Tight and well formed upper arms

Due to severe weight loss or genetic predisposition, sagging of the skin on the upper arms is possible. Due to the loss of elasticity and reduction of the skin’s ability to tighten, unsightly excess skin forms – mostly on the inner sides of the upper arms. Sport can’t help here either. The sagging of the tissue, which is perceived as unsightly, limits the quality of life and self-esteem of many sufferers, resulting in a desire for firm and shapely upper arms.

What is an upper arm lift?

Surplus and hanging tissue is removed during a lifting operation. In order to tighten the tissue as gently and evenly as possible, the subcutaneous fatty tissue is suctioned off. The contours become slimmer and the skin tighter. The scars of an arm lift are hidden on the inside of the upper arm.

On the upper arms, adipose tissue is preferentially metabolized during frequent weight fluctuations [1]. If the elasticity of the skin and the supporting tissue decreases due to slimming or also with increasing age, sagging excess skin remains. Unshaped upper arms and restricted movement can be the result. The sagging skin wobbles with every movement. Angle arms often produce a high level of psychological distress [2]. The shape, contours and proportions of the upper arm can be improved with an upper arm lift, also called brachioplasty. Arm lifts have been performed since 1930 and have been continuously developed since then [3]. In 2018, approximately 170,000 upper arm lifts were performed worldwide [4]. Ninety percent of upper arm lifts are performed in women, usually around the age of forty [5].

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Upper arm lift facts

OP duration 2h
Anesthesia General anesthesia / Twilight sleep / Fast recovery surgery
Clinic stay Outpatient
Costs To the price calculator
Aftercare 6 weeks
Thread traction Self dissolving threads
Socially acceptable after 5 days
Supplements or alternatives Needling

How much does an upper arm lift cost?

Would you like to know the price of an upper arm lift? With the help of our free interactive price calculator, you can determine the cost of your upper arm lift in just a few clicks. If you have any questions, you can also contact us at any time by phone as well as by e-mail or simply book your personal consultation via our online tool for making appointments.

When do we speak of angled arms?

Weight fluctuations can cause sagging skin on the upper arms in both women and men. If the skin and fatty tissue hang down limply when the upper arm is held high, this is colloquially referred to as an angled arm. The amount of fat tissue in the upper arms differs depending on the body type. The expression of excess skin can be classified according to the size of the hanging skin flap [6]. After severe weight loss, the skin sags more than ten centimeters below the upper arm.

Upper arm lift by the health insurance company

An upper arm lift or liposuction of the upper arms is usually not covered by health insurance. A rare exception is the abnormal fat distribution disorder, also called Madelung lipomatosis or Launois-Bensaude syndrome. In this case, fat storage occurs mostly on the neck, shoulders and upper arms. The disease occurs predominantly in Europe in men between the ages of 45 and 65 years [7].

Financing an upper arm lift

In our menu under the item “Costs” you will find a special section on financing options. There we provide valuable tips and advice on how to finance your cosmetic surgery on the arms. We would also be happy to advise you in a personal consultation on the subject of financing cosmetic surgery.

Upper arm lift without surgery

More and more people are succeeding in shedding unhealthy lifestyles and achieving a healthy body weight. Accordingly, there is a steadily growing demand for upper arm lifts. Thanks to modern and gentle procedures, outpatient surgical skin tightening of the upper arms is usually less painful than laser or ultrasound treatment. Nevertheless, the prospect of tightening the upper arms without surgery is tempting. There are enough advertising promises for firm or slim arms. But what can alternative treatments really do?

CO2 LaserLasers transmit energy in the form of light. When a laser hits tissue, intense heat is generated and burns occur. The body’s reparative processes stimulate collagen production, smoothing fine lines.CO2 laser has been used to improve skin appearance since 1989 [8].The collagen stimulation of a laser is not suitable for tightening the face or for tightening sagging skin on the upper arms.
Laser lipolysis (SlimLipo™)Lasers can be used in fatty tissue as part of liposuction. Fat tissue is melted down by heat development.Lasers have been used in conjunction with liposuction since 1992 [9].The technique carries a risk of internal combustion. However, the technique is not suitable for noticeable skin tightening [10] [11].
Thread liftsBarbs of the threads of the thread lift move the subcutaneous fat tissue by a few millimeters. In addition, the degradation of the synthetic material results in local collagen formation.Sutures made of the absorbable material PDO (Polydioxanone) have been used in plastic surgery for suturing wounds since 1983 [12].There is currently no scientific evidence to support the use of PDO sutures for tightening upper arms.
Radio frequencyThe high-frequency alternating current of radiofrequency technology generates heat. Similar to laser technology, radiofrequency technology can be used as a supplement in liposuction.Radiofrequency technology has been used in surgery for hemostasis since 1940 [13].Upper arm lift with radiofrequency technology has a higher complication rate with comparable results [14].
Ultrasound (Ultherapy®)Bundled high-intensity ultrasound (HIFU), the tissue is destroyed by heat.HIFU technology was first used in 1960 to treat nerve diseases [15].The reports of few individual cases after Ulthera treatments are encouraging but cannot be compared with the effect of upper arm lift [16].
KryolipolyseDuring cryolipolysis, the body tissue is cooled to four to ten degrees. Cooling of a circumscribed body surface leads to the demise of fat cells.The technique has been used since 2009 and results in a slight reduction of fatty tissue in small circumscribed areas of the body.A firming effect of cryolipolysis is not expected.
Fett-Weg-SpritzeDeoxycholic acid dissolves the cell wall and thus destroys the fat cells.Kybella™, also called deoxycholic acid or ATX-101, has been approved in the US since 2015 but not in Europe. The fat-away injection, also called injection lipolysis, is suitable for the correction of small fat deposits, for example sagging cheeks.Both the risks and the costs are disproportionate when trying to treat the upper arms. The fat removal injection does not have a skin tightening effect.
SportsDumbbell exercises, terra-band exercises and EMS (electro-myo-stimulation) go hand in hand with fat burning.Sport has countless positive and health-promoting properties.For a skin-tightening effect, however, there is no scientific evidence.
Hyaluronic acid, creamsDaily care of the skin with replenishing and moisturizing lotions prevents skin damage.Oils and fat for skin care were already used by the ancient Egyptians [17].Despite intensive research, neither drugs nor medical devices currently have a provable role in the treatment of angle arms.

Upper arm lift surgical techniques

Choosing the right surgical technique is the key to a successful result. Which of the surgical techniques is appropriate depends on the size of the hanging skin flap as well as the amount of fatty tissue. Furthermore, the skin elasticity and the extent of the desired tightening and circumference reduction are decisive. Accordingly, either removal of the excess skin or liposuction as well as a combination of both procedures may be indicated. Removal of excess skin from the entire upper arm is accompanied by a scar that is very inconspicuous if the surgeon plans carefully. Skin tightening techniques differ in terms of the length, location and course of the scar. Previous techniques left visible scars on the back or inside of the upper arm, which could be seen from the front or back depending on the viewing angle [18]. Feedback from our patients and scientific studies show that a scar between the inside and the back of the upper arm is barely noticeable [19].

Upper arm liposuction: gentle and targeted liposuction of the upper arm has become an indispensable part of any upper arm lift [20]. In young female patients, liposuction may already be sufficient to contour the upper arms, as excess skin will partially recede. Depending on the excess skin and skin elasticity, supplementary liposuction can be used to operate in a particularly scar-saving manner. The use of vibratory liposuction (SAFE-Lipo) has proven effective in protecting the lymphatic vessels and nerves.

Upper arm lift techniques

Scar-saving I-technique: In young female patients with good skin tone, the particularly scar-saving I-technique can be used. Ideally, there is only a moderate increase in circumference. The excess skin, should be limited to the upper arm close to the body. In these cases, the scar is confined entirely to the axilla and is not visible even in a bikini [21].

Scar-saving mini T-technique: If the excess skin mainly affects the upper arm close to the body, tightening is successful with a short scar that is not visible in a T-shirt or short-sleeved or sleeveless clothing. For the greatest possible tightening effect, we combine this technique with skin tightening along the axial fold. In this way, the greatest possible tightening effect can be achieved, with a small and barely visible T-shaped scar at the same time.

T-shaped upper arm lift: This technique is suitable for removing a pronounced excess of skin on the upper arm. The technique was first described in 1979 [22]. In order to achieve more inconspicuous scars, the execution of the technique was further developed and combined with liposuction [23].

L-shaped upper arm lift: This technique is a combination of an upper arm lift and a lift of the lateral chest below the armpits. The scar runs from the underside of the upper arm to the lateral chest in an L-shape. This technique was first described by the Brazilian plastic surgeon Pitanguy in 1975 [24]. Advancements in this technique and combination with liposuction involve inconspicuous scars [25].

Z-shaped upper arm lift: the technique describes the interruption of a straight wound course in the armpit by a Z-pattern so as not to affect arm mobility. This technique is used only when excess skin is removed from the upper arm and additionally from the lateral chest. Z-plasty is a widely used plastic surgical technique described as early as 1837 and its use in upper arm lift was first mentioned in 1979 [26] [27].

1. lymph nodes of the axilla 2. lymphatics of the upper arm 3. cutaneous nerves of the inner side of the upper arm (nervus cutaneus brachii medialis) 4. main vein of the upper arm (vena cephalica) 5. vein of the inner side of the upper arm (vena basilica) 6 . cutaneous nerves of the inner side of the forearm (nervus cutaneus antebrachii medialis)

Upper arm lift eliminates troublesome sagging skin on the upper lobe. According to your needs, different techniques of tightening can be applied: the scar-saving I-technique, the scar-saving mini-T-technique, and the T-, L- or Z-shaped upper arm lift. If necessary, fatty tissue is suctioned at the same time to achieve slimmer contours.

What can I expect during an upper arm lift consultation?

During the consultation, your individual goals will be discussed and ways to achieve those goals will be outlined. We attach great importance to careful planning. In order for your plastic surgeon to be able to prepare for the interview in the best possible way, we ask you to fill out a short questionnaire in advance. To better prevent risks, the doctor also needs information about your lifestyle habits and concomitant diseases. After examining your upper arms, the various treatment steps will be discussed. We take the time you need not only to answer common questions, but also to address your individual doubts about upper arm lift. At the end of the consultation you will receive a personal offer.

Upper arm lift without general anesthesia?

Every patient is different. Therefore, there is no universal solution in medicine. Modern anesthesia offers many procedures to ensure your comfort and freedom from pain. Two common procedures are twilight sleep and general anesthesia.

Unlike general anesthesia, twilight sleep does not require artificial respiration. However, artificial respiration is not a prerequisite for upper arm lift without pain. Twilight sleep in combination with local anesthesia (local anesthesia) is very gentle, has few side effects and is safe. Long-acting anesthesia provides rapid recovery and comfort. Both the aesthetic surgeons and the anesthesiologist will be happy to advise you.

How can you prepare for an upper arm lift?

Lifting upper arm Saarbrücken
  • All your questions about possible complications and alternative treatments should be answered in advance.
  • Keep nicotine and alcohol consumption to a minimum!
  • The intake of hormone-containing medications (pill) may be necessary. temporarily discontinue.
  • Blood-thinning medication (e.g. ASA, Thomapyrin®) must be at least 10 days before the cosmetic surgery (after consultation with your attending physician) should be discontinued.
  • Vitamin preparations (A & E) and food supplements (omega-3 fatty acids or St. John’s wort preparations, etc.) must be taken for at least one month. Be discontinued 4 weeks prior to the surgical procedure.
  • Surgery limits the ability to travel by air. Therefore, you should not plan any air travel in the 6 weeks after the procedure, both professionally and privately!

How is an upper arm lift performed?

Upper arm lift
  • As a rule, the procedure can be performed under twilight sleep or general anesthesia. As a rule, hospitalization is not required.
  • Since self-dissolving threads are used, no thread traction is necessary.
  • The duration of the operation is about 2 hours, depending on the individual findings.

What is the exact procedure for an upper arm lift?

On the day of surgery, you will be met by your surgeon after you have checked in with us. A routine check-up follows before your doctor transfers the surgical plan onto the skin with a special pen. Then the anesthesiologist greets you and checks all safety precautions again. You will then be escorted to the operating room of the clinic or, in our case, the operating room of the practice, where the entire surgical team will be ready for you. While you listen to some music to relax, the team begins the final preparations. After you fall asleep, the upper arm is anesthetized and the surgical procedure begins. Following the surgical upper arm lift, you can rest and after a short time you can also drink and eat something. You can be picked up about two hours after the aesthetic procedure. Your surgeon will discuss with you beforehand the course of the operation and behavioral instructions that should be followed in the following days. If necessary, your doctor can also be reached by telephone. To monitor healing, you will be offered four to six examination appointments.

Aftercare after upper arm lift

Even an optimally performed surgery requires good aftercare to achieve a perfect result. In order for you to recover in peace after the operation and look forward to the good result, only a few things need to be taken into account:

  • Healing after surgery takes about ten to fourteen days. During this time, your doctor should inspect the wound two to three times.
  • You can shower already on the third day after the operation. We recommend that you shower in the morning before your surgery appointment so that the wound can be re-bandaged afterwards. Remove the patch before showering. After showering, no soap residue should remain. Then dry the arms with a fresh towel and apply a new patch.
  • The threads dissolve by themselves and do not need to be removed.
  • Massaging the scar with a fat cream from the third week onwards supports scar healing. This makes the scars particularly inconspicuous.
  • Avoid vigorous or enduring physical activity through sports or heavy labor for the first four weeks.
  • Wearing a special tight-fitting shirt, also called a compression girdle, prevents the development of swelling. We recommend wearing the compression girdle for four to six weeks, depending on the state of swelling.

Upper arm lift together with tummy tuck, thigh lift or breast lift?

Those who have achieved their goal of greater weight loss often suffer from the sight of sagging skin. Usually, several areas of the body are affected, such as the upper arms, thighs, abdomen and breasts. Aesthetic plastic surgery techniques help to achieve firmer body contours. The combination of several lifting operations is also called body lifting. Combining a tummy tuck, breast tuck, arm tuck and leg tuck into one surgery comes with avoidable risks. Both health status and surgical effort affect risks. Therefore, it should always be decided individually how many and which aesthetic surgery treatments are combined in one procedure.

What are the risks of an upper arm lift?

Surgical methods and anesthesia procedures are becoming safer and safer. Nevertheless, every treatment also involves possible risks. The patient’s health status and lifestyle habits affect the risks. Therefore, the risks in healthy nonsmokers are expected to be lower than the following averages:

  • Wound healing disorder: 3.1 percent.
  • Wound water accumulation (seroma): 3.0 percent.
  • Water retention (lymphedema): 1.6 percent.
  • Nerve injuries: 1.5 percent [28].

Gentle liposuction, wearing a compression bodice and physical rest during the first week counteract the risks of wound water accumulation or lymphedema. In the vast majority of cases, the complaints arising from the above complications improve on their own. Follow-up surgery is required in only 1.6 percent of cases [29].

Before and after pictures of an upper arm lift

If you are unhappy with your upper arms and want to know what kind of results you can expect from this cosmetic surgery, you will want to see before and after photos of an upper arm lift. Such images may not be presented on the website for legal reasons. However, you will have the opportunity to view before and after pictures of upper arm lift surgeries performed during a personal consultation. These images are of course subject to data protection. Patients have given prior consent for the photographs to be used to educate other patients. When selecting the photos to show you, care is taken to ensure that you have a similar starting point (age, gender, as well as other relevant factors) so that you get a realistic picture of what final result to expect.

Field report of an upper arm lift

Reading reviews of surgeons and medical practices in general on so-called medical review portals can help patients find a good doctor for the treatment they want. In addition, there are also reviews or testimonials on Google or other websites on the Internet that can round off the picture. Make sure there are enough posts so they can expect a realistic average overall picture of the treating physicians’ experience and professionalism. Through the impressions and experiences, as well as the feedback on the final results, you can choose the appropriate plastic aesthetic surgeon to plan your cosmetic surgery without fear and be sure of a good result.

Upper arm lift abroad

More and more frequently, patients search the Internet for surgeons abroad (e.g. Poland, Turkey, Holland or Austria) who perform cosmetic surgery such as upper arm lift. The main reason for this is the cost. For example, foreign facilities are increasingly luring unsuspecting patients via social media. They advertise with promises and high discounts, a practice that would be punishable in Germany. We strongly advise you to get detailed information about the experience and training of the surgeons. As a rule, these important criteria are not dealt with on the websites, or only briefly. Unfortunately, complications often arise due to a lack of qualifications. In retrospect, it happens that they rename themselves to cover their tracks. [30]

So be sure to get detailed information about the practice and the surgeon you are trusting.


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The author

Unsere Fachärzte für Plastische Chirurgie Saarbrücken
Dr. med. Stéphane Stahl

“We provide you with extensive expert knowledge so that we can work with you to select the best possible treatment path.”

Dr. med. Stéphane steel is the former director of the Clinic for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery / Hand Surgery at the Lüdenscheid Clinic. Dr. Stahl studied medicine at the Universities of Freiburg and Berlin. In 2011 he passed the European and 2012 the German specialist examination for plastic and aesthetic surgery. Further specialist qualifications and additional qualifications followed (including quality management, medical didactics, physical therapy, emergency medicine, laser protection officers, hand surgery) as well as prizes and awards. In 2015 he completed his habilitation in plastic and aesthetic surgery in Tübingen. He is an experienced microsurgeon, a sought-after expert and a regular speaker at specialist congresses. After a multi-stage selection process, Stéphane Stahl became a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), one of the world’s largest and most influential specialist societies for aesthetic surgery. His authorship includes numerous articles in respected peer review journals and standard surgical textbooks.


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