When Can I Raise my Arms After Arm Lift Surgery?

Having excess fat or loose skin on the upper arms can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and inhibiting. Sometimes called “bat wings,” hanging arm skin is often the result of extreme weight loss, though it can also develop as a consequence of the natural aging process alone. In either case, arm lift surgery offers men and women the life-changing opportunity to restore a slimmer, smoother arm shape and regain their confidence and comfort.

At Jeffrey LaGrasso MD in Miami, FL, board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Jeffrey LaGrasso performs arm lift surgery – formally known as brachioplasty – for patients who are struggling with loose skin and stubborn fat on their upper arms. Keep scrolling for more information on what to expect during and after arm lift surgery, including why you’ll need to refrain from raising your arms above your head and when you can resume using your arms as you normally would.

How does arm lift surgery work?

Brachioplasty surgery is a popular post-weight loss body contouring procedure that aims to resculpt the upper arms through skin excision, fat removal, and skin tightening. When performed on its own, arm lift surgery is typically an outpatient procedure that requires general anesthesia and takes about two hours to complete. When arm lift is included as part of a larger combination procedure, like after weight loss surgery or mommy makeover surgery, patients may require an overnight stay in the hospital.

The length of an arm lift incision will vary based on how much skin needs to be removed and other individual factors. Most often, a brachioplasty incision is placed along the inner upper arm and runs from the armpit to the elbow. While arm lift surgery does result in some level of scarring, Dr. LaGrasso is careful to place his incisions in a location where the scars can be concealed as fully as possible. For many patients, arm lift scars are well hidden when the arms are at their sides.

Through the arm lift incision, Dr. LaGrasso trims away loose skin and utilizes liposuction to remove stubborn fat if needed. The remaining skin is pulled taut over the newly shaped arm, and the incision is closed with sutures.

What to expect during arm lift recovery

Swelling, bruising, and soreness are normal and expected following arm lift surgery. Patients may need to be placed in compressive garments to encourage smooth, proper healing and help minimize postsurgical swelling. Many patients report a feeling of tightness for a few weeks after arm lift surgery. During recovery, it is important for patients to follow proper arm lift aftercare instructions, which may include:

  • Wearing compressive garments
  • Restricting physical activities
  • Sleeping with the arms straight and relaxed
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Getting enough rest
  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Not smoking

Why can’t I raise my arms above my head after brachioplasty?

Putting undue pressure or strain on arm lift incisions as they are healing can disrupt the recovery process and can even cause the incisions to pull open. Because of this, patients should take great care to avoid raising their arms above their heads, including while washing or drying their hair and while reaching for elevated items. Many patients plan to have help around the house with these kinds of chores. In most cases, patients should plan to have limited use of their arms – including raising the arms above the head – for up to two weeks.

During your initial consultation for brachioplasty surgery in Miami, FL, Dr. LaGrasso will thoroughly review the recovery process to ensure patients feel prepared, comfortable, and confident going into their procedure and recovery. After approximately six weeks, most patients are able to resume full use of their arms and enjoy their firm, sleek new arm shape that can last for decades to come.

Get rid of your bat wings with arm lift surgery in Miami, FL

You don't have to spend another day struggling to find clothing that fits over your arms or feeling self-conscious about your loose skin. With arm lift surgery, you can finally get the slimmer arms you've been dreaming of. Start the process today by calling Jeffrey LaGrasso MD in Miami, FL to schedule your one-on-one consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey LaGrasso.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.