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Arm Lift

Tone and shape excess skin on the upper arm to enhance definition and eliminate unsightly "bat wings" forever.

Want to learn more about arm lift? Ask Dr. Preminger about minimal scar brachioplasty.

Arm lift surgery in NYC

Arm lift surgery, also known as brachioplasty or underarm surgery, dates all the way back to 1954 in South America when two surgeons first described the procedure of removing excess and unsightly fat and skin from the upper arms to result in a slimmer, tighter, smoother upper arm.

Maybe it was the year-round warm climate and the desire of stylish South American women to have a sleeker look in their sleeveless dresses and bathing suits that prompted interest in developing the arm lift procedure. Whatever the reason, women whose upper arms have taken on the classic “bat wing” shape of excess fat and skin have not looked back since.

Since liposuction was introduced to the U.S. in the early 1980’s with New York society being one of the earliest adapters, brachioplasty has become one of cosmetic surgery’s most popular and fastest growing techniques. From 2000 to 2008, the number of arm lift procedures increased 4000%.

Brachioplasty performed by gifted NYC arm lift surgeon Dr. Preminger will tighten loose, sagging skin and remove excess fat deposits in the upper arms resulting in a sleeker, slimmer contour.


The procedure itself is relatively straightforward and can be performed on an outpatient basis right in Dr. Preminger’s Manhattan office or in another fully accredited surgical facility. Prior to the arm lift surgery, an area of excess skin is marked. Then under general anesthesia or sedation, an incision is made on the inner arm. The excess skin is removed in a pattern either like an ellipse or a triangle. Some fat is left to cover and protect the nerves and arteries, with some liposuction performed for the smoothest result. Once the arm lift surgeon has removed the excess fat and skin, the wound is closed with sutures.

The complete procedure will take two to three hours depending on the extent of the sagging.

As with any surgery, cosmetic or otherwise, there are always risks of infection and excessive bleeding. Slow healing of the incision, asymmetry, and nerve damage may also be complications, although these are rare. Brachioplasty is performed under general anesthesia or deep sedation, so there may be some anesthesia risk involved. Any possible complications will be thoroughly discussed by Dr. Preminger prior to the procedure.

Quick Facts

Procedure Length

2-3 hours



In/Out Patient



Pain, bleeding, infection, asymmetry, nerve damage, recurrent laxity, scarring

Side Effects

Temporary swelling, bruising, tightness, and some pain


Back at work in 2 weeks
Resume light exercise at 2 weeks
Resume strenuous activity at 6 weeks
8-12 weeks for swelling to resolve

Duration of Results

Can be permanent if diet and exercise are maintained

A slim happy woman holding with a raised arm touching her underarm.

Preparing for arm lift surgery in Manhattan

Like with any other cosmetic surgery, a personal consultation with Dr. Preminger in her New York City office will begin the process. You and Dr. Preminger will have a frank discussion of the expectations you have for arm lift surgery, and she can explain to you the various procedures and incision patterns that will work best in your situation. In some cases where the skin is tight enough, liposuction may be the treatment of choice to avoid what will likely be visible arm lift scars. In other cases, an arm lift and liposuction combination will be indicated. Liposuction alone will not improve a sagging skin condition.

An experienced Manhattan arm lift surgeon like Dr. Preminger will look for the incision placement to be as inconspicuous as possible, but the reality is that certain brachioplasty techniques may result in arm lift scars that can extend from the armpit to the elbow for those with severe sagging.

Less sagging may require only a minimal incision near the armpit to allow liposuction.

For those who suffer embarrassment from their sagging skin, the benefits of the arm lift surgery often outweigh the issue of potential arm lift scars. Certain clothing styles and cuts can also be worn that will minimize signs of the incision.

During your consultation, a complete medical history will be requested, including any current medications or supplements currently being taken. Arm lift surgery candidates should be in good health with no pre-existing medical conditions that could interfere with the procedure or recovery. Smokers are not ideal candidates for cosmetic surgery because they have decreased blood flow to the outer tissues which may result in increased scarring, slow wound healing, infection, or other complications.

"Flabby, drooping underarms are a real source of embarrassment for many who won't even be seen in a tee shirt much less a tank top or summer dress. Options with brachioplasty surgery have never been more advanced. The procedure offers a beautiful and truly liberating result."
B. Aviva Preminger, MD


Once your procedure is completed, you’ll be brought to a quiet recovery area while the anesthesia wears off. If there is excessive fluid accumulation, a drain may be inserted. Dressings will be applied and possibly a compression bandage to keep the swelling down.

Once awake and comfortable to travel, you’ll be taken home by whomever you’ve designated. Antibiotics will be prescribed to ward off any possibility of infection.

How long will my brachioplasty results last?

The visual change of arm lift surgery with Dr. Preminger should be obvious immediately, although some swelling may initially hide the results. Again, as with any cosmetic surgery, there may also be some bruising and general discomfort. The swelling will subside but may linger for sixty to ninety days or longer to completely resolve.

After arm lift surgery, you’ll be able to go to work and show off your new contours in about two weeks. At that time, you’ll also be able to begin a light exercise regimen. At the six week mark, you can resume strenuous exercise.

The prognosis for your arm lift surgery is quite good, according to a 2010 study of 21 patients who underwent arm lift surgery as reported on the National Center of Biotechnology Information website. The authors reported that “Patients tolerate liposuction-assisted posterior brachioplasty very well, with minimal complications and good results. One post-bariatric surgery patient experienced a small wound dehiscence, and one non-bariatric surgery patient developed a slight hypertrophic scar in one arm. No other complications were noted. No revisions were performed.”

Arm Lift Surgery in New York City

If you are conscientious about keeping to a regular exercise plan and maintaining a healthy diet, your smoother, slimmer, tighter arms can be a permanent change.

Dr. Preminger is regarded as one of the top cosmetic surgeons in New York. Call her at (212) 706-1900 or contact us online and arrange a consultation. Dr. Preminger‘s New York City office is conveniently located on Park Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Video Transcription:

[Dr. Preminger] One of the things that really bothers a lot of women, particularity as we get older is the extra skin that starts to hang off the arms. And women feel really self-conscious about this particularly during the summer months when they want to wear sleeveless clothes. So one of the things we can offer patients is something called an arm lift and depending on how much extra tissue you have that can actually be done with a long incision along the arm or can be done with a minimal incision that’s actually hidden in the underarm. And patients are actually really pleased with the results. The scar’s usually well-hidden and the recovery is quick and then they can actually return to wearing sleeveless and short sleeves clothing in the summer months without having to feel self-conscious.

[Patient] The reason I wanted my upper arms done first was because that was the most visible thing. When I put on a short sleeve shirt or a tank top I felt like an old woman. When I walked around, my arms swayed. Even more personally, when I brushed my teeth in the morning and leaned forward over the bathroom sink, my arms came forward with me. Every morning I got a visible reminder of where I’d been.

I’m thrilled. I have a petite arm. I have a great shape to it. And when I lean forward to brush my teeth in the morning, nothing comes forward. Dr. Preminger was wonderful. She was extremely attentive– pre-surgery, post-surgery… her staff was wonderful. The aftercare was terrific.

[Dr. Preminger] So this patient had actually lost a lot of weight. And so she had a significant amount of hanging skin of the arms and that really bothered her. It interfered with exercise and hygiene especially in the summer months. She felt self-conscious wearing sleeveless or short sleeve clothing. So after a discussion with her we decided to proceed with an arm lift. Because she wanted maximal contour and we were able to hide the scar well, we placed an incision along the whole inner arm. She was very pleased with the results.

Request a consultation today.

Whether you are ready to jump right in or still have questions, we can help.

If you are ready to make a change to your appearance, choose the best plastic surgeon and cosmetic team for your procedure. Aviva Preminger, MD Aesthetic Plastic Surgery offers intricate procedures to reshape the face, breasts and body, as well as rejuvenating treatments to look your best at every age.

Contact us today at our office in Manhattan to schedule a personalized consultation with Dr. Preminger and begin your journey to feeling and looking your best!

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