Dr. Michaels would like to congratulate you on your amazing weight loss. One consequence of your weight loss may be loose, hanging skin and residual fat deposits in your arms that may extend into your armpit area. This skin and residual fat may prevent you from wearing short sleeve shirts or force you to buy larger sized clothing that can accommodate your arms. This sagging skin can be a source of embarrassment for some patients and can make them feel very self-conscious. The arms are one of the most common areas that Dr. Michaels is asked to recontour following significant weight loss.


armliftYou are in experienced hands when you choose to undergo an arm lift, also known as a brachioplasty, with body contouring surgeonJoseph Michaels, MD, FACS. Dr. Michaels is a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in body contouring after significant weight loss. He is one of a few plastic surgeons to have completed a fellowship specifically dedicated to body contouring after weight loss. During your consultation, Dr. Michaels will carefully listen to goals and concerns and examine your specific anatomic needs. He will then tailor a treatment plan specifically to meet your needs.

Before and After Photos

An arm lift procedure is performed under general anesthesia and can be performed as an outpatient procedure when performed alone. As many post-weight loss patients have more than one area that they want corrected, it is not uncommon to combine other body contouring procedures with an arm lift. This option will be discussed with you during your consultation.

There are several techniques that Dr. Michaels offers his Rockville and Fairfax patients to optimize the contour of their arms. The position and length of the incision used for your procedure will depend on the extent of excess skin that remains in your arms. Patients that have loose skin that extends down to the level of their elbows will benefit most from an incision that extends to the elbow crease. Dr. Michaels places his incision on the inside of the arm between your bicep and tricep muscles. This incision placement allows for the maximum removal of skin with maximum discreteness. In a limited number of cases, Dr. Michaels will have to extend the incision onto the forearm if the skin laxity extends below the level of the elbow. For patients that have only excess skin in the proximal aspect of their arm, a limited arm lift can be performed with an incision that is hidden in the armpit crease. Dr. Michaels frequently combines liposuction with the arm lift procedure to achieve the optimal aesthetic contour. For patients that have excess adipose tissue, minimal loose skin and good skin tone, liposuction alone can be used to obtain the desired contour by removing the excess fat deposits while allowing the skin to contract.


After your arm lift procedure, you will need to take about one week off from work. During that time, you will need to avoid strenuous activity, including heavy lifting and exercise. You will also need to limit raising your elbows above your shoulders in the immediate post-operative period. Immediately after your procedure you will be placed in a compression garment that will need to be worn for four weeks.

Quick Facts


2-3 hours




Usually outpatient, may require overnight stay if performed with other procedures

Side effects

Temporary swelling, bruising, tightness and some pain


Pain, bleeding, infection, rare damage to nerves, asymmetry, incomplete improvement, recurrent laxity


1 week back at work. 2 weeks light exercise. 3 weeks more strenuous activity. 8-12 weeks for swelling to resolve.

Duration of results

Proper diet and exercise can prolong results

To schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Michaels to see if an arm lift, or brachioplasty, is an appropriate procedure to correct your arm contour, contact Michaels Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery by calling 301.468.5991 or 703.957.8610, or by clicking here.