder joint changes the tissue from muscle tissue into fat. An arm lift leaves a large scar running from your armpit to your elbow on the inside of the arm. Patients with a normal and stable weight, who understand that they cannot expect perfection, but rather an improvement, are good candidates for an arm lift. An arm lift and liposuction combination are recommended if there are small local fat deposits and decreased skin elasticity.

It all starts with a consultation

No two bodies are the same. The cosmetic needs and expectations of patients are unique. To ensure that you are happy with the result of your treatment, Dr Pirayesh develops a customised surgical plan for each patient. During the consultation, he will take the time to get to know you, discuss your requirements and help you make an informed decision.

He will ask about your general health and medical history, examine you and discuss any weight you may have lost and the sports you practice. He will ask you to point out how you want to improve your arms, after which he will indicate whether your wishes are realistic. He will also inform you about other treatments that will improve the results of your arm lift surgery.

He will explain which technique he will use, answer any questions you may have, give instructions on how to prepare for the operation, and inform you about the cost. 

Arm lift overview and timeline

Anaesthesia: light general anaesthetic administered by a specialised anaesthetist
Duration of the operation: 1 to 3 hours
Length of stay: outpatient, you can return home about 4 hours after surgery. You need to be picked up by someone because you cannot drive yourself for some time.
Post-operation: swelling and tenderness.  A small drain is inserted under the skin to drain excess blood or fluid. We will provide you with a long-sleeved compression garment to wear day and night for four weeks after your surgery to prevent swelling (you may take it off to shower). You will receive pain medication and instructions on wound care.
Complications: very rare: fluid retention, infections, a widened, livid scar
Recovery time: in general, an arm lift is not painful; the first three days are the hardest but can be properly managed with painkillers. After two weeks, you can drive, vacuum/Hoover, and do household chores. You can resume your normal activities and sporting activities in six weeks. 
After several months, your scars will have faded. 
Result: an arm lift gives a pleasing contour to the upper arms and is a rewarding procedure for patients with excess skin after significant weight loss. The long and visible scar on the inside of the arms must not be underestimated. 
Scarring: the drain is painlessly removed within 2 to 4 days after surgery. Dr Pirayesh has developed a program, APS Scar Care, including aloe vera-based creams, laser treatments, and (if necessary) injections to ensure that your scars heal in the best possible way. 

Arm lift surgery in five steps

On the day of your surgery, Dr Pirayesh will mark the excess skin and take photos for your medical record.

Step 1. Anaesthesia

A specialist anaesthesiologist will inject a light general anaesthetic into a vein through a cannula (a thin, plastic tube) in your arm or hand. The anaesthesiologist and his team will monitor you closely throughout the operation, ensuring you are comfortable and safe. The anaesthesiologist will discuss the anaesthesia with you before your surgery and will answer any questions.

Step 2. The incision

A dagger-shaped incision is made on the inside of the arms from the armpit until the elbow, and excess skin and subcutaneous fat are removed.

Step 3. Suturing and bandaging

Now the small blood vessels are thermally sealed, after which the different skin layers are closed with small sutures.

  • Surgical tape is used to protect the wound.

  • You leave the operating room wrapped in a long-sleeved compression garment.

Step 4. Recovery and aftercare

You will remain in our surgery clinic for the next few hours, in the care of Dr Pirayesh and his team, until he feels it is safe for you to return home. You will need to be picked up or take a taxi home. You will receive pain medication and instructions on wound care.


  • After one day, the drain is removed.

  • You should rest for a few days and refrain from bending or lifting. 

  • The tape and sutures are removed after one week.

  • During the first 48 hours, you may experience swelling and discolouration, usually lasting seven to ten days.

  • Don’t take blood thinners like aspirin (paracetamol is allowed).

  • As a rule, you can resume your normal activities within ten days.

  • The recovery period usually takes about six weeks, during which you must refrain from driving, bending, lifting, and household chores. You must avoid the solarium or sauna and not drink alcohol or take blood thinners like aspirin (paracetamol is allowed).

  • The scars will fade after two months but will remain visible.

Step 5. Wound healing and scarring

Dr Pirayesh is very savvy when it comes to promoting rapid healing. He has developed a customised regimen, APS Scar Care, including creams based on aloe vera, laser treatments, and (if necessary) injections to ensure that your scars heal in the best possible way.

This regimen has ensured that many of Dr Pirayesh’s patients have hardly noticeable scars. However, it is impossible to pre-determine if patients will have problems with their scars healing.

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