Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) - La Jolla, San Diego, CA*

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No matter how healthy you are, including a balanced diet and exercise, the skin of the upper arms can become loose and hang down, creating what it commonly known as "bat wings." Even though loose skin cannot be prevented because it is caused by genetics and natural aging, it can be corrected with brachioplasty. Also known as arm lift surgery, a brachioplasty removes the loose, hanging skin from the upper arms then shapes the muscle, tissue, and remaining skin for a well-contoured result. Dr. Richard Chaffoo, a triple board-certified plastic surgeon, performs arm lift surgery for patients in the San Diego area at La Jolla Plastic Surgery. After an arm lift, you can show off your newly toned arms in the Southern California sun with sleeveless shirts.

Surgical Technique

An arm lift procedure is completed in 1-3 hours. Dr. Chaffoo performs all procedures at an accredited surgical facility where you will be carefully monitored and cared for by a highly trained surgical staff. The incision length for an arm lift largely depends on the amount of excess skin that is to be removed. In general, the incision stretches from the axilla (underarm) to the elbow. In cases where less skin removal is required, a semi-circular incision may be made in the underarms. If there is excess fat, this will be removed using liposuction. Excess skin is trimmed away, and the underlying tissues are tightened and reshaped with internal sutures. The incisions are closed with absorbable stitches or stitches that will be removed in 1-2 weeks.


Following your surgery, you may be allowed to go home with a responsible adult to begin your recover or you may need to spend a night in the hospital for extra care. Patients should follow all of Dr. Chaffoo's post-surgery instructions including taking medications, changing dressings, and attending follow-up appointments. Dr. Chaffoo's post-op instructions are designed to speed your recovery and give you your best results.

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Average Cost  
$7,000 - $8,000
Recovery Time  
6-8 Weeks
Average Procedure Time  
2-3 Hours
Procedure Recovery Location  
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Arm Lift FAQs

Best Candidates?

Arm lift surgery achieves the following goals:

  • Eliminates the appearance of “bat wings,” the loose skin which hangs from the upper arms
  • Reduces the excess accumulation of fat which can give the arms a flabby appearance
  • Restores a firmer, slimmer appearance to the arms through techniques to tighten the skin and underlying supportive tissues.
  • Allows you to wear sleeveless styles and swimwear with greater confidence

Arm Lipo?

In some patients, excess fat could be the problem, giving the upper arms a flabby appearance. If the patient has relatively young, healthy skin, this could be solved through liposuction alone. This is done with a thin cannula that suctions fatty tissue and does not require a larger incision. During your consultation, Dr. Chaffoo will determine which arm lift procedure will meet your needs and goals.

Seeing Results?

To reduce swelling and help your body conform to its new contours, you may be fitted with a compression garment that will be worn for approximately 4 weeks. Bruising and swelling usually diminishes within 1-2 weeks. Most patients are able to return to work in a week and resume exercise in about 4 weeks. The results of an arm lift are typically long-lasting provided that you maintain a stable weight.

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.