How Much Does an Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

An arm lift, also referred to as a brachioplasty in the medical world, will tighten the loose, sagging skin beneath the arm.

A procedure commonly performed after either a massive weight loss or due to natural aging, this procedure is often performed in conjunction with liposuction to help get rid of the excess fat.

103.DupontCircle.WDC.20may06 by Elvert Barnes, on Flickr
103.DupontCircle.WDC.20may06” (CC BY 2.0) by Elvert Barnes

How much does a brachioplasty cost?

The cost of an arm lift, as with any plastic surgery procedure, will greatly depend on your geographical location, the surgeon you choose, facility fee, anesthesia fee, surgeon fee, the complexity of the procedure, materials fee and if any other procedures are used in conjunction with the procedure.  Since this is always deemed an optional, cosmetic procedure, almost no health insurance companies will cover the procedure.  With all of that being said, the average cost, when all medical fees are considered, will range anywhere from $5,000 to $14,500 in the United States.

Type of Arm LifeDescriptionPrice Estimate
Minimal Scar Arm LiftA procedure which will remove the excess skin at the crease of the armpit, resulting in a smaller scar when compared to other procedures. This procedure is usually combined with liposuction to remove any fatty tissue.$7,500
Traditional Scar Arm LiftA procedure which will remove any hanging skin and/or fatty tissue from the armpit to just above the elbow area. The incision will be made inside of the arm.$10,000
Thoracic or Extended Arm LiftA procedure which removes the skin and fatty tissue on the side of the armpit, chest and axilla. Including the traditional scar arm lift, as mentioned, it will also remove the loose skin along the upper chest area. The incision, when made, will go from the armpit down to the inside of the arm and will then extend to the midpoint side of the chest.$15,000

Reviewing the more than 700+ reviews on RealSelf.com, the average cost paid by the community was $7,200, with more than 95% saying the procedure was worth it.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost, as of 2016, was $4,257.  The website did note, however, that the surgery costs will vary, and the average fees mentioned would not include the anesthesia, operation room facilities or other related expenses.

James M Nachbar, MD, FACS, a plastic surgeon based in Scottsdale, Arizona, stated an arm lift “ballpark estimate” at his practice could be $7,650.

DocShop notes the costs will depend on the type of arm lift, where you live, the surgical facilities, your doctor’s experience and if additional treatments are needed.

The extra costs to consider

As all facilities will bill in various ways, the estimates provided may not include the anesthesia fees, the hospital/facility fees, medical tests, post-surgery garments, prescriptions and/or the surgeon’s fee.  To budget properly, it’s wise to add these fees to offer a decent estimate.

Arm lift candidates

Adults who have more than average upper arm skin laxity or recently lost a good amount of weight, either due to surgery or dieting.

An adult who is relatively stable with their weight and are not considered overweight.

Non-smokers in good overall health and have realistic expectations.

Healthy individuals who have no serious medical conditions that may impair the future healing after the surgery.

All ages are considered a candidate, but in general, a surgeon may want a good amount of skin elasticity to see good results.  If older than 65, your surgeon may recommend additional procedures.

Arm lift procedure

The procedure should always be performed by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon at either an accredited outpatient surgical cetner or a hospital.

Before the surgery even begins, your doctor will either administer an intravenous sedation, which leaves you awake but not aware, or general anesthesia based on your situation.

Next, depending on the amount of excess skin that needs to be removed, the length and the pattern during the incision will greatly vary.  Generally, these incisions will be created inside the arm near the armpit or on the back of the arm, often depending on the surgeon’s preference and will extend as far as the elbow.  If liposuction was recommended, then the excess fat, at this time, will be removed.  The supportive tissue, once exposed, will be tightened, reshaped with sutures and the skin will be smoothed out over the arm.

Lastly, the incisions will be closed with either absorbable sutures or stitches.

The entire procedure, depending on the extent of it, will take anywhere from one to three hours.

The arm lift recovery after the procedure

After the procedure is complete, dressings and/or bandages will be applied to the incisions, and in some cases, the arms may be wrapped in an elastic bandage/compression garment to help minimize the swelling.

Aside from the garments, a small, thin-like tube may be inserted to help drain any fluid and/or blood while your arms heal.

As with any cosmetic procedure, your doctor will offer detailed instructions in writing to show you how to care for your surgical site, which medications you need to take and what to look out for while healing.  All patients should expect some slight swelling, discomfort and bruising, but your doctor will prescribe pain relievers to help with the situation.

As you recover, PlasticSurgery.org shows multiple before and after pictures as to what you should expect in terms of results.  While you will notice a tighter contour immediately after the procedure, swelling and bruising will be noticeable for the next few weeks while you heal.

On average, it will take four to six weeks to resume normal activities, but in the meantime, before you’re able to return to your usual activities, you may be limited to walking, sleeping, showering, driving and/or exercising.

As long as your weight won’t fluctuate, you should see the results last for years to come, but as your body continues to age, including your skin, it may lead to loose skin in the future.  The same can be said about an excessive weight gain if you were to gain weight too fast as the loose skin would return.

Risks of an arm lift

As no surgery is deemed safe, some risks need to be factored, including excessive bleeding, an infection at the incision, hematoma, anesthesia risks, a loss of sensation in the arm, scarring and/or swelling.

How to choose a qualified plastic surgeon

Always make sure your surgeon is certified by a key medical institution and certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).  In order to be qualified by the ABPS, a surgeon must undergo at least three to five years of training, with a good majority of it dedicated to plastic surgery.  Even when certified, to maintain it, doctors must continue with an ongoing education and take tests every 10 years.

While optional, you may want to also consider a doctor who is a member of a medical school, a published expert, a recipient of honors and/or a participant with local community outreach programs.

Be sure to look out for a doctor who has years of experience with arm lift surgeries in general.  Even if your surgeon has years of experience, it may be in other areas of the body.

Try to find a doctor who has privileges to work with a reputable local hospital.  This privileges can come in handy in case an emergency situation were to arise.

One of the most effective ways to find a good surgeon is also by looking at past pictures and talking with former patients.  You can also ask family or friends to see if they have ever worked with a surgeon in the past.

Arm reduction without surgery

Laser Tightening – Your doctor, if they have access to the technology, may be able to treat your arms with a surgical laser.  This high-powered laser can stimulate collagen production, a naturally-occurring protein which is responsible for your skin elasticity.  This option, often done multiple times, often involves no scarring, no discomfort and no scarring.

Thermage® – Similar to the laser skin tightening procedure, Thermage® will use radiofrequency waves instead of light energy, which when used, tightens the collagen fibers to create a youthful skin appearance.  While it won’t cure drooping skin, it can help enhance slightly loose skin.

VelaShape – Approved by the FDA, this innovation uses a combination of radiofrequency treatments, massages, infrared light and suctioning.  Effective on more than just the upper arms, this option will melt away any excess fat cells, allowing your body to absorb it naturally, creating a new appearance.  Like the previously mentioned methods, plan on going in for four to six treatments for desirable results.

Zerona® – Zerona® treatments will help liquefy fat cells, again, allowing your body to naturally absorb them.  Using a cold laser, this procedure causes no discomfort, scarring or downtime.


Advertising Disclosure: This content may include referral links. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.

Null

Average Reported Cost: $0

0 %
0 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Amazon Affiliate Disclosure
Copyright © 2018 | Proudly affiliated with the T2 Web Network, LLC
The information contained on this website is intended as an educational aid only and is not intended as medical and/or legal advice.