An upper arm lift shapes loose tissue on your arms

By selectively removing skin and connective tissue, it is possible to restore a harmonious shape to sagging upper arms. It is not always necessary to make an incision.

In brief

The upper arm lift is a popular procedure to improve the contour and firmness of the upper arms for interested patients. Many people are looking for effective solutions to reduce excess skin and sagging tissue on the upper arms and achieve a tighter, slimmer arm contour. During an upper arm lift, we remove excess skin and tighten the underlying tissue. The procedure can involve various techniques, such as liposuction,

to remove excess fat, and the removal of excess skin through an incision along the underside of the arm. The surgery is usually performed under sedation or local anesthesia. We often combined the removal of excess skin with liposuction to reshape the surrounding tissue. The result is an improved arm contour with tighter skin and an overall slimmer appearance.

What motivates people to have an upper arm lift?

Over the years, a completely normal ageing process in your body leads to sagging of the skin and connective tissue. Areas where this often becomes visible are the upper arms. The greater the sagging, the more intensely patients feel their upper arms “wobble” even during everyday movements. The extent is particularly noticeable when waving or lifting the arms. Exercise and a change in diet are an optimal “self-treatment” here. By building up muscle, sagging tissue can be replaced to a certain extent, but although this leads to a reduction in volume, the skin merely continues to “hang”.

Although this is completely natural, it is often perceived as a burden. If the quality of life suffers as a result, patients often long for a permanent solution.

What is an upper arm lift?

As the name suggests, skin and connective tissue on the upper arms are reduced and permanently tightened through a surgical procedure. The sagging of the skin is prevented and a new harmonious contour is restored. The tightening of the upper arm, the so-called arm lift, is possible using the latest surgical techniques. Specific areas of skin are removed and the underlying connective tissue is sculpted. The incision is planned individually before the operation and is “hidden” depending on the extent of the excess skin.

Duration
1,5 h
Pain
low
Scars
visible
Stay
outpatient
Bandage
4 weeks
Work
after 7-10 days
Sports
after 3 weeks
Costs
from 3500€

What different methods are there?

A scalpel is often used to tighten the skin and tissue. It is the ideal method for removing excess skin and soft tissue on the arms. This is done either via a linear scar from the armpit to the elbow or vertically in the armpit area. The extent of the excess skin determines the technique. If a purely scar-saving method is desired, a combination of liposuction and bodytite can be used.

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Before after photos
Results speak louder than a thousand words.

Who is the upper arm lift suitable for?

An upper arm lift is suitable for patients with significant excess skin and soft tissue. The sagging of the arms often becomes visible after massive weight loss or after alternating phases of gaining and losing weight. If these phases occur slowly over a very long period of time, the body often manages to put the skin back on. Patients are initially still able to conceal the loose skin/soft tissue by building up muscle, but irreversible damage quickly occurs. Severe excess skin/tissue can be permanently removed by surgical tightening. In principle, this operation can be performed at any age, after reaching the age of majority.

Who is it not suitable for?

A current desire to lose weight is suboptimal, as further changes may occur in the course of weight reduction. In addition, strong weight fluctuations can influence the result after the operation. If you only suffer from a small amount of excess skin and tissue, you should consider whether an alternative tightening procedure would be more appropriate. A Bodytite treatment also leads to tightening with less tissue loosening and saves you a major operation.

When is the best time?

An upper arm lift is an aesthetic operation. In general, there is no time pressure here. Each patient will therefore choose the time for a lift for their own reasons. If you are at the beginning or in the middle of the journey to your personal dream weight, we recommend that you achieve and maintain this weight first. In general, your current weight should be stable for at least 6 months. Any month can be chosen in terms of timing. As it is necessary to wear compression garments after the operation, many women opt for cooler months.

What is the technical procedure for an upper arm lift?

All questions are clarified in advance in a detailed consultation and the incision is discussed.

The operation begins with a final discussion and the incision line drawing.
After anesthesia, the excess skin and underlying fatty tissue are carefully and symmetrically removed. Smaller lifts mainly affect the upper arm area. Larger lifts sometimes also affect the side of the chest. If, in addition to the sagging skin, there is also fatty tissue, this is also suctioned out and shaped during the same procedure.
Once this has been completed and the new shape has been achieved, the multi-layered tissue is closed. Wafer-thin sutures running through the skin are used for the final skin closure. If necessary, Redon drainage tubes are inserted for 1-2 days to allow wound fluid to drain away.

Scars are unfortunately unavoidable and correspond to the incision. A distinction is made between the following:

The skin is then closed. Here, the scar is placed as inconspicuously as possible on the inner upper arm, concealed by adjacent arms.

  1. Mini upper arm lift for pure excess skin. From the armpit to the inner elbow. Here it is sufficient to remove the excess skin through a targeted incision. Fatty tissue does not need to be removed. The scar is not visible with drooping arms.
  2. Upper arm lift with liposuction for excess skin and soft tissue. From the armpit to the elbow. In addition to surgical removal of the skin, liposuction is performed here. This allows for better shaping and also ensures that the lymphatic drainage pathways and blood vessels are spared. The scar that remains is the same as with a mini upper arm lift.
  3. Large upper arm lift with liposuction up to the upper body. If the excess skin/soft tissue is extremely pronounced, it often extends to the upper body or forearm. The incision and liposuction are extended to the maximum and guarantee a harmonious shape even beyond the upper arm.

What type of anesthesia is necessary?

You will be under sedation during the operation. This is a pleasant state in which you will neither feel any pain nor notice anything of the operation. After the procedure, you will wake up relaxed and pain-free. The difference between anesthesia and sedation is, in addition to different medications, that artificial respiration is not used. During sedation, you breathe on your own. Patients perceive this as less stressful.

Can the procedure be combined with other procedures?

Many patients combine the upper arm lift with liposuction on other parts of the body.

Surgical and conservative alternatives

There are various conservative and surgical alternatives for many operations. It is therefore necessary to consider these carefully before any surgical procedure. If the use of a scalpel can be dispensed with due to conservative alternatives, these are of course preferable.

Bodytite treatment, for example, is available as a minimally invasive alternative. This uses radiofrequency therapy to stimulate contraction of the connective tissue and tightening of the skin. However, this procedure is only useful for moderate soft tissue excess. Liposuction is also an alternative and saves a visible scar. Your body has a certain “retraction capacity”, an ability to tighten sagging tissue to a small degree. Whether this is possible should definitely be clarified during a physical examination.
Sport, alternating showers and massages generally promote blood circulation and are ideal for preventive body care. Massive muscle building of the upper arm extensors (e.g. triceps muscles) can create volume through muscle growth. This fills out the sagging tissue somewhat. However, despite various myths, none of these methods can regenerate sagging connective tissue. In this case, only surgery can bring about effective change.

Photos

The photos show examples of primary upper arm lifts performed in my practice. These were performed either surgically with removal of skin and tissue or minimally invasively using a combination of liposuction and Bodytite.

The extent of the excess skin/tissue determines the tightening technique. We are also happy to take on corrections from operations performed elsewhere.

However, you should first discuss any dissatisfaction with the surgeon who operated on you – it is quite possible that you will benefit from a free follow-up correction.

Is this operation performed on an outpatient or inpatient basis?

As a rule, we perform upper arm lifts on an outpatient basis in our practice. A total of 3-4 hours should be planned. Even if the actual operation time is 1.5-2 hours, the time for preparation and follow-up must be taken into account. For example, the sleeping pills need to be taken. You are welcome to stay in our surgery until you feel fit again. Immediately after waking up, you may experience slight circulatory weakness. Active participation in road traffic should be avoided at all costs for the first 12 hours. We recommend that you are accompanied for the first few hours after the operation and for the first night.

An inpatient stay is advisable for larger tightening operations. As a rule, an overnight stay of 1-2 days in a private hospital is sufficient.

Risks and complications

Surgery is a wonderful routine for us. Nevertheless, we are aware that many of our patients may only have surgery once in their lives. It is therefore essential that you are informed about all the possible consequences of this procedure.

During surgical procedures, skin and tissue as well as underlying structures are treated with sharp instruments. Despite all caution, complications of varying severity can occur. During the initial consultation, we will go through a corresponding information sheet with you.

Minor complications

The upper arm lift is a relatively low-complication procedure. If performed carefully, the risk of permanent consequences is very low. As with all surgical procedures, there may be minimal pain, comparable to moderate muscle soreness, as well as swelling and hematomas.

Slight asymmetries, scar widening, seromas, wound healing disorders and temporary loss of sensation are exceptions and usually disappear on their own. In our experience, swelling, restricted movement and the gentle posture caused by a compression garment are well tolerated.

Rare major complications

Major complications may require follow-up treatment or, in extremely rare cases, repeat surgery. Post-operative bleeding must be stopped immediately, even if the blood loss is minimal. Impairment of the skin’s circulation is also possible, the likelihood of which increases with the extent of the operation. All relevant details will be discussed with you in detail during your consultation.

What to do in the event of complications?

If, contrary to expectations, complications occur, we will not leave you alone with them. After the operation, you will be given an emergency number where you can reach us 24 hours a day. During the routine check-ups following the operation, we will discuss the progress and further procedure with you in detail.

Healing and progress

As soon as patients have decided to have surgery, there is great anticipation of the result. However, depending on the procedure, there is a long way to go. You will need to be patient until the final result is achieved. If you know what to expect before your planned operation, this path will be easier.

How long does the recovery take?

You will certainly feel well again quickly and will only notice restrictions for a few days. Nevertheless, physical rest is crucial in the first 6 weeks after the operation in order to allow the deep tissue enough rest to regenerate. It takes 6-12 months until complete healing. During this time, the last swellings disappear and the abdomen takes on its final shape.

With the exception of competitive sports, sporting activities are possible after 8-12 weeks.

Of course, these time recommendations are guidelines based on our experience, which sometimes require individual adjustment.
Your body will take the time it needs.

Is the treatment painful?

The upper arm lift is not painful. Naturally, you will not feel any pain during the operation. Immediately after the procedure, the painkillers will still have sufficient effect, so that you will probably only feel moderate pain in the treated areas in the evening of the day of the operation. We will put your compression garments on immediately after the operation. Swelling occurs after the operation due to water retention. Patients often describe a noticeable feeling of tightness for the first 2-3 days. Standing upright or walking may feel a little unsteady at first.

When can the final result be expected?

The result of the upper arm lift is visible immediately. Important: The arm will initially appear slightly “over-tightened”. After about 3 months, the connective tissue structures will have settled and reached their final shape.

The “durability” of an upper arm lift depends on your connective tissue and the quality of your skin. The more stressed these have been over the years, the more likely it is that there will be minimal sagging. However, this would be significantly less pronounced than the original sagging.

What should patients plan for?

Surgery requires a certain amount of planning and organization not only for the surgical team, but also for the patient, both before and after the operation. It is important that you are well prepared and know what to expect. This allows you to concentrate fully on enjoying the result.

One of the most important questions before any surgical procedure is the “why”. You should be clear about why you want to have surgery at all. Once you have answered this question and made a decision, the following questions should definitely be clarified: How? By whom? When?

I will be delighted if you find your way to my surgery and would like to be operated on by me. However, I also recommend all my patients to get a second opinion. You should be absolutely sure about the date and surgeon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Plan the time before your operation

Before any tightening operation, we recommend a general medical check-up to ensure that there are no underlying illnesses or movement restrictions in the arm or shoulder joint.

As soon as you have decided to have the operation after a detailed consultation and medical history, you should plan the time after the operation with those around you accordingly. Although you should not expect to be out of action for any length of time, you may occasionally experience temporary movement restrictions.

Plan the time after your operation

It is advisable to prepare in advance to wear a special abdominal bandage for 6 weeks. It is also necessary to take it easy physically during this period so as not to hinder the healing process.

How much does the operation cost?

The upper arm lift starts at €3000. If an additional operation is planned for other regions, this will affect the operation time and therefore the price. In combination with other procedures such as autologous fat transplantation or Bodytite, combination prices can be offered.

Financing, down payment, installment payment

We also offer the option of financing. We will be happy to inform you about this during a personal consultation. If you decide on an operation date after our consultation, we will agree a deposit of €500 to fix the date accordingly. You can pay the remaining amount on the day of the operation or in advance.