Arm Lift / Brachioplasty

It’s not too much to ask to want to wear a sleeveless shirt and feel good about it. Whether your arms are simply larger than you would like, you have lost a lot of weight, or despite working out, the skin on your arms just won’t tighten up enough, an arm lift procedure may be right for you. Now, there are multiple options available to improve the contour of your arms, from the minimally invasive Smartlipo to full brachioplasty. You will find that Dr. Mancoll has more options available than most plastic surgeons.

Ideal Candidate

You may be a good candidate for an arm lift procedure if you are in good emotional and physical health. Ideal candidates should be close to their ideal body weight and should not smoke. Patients should have realistic expectations about the procedure.


Smartlipo Sculpting of the Arms

The biggest drawback for most people looking to tighten the skin on their arms is the possibility of a long scar that goes from the elbow to the underarm. Smartlipo is an option for patients with a mild to moderate amount of extra fat and skin laxity. Through a series of small incisions, the Smartlipo laser probe can be inserted under the skin, where it can be used to loosen up fat and tightened skin (see Smartlipo section for more details). An additional advantage of this technique for many patients is that it can be done without the use of general anesthesia.

Short Scar Brachioplasty

Depending on how much skin laxity one has, a brachioplasty may be able to be performed and the scar hidden in the natural creases of the underarm. This is a nice alternative to the full scar technique but may not offer as much tightening, particularly for those patients who have lost a lot of weight.

Full Scar Brachioplasty

For those patients who have lost a lot of weight either through diet and exercise or after bariatric surgery, a large amount of excess skin on the arms is not uncommon. Although minimal scar techniques are available, for some patients there may be no avoiding a scar that goes from the underarm to the elbow. These do hide nicely in the natural creases of the arm. Another benefit of this procedure is the ability to get the maximum skin tightening and arm contouring of any technique.


The total cost of an arm lift is determined by various factors, including the following:

  • Facility fees
  • Anesthesia fees
  • Surgical fees
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgery garments

Since arm lift surgery is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not usually covered by insurance. Even for those patients who have lost a great deal of weight, it is very unusual for insurance to approve this procedure.Feel free to contact the surgical coordinator for pricing and to request more information about this or other cosmetic procedures.

Potential Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with having arm lift surgery, such as scars, infection, bleeding, asymmetries, postoperative discomfort, and adverse reaction to anesthesia. Although significant complications are uncommon, patients should understand that any surgery, performed for any reason, has risks and should not be taken lightly.

Dr. Mancoll prides himself on his ability to communicate with his patients and tailors each discussion to thepatient’s individual needs. Dr. Mancoll and his staff will spend time helping you understand your procedure. You should feel free to ask questions at anytime, and if you don’t understand the information we will be more than happy to go over it again.


After surgery, bandages and a specialized compression garment are applied to the arms. Although pain and swelling may be present, these symptoms can be alleviated by prescribed medication. Patients can usually return to work within 3 to 5 days, depending on the type of procedure they have and the type of work they do. Strenuous activity and exercise should be avoided for the first 3 or 4 weeks following surgery.


Our Virginia Beach plastic surgeon, Dr. John S. Mancoll, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) His experience and dedication ensures a safe and effective outcome for each patient. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Mancoll, please call (757) 305-9185 or fill out our online contact form today.