(Upper Arm Lift)

Following significant weight loss, upper arm contouring can give patients tighter and smoother arms.

In an upper arm lift, or brachioplasty, the excess skin that hangs from the under-surface of the upper arm is removed. The amount of skin removed varies and is dependent on the patient. However, the results of brachioplasty or upper arm procedure are visible almost instantly.

Brachioplasty (upper arm lifts) are often combined with other body contouring post weight loss procedures for optimal results and minimal downtime as possible. You can discuss your options with Dr Lim, who will design a personalised treatment plan for your specific needs.

The length of your incision (and resulting scar), will depend on the extent of the skin laxity — the amount and location of the excess skin to be removed.

Usually, the incision will extend from the armpit area along the inside of the upper arm to the elbow, so that the scar is hidden when the arms are positioned close to the body. Patients with less skin laxity might have a smaller incision that is easily hidden in the armpit.

While Dr Lim will do his best to minimise scarring, it is important to note that healing around the arm area is quite unpredictable and may result in the scar being thickened or widened. The location and length of your incision will be discussed with you in the consultation process.

An upper arm lift, or brachioplasty, usually takes about three hours and is performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital. You will be required to stay in hospital overnight following your surgery.

You may be provided with a supportive garment that will help decrease the bruising and swelling, which must be worn for a few weeks after the surgery. Dr Lim will review you post-operatively and will prescribe analgesia and antibiotics for you to continue at home.

My Klinik staff will stay in touch with you after the procedure, monitor your progress and answer any questions or concerns as they arise. You’ll have reviews with Dr Lim one week, three weeks, one month and three months after surgery.

Our goal is to make your experience as supportive as possible — Dr Lim and the My Klinik staff are always willing to answer any questions you may have.

Dr Lim’s 2024 Excess Skin Guide

Excess Skin Guide

Pre and Post-Operative Care

  • You must fast prior to your procedure — do not eat, drink (even water) or chew anything for at least six hours before your procedure. The hospital will ring you the day before your procedure to confirm your admission time.
  • If you have a gastric band or sleeve, you will need to have a fluid diet the day before your surgery and fast for at least eight hours on the day of your procedure.
  • Notify Dr Lim of any medications that you are currently taking.
  • Do not take any medication that contains aspirin, or any anti-inflammatory or herbal medication for two weeks before your procedure. Aspirin thins the blood, which can result in unnecessary blood loss during your procedure.
  • Do not smoke for eight weeks before and eight weeks after your procedure. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and may delay the healing process or result in tissue loss and unfavourable scars.
  • Do not drink any alcohol for two days before your procedure as it can interfere with the anaesthetic you will be given on the day.
  • Vitamin C may help reduce your healing time and is recommended for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery.
  • Do not wear any nail polish, make-up or jewellery to the hospital and leave any valuables at home.
  • You will need comfortable, loose clothing, like a tracksuit, to wear home from the hospital. This will prevent pressure on your arms, which will still be tender.
  • Dr Lim will normally visit you in the hospital the morning after your procedure.
  • General anaesthetic can take a few days to recover from — it can be quite normal to feel a little slow or out of sorts for a few days.
  • When you wake up you will have firm bandages on your arms, which will be elevated on pillows. The bandages will be removed the next day and a compression stocking will be provided to wear for the next three to four weeks.
  • While you are in hospital you will be given medication for the pain. The amount of pain you feel after the operation varies from person to person. If you are concerned about the amount of pain you are in, or you feel you cannot control the pain, you should inform the nursing staff while in hospital, or call My Klinik if you are at home.
  • It is crucial that you finish the course of antibiotics you are prescribed.
  • While in hospital and at home, you will need to keep your bowels regular. This may involve taking an aperient prescribed by Dr Lim and drinking lots of water. Prune juice may assist. If you have any trouble, please inform the nursing staff and medication can be given to assist you.
  • Avoid over exertion and activity for the first four to six weeks. Take care not to bump, strain or place any pressure on the surgical area. This includes lifting small children.
  • Prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs with frequent gentle walks and mild foot and leg exercises. You will be given small injections to assist with this while you are in hospital.
  • Healing time is individual to each person. We recommend that you have two weeks off work and avoid driving during this time — most people feel well recovered after three to six weeks.
  • Dr Lim will remove any remaining sutures at your one-week post-op checkup.
  • Do not smoke for eight weeks during your recovery period as this may slow the healing process and affect wound healing.
  • Contact the rooms if any of the following develop:
    • A temperature higher than 38°C or chills
    • Heavy bleeding from the excision line or drain sites
    • Severe sudden pain or tenderness
    • Redness around the incisions that is spreading
    • Pain, tenderness or swelling around your calves.
  • My Klinik nursing staff will contact you to make sure that you are feeling comfortable and to confirm your one-week post-op checkup with Dr Lim.
  • Dr Lim and the nursing staff are available to you as you recover — should you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact My Klinik. For after-hours concerns, please contact the hospital where you had your surgery and they will be able to contact Dr Lim as required.

Brachioplasty (Upper Arm Lift) FAQs

You may be a good candidate for an brachioplasty upper arm lift if you have experienced significant weight loss and have maintained your weight for several months. Our patients have significant upper arm skin laxity and have realistic expectations for their results — it is important to understand that you will have tighter and smoother arms at the expense of visible scarring.

Your chances of having an optimal recovery are high if your weight is stable, you don’t smoke and you maintain good nutrition.

Your first consultation with Dr Lim will take around 45 minutes and you are most welcome to bring a support person with you. Due to social distancing measures as a result of COVID-19, the support person may not be able to enter the rooms (depending on the number of persons in the rooms at that particular time).

Dr Lim will take the time to discuss the procedure with you, and any other issues related to the appearance of your body that you feel are important to you. This will help Dr Lim understand your expectations and determine if they are achievable.

Dr Lim will explain the risks of surgery and discuss the methods of the body contouring surgery with you. Your body will be assessed, and a few measurements and photographs will be taken to plan the procedure.

You do not have to make the decision to proceed with the surgery at this initial consultation. You will be given a written quotation and information to take home to read.

Dr Lim will examine your body and assess the extent and location of the excess skin (based on what you consider to be problematic), your general health status, and your dedication to proper diet and exercise.

Please come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions you have, medications you are currently taking, allergies you have, other medical treatments you have received and any previous surgery you have had. You will also be asked whether you have suffered from any of the following:

  • Prolonged bleeding or excessive bruising when injured
  • Long term or recent illnesses
  • Psychological or psychiatric illnesses
  • Blood clots.

If you are planning to lose more weight, you will need to discuss this with Dr Lim. He may recommend that you stabilise your weight before undergoing surgery. You should also mention if you think you might want to become pregnant in the future.

A second consultation is required if you wish to proceed with surgery.

Avoid products that contain aspirin, vitamin E, glucosamine, fish oil and krill oil for four weeks before surgery. We also strongly recommend avoiding alcohol for a few days, and not smoking for eight weeks before and after surgery. Smoking can negatively affect the healing process.

In some cases, Dr Lim may recommend that you have blood tests or a scan to check for blood clots.

We want to make this experience as supportive as possible — you will be given all pre-operative instructions prior to your procedure but please don’t hesitate to call My Klinik if you have any questions or concerns before your surgery.

Dr Lim performs all surgeries at fully accredited hospitals — Lakeview Private Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital. Body contouring surgery is performed under general anaesthetic and you can expect to be in hospital overnight.

Please contact the hospital a day before surgery to confirm your admission and fasting time. On entering the hospital, you need to report to the admissions desk and the staff will direct you through the admission process. Dr Lim and the anaesthetist will both see you prior to surgery and Dr Lim will make some markings on your body.

After the procedure, you will spend some time in the recovery room where you will be closely monitored until you are fully awake and returned to your room. Dr Lim will visit you in hospital the morning after your surgery.

You will have firm bandages around your arms, which will be elevated on pillows. You will have calf compressors (inflatable devices) and TED or compression stockings on both legs, as well as anticoagulant injections to reduce the risk of blood clots/deep vein thrombosis. You will have a drip in your arm and be connected to a machine to give you pain relief, fluids and medication.

The first days after surgery are usually the most uncomfortable, particularly when you are moving and using your arms. Like most operations, it is not painless; the pain will be mild to moderate for about 48 hours. It is normal to feel tired and a little slow for a day or two following a general anaesthetic, and to experience bruising and swelling around the surgical sites. You will have dressings over your incisions and will be able to shower a few days after your surgery.

Everyone is different, so the recovery period following this procedure varies from person to person — most people feel well recovered after three to six weeks. Avoid over exertion and activity for the first six weeks. Take care not to bump, strain or place any pressure on your arms. This includes lifting small children. Prevent the formation of blood clots in your legs with frequent gentle walks and mild foot and leg exercises.

Returning to work depends on the demands of your job — you may be able to return to light work within three weeks. Dr Lim will discuss your individual situation with you before and after your surgery.

Following extensive weight loss, the results after body contouring surgery are visible immediately. It may take a year or more for the final results to develop completely.

Provided that the patient does carry out all efforts to maintain their weight and practise good eating habits and exercise, the final outcome is permanent. Scars will remain, and some body firmness may be lost over time, due to the natural ageing process.

We endeavour to make sure our patients are as informed as possible. While some of the potential risks seem serious, major complications are uncommon. During consultation, Dr Lim will take you through the risks involved and the potential complications.

Some of the possible complications are:

  • Infection
  • Unfavourable or unsightly scarring
  • Keloids and hypertrophic (or raised) scars
  • The final body shape may not be what the patient expected and may require further procedures
  • Asymmetry
  • Temporary numbness of the upper arm skin
  • Sutured skin may not heal well, and a skin graft may be needed
  • Constrained movements
  • Fluid accumulation around the incision sites
  • Poor wound healing
  • Fat necrosis
  • In rare cases, patients may require a blood transfusion.

Dr Lim will monitor your progress carefully and our staff will stay in contact with you during the post-operative period. You will be seen at frequent intervals over the first six months. Your relationship with Dr Lim and the nursing staff does not end once you have had the procedure.

If you have any questions or concerns after your operation, you are always welcome to call My Klinik.

Want to know more?

Due to Australian medical guidelines we are unable to publish reviews and testimonials on our website. This is to ensure any opinions or information you read comes from an unbiased and unedited source. Though this is the case, we understand that reviews and testimonials are a very important part of your decision-making process when selecting a specialist plastic surgeon. Please contact the My Klinik team for further information.

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.