Learn more about

Arm Lift

Arm Lift

Average Cost



10-14 days

The length of the incision and whether or not liposuction is needed varies patient to patient.

Armlift Overview


An arm lift (also known as a brachioplasty) is a cosmetic surgical procedure that addresses loose sagging skin and excess fat in the triceps area of the upper arm. An arm lift candidate has typically lost a significant amount of weight or is experiencing issues as part of the aging process. 

Surgery Information

Anesthesia - General 

Facility - Accredited outpatient facility 

Recovery - 10-14 days

Cost - $9,800 - $12,000

Newport Beach board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph T. Cruise is one of the top surgeons in the area who performs cosmetic surgery on patients’ bodies as well as their faces. Many people who have lost a significant amount of weight are interested in bodily procedures such as liposuction and tummy tuck which can help them deal with sagging, loose skin left over after the weight loss. These patients are often interested in tightening up the skin on their arms and upper body as well, and often have questions about arm lift, also known as “brachioplasty.”

One way to determine if the arm lift procedure is right for you is to view before and after pictures to see patients’ results. Because he believes that every patient deserves high quality information in order to make their decision, Joseph T Cruise, MD has developed these pages to provide the best arm lift resource in Orange County.

See the topics below related to arm lift:

Arm Lift Overview

The brachioplasty procedure involves removing loose, sagging skin from the triceps area of the upper arm. The typical arm lift patient is someone who has lost a significant amount of weight and is left with excess skin that does not shrink to fit the new muscle and fat structures underneath. Some other arm lift patients are people whose skin has overstretched over time as it has lost elasticity, and the upper arm has become sagging and unsightly without weight loss. The loss of support from underlying fat and muscle in the arm that occurs with aging often contributes to saggy upper arms, and Joseph T Cruise, MD performs brachioplasty technique that addresses these issues and provides long-term results.

In addition to cosmetic surgery procedures that address the shape of a person’s chest, abdominal area, and lower body after weight loss, the excess skin remaining on the upper body can be removed with Joseph T Cruise, MD’s simple, two-part procedure. Joseph T Cruise, MD’s arm lift technique involves both a removal of the excess skin along the upper arm and in the armpit, as well as a re-suspension of underlying tissues that have lost elasticity. The two-part plastic surgery ensures that the issues that contributed to the sagging upper arms will be reversed, and the skin on the patient’s arms will not begin to sag again after the arm lift. Both parts of the surgery are performed at the same time, to minimize discomfort and recovery time for the patient.

Anyone considering an arm lift should be aware that most patients experience a lasting scar after the surgery. The incision scar runs along the underside of the upper arm and can often be hidden under clothing, but may be visible at times. There are cosmetic surgery procedures that can be performed to reduce scarring, as well as prescription and over-the-counter products to counteract a noticeable appearance, but patients considering brachioplasty should be aware that scarring is likely to occur.

Before your consultation with Joseph T Cruise, MD in his Newport Beach office, browse the gallery of before and after arm lift pictures to see real patients’ results and brachioplasty scars. You may want to consider how removal of sagging, excess skin will benefit you and weigh that against the feelings you have about permanent scarring. Discuss these concerns with Joseph T Cruise, MD at your consultation in order to make the right plastic surgery decision for you.

Joseph T Cruise's Cosmetic Arm Lift Philosophy

Dr. Joseph T. Cruise in a suit and tie

For me, the most important aspect of the brachioplasty is finding out exactly what a patient’s expectations are. Arm lift is an excellent operation to remove excess skin, however, it is not the best procedure option when a person has a significant amount of subcutaneous fat. If a patient plans to lose more weight in the future, it may be appropriate to wait to perform any plastic surgery until that time. In fact, the arm lift becomes much easier after a person loses all their planned weight, not while they are still reaching that goal.  The arm lift, itself, does not function as a weight lost procedure; it is only designed and performed to remove excess, sagging skin from the upper arms. If you are concerned that your upper arms contain subcutaneous fat that you would like removed, a combination of weight loss and liposuction may be right for you.

Benefits of Arm Lift

Patients with a significant amount of loose, hanging skin on the upper arm often report a number of benefits from their arm lift, including:

  • Removal of loose, hanging skin from the triceps
  • Wider choice of clothing options, more comfortable fit to shirts and dresses
  • Greater satisfaction with appearance and upper body confidence
  • Reduction of underarm rash, skin irritation, and discomfort
  • Better proportioned body shape

People who have worked hard to lose weight and who are then left with loose, sagging skin have many cosmetic surgery options to remove excess skin from various places on their body. The upper arm is one area that often is overlooked, but its excess skin will never shrink. If you want to tighten the skin on your upper arms to best complement your lower-weight, better-proportioned body consider how an arm lift will benefit you and your life.

Possible Brachioplasty Complications

The most common complication that results after the brachioplasty is an incision scar on the inside of the upper arm area, which is often hidden under clothing but can be noticeable in certain outfits. As with any surgery that requires an incision, there is a risk of infection, which can make scarring worse.

Rarely, some patients experience contour defects, blood or fluid collection, or other complications during the healing process. As an Orange County board-certified plastic surgeon Joseph T Cruise, MD has years of experience and knowledge that help him prevent these occasional complications. Joseph T Cruise, MD also provides all patients with instructions on how to prevent and recognize healing complications. If you have concerns about these or any other risks of arm lift surgery, please discuss your questions in person with a member of the Cruise Plastic Surgery staff at your consultation.

Are You a Good Candidate?

People who have a significant amount of loose skin on their upper arm, without a great deal of subcutaneous fat, are the best candidates for arm lift surgery. Often, these are patients who have recently lost a large amount of weight and their skin has not shrunk down to their new, smaller size. Other arm lift patients are people whose skin has been affected by aging, and over time they have developed sagging upper arms with skin that hangs from the underlying muscle and fat structures.

You can check the underlying structure of your arm to see if an arm lift will address your concerns. Pinch the skin of the upper arm between your fingertips – if your fingers almost meet with only a thin amount of fat between them, you are probably a good brachioplasty candidate.

If the amount of skin and fat between your fingers prevents them from getting very close together, an arm lift may not be practical until subcutaneous fat is removed. In patients with these circumstances, Joseph T Cruise, MD often discusses whether liposuction is an option to remove the fat before proceeding with any other cosmetic surgery procedures.

Prior to Arm Lift Surgery


  • Let the doctor know all medications you take daily.
  • Make sure all necessary paperwork, doctor’s clearance, and laboratory results are delivered to Joseph T Cruise, MD’s office.
  • Avoid sunbathing for 2 weeks prior to arm lift surgery.
  • Quit smoking at least 6 weeks prior to surgery, as nicotine can impair and delay healing.
  • 2 weeks prior to surgery, stop taking all aspirin-containing-products (Motrin, advil etc.), all medications that contains blood thinners, and any vitamin E and herbal supplements. You can take 1 multivitamin each day.


  • Medications prescribed by Joseph T Cruise, MD. Please discuss any questions you have about your prescriptions with a member of the Cruise Plastic Surgery staff.
  • A surgical garment that is designed for the greatest comfort for an arm lift surgery. These are available from compression garment specialist, Contour MD.
  • The prescription-strength cream ScarLess® with vitamin E, silicone, and Hydrocortisone will help minimize skin redness and elevation of the scars. ScarLess® is available at Joseph T Cruise, MD’s Newport Beach location.
  • A box, or two, of 4x4 gauze from your local drug store.

Optional for your Arm Lift

  • Arnica is an herb that may decrease bruising, or help it heal faster. Patients should discuss their medical history with Joseph T Cruise, MD, as people with high blood pressure should not take Arnica. If you are interested in its benefits for any potential brachioplasty bruising, Arnica is available at Joseph T Cruise’s office in Orange County.


  • Do not eat anything for 8 hours and drink anything for 6 hours before surgery.
  • You may shower and shampoo your hair the night before or morning of your surgery.
  • You may brush and rinse your teeth, but do not eat or drink anything. Do not wear makeup or moisturizers on your face or eyes.
  • Do not bring any jewelry or valuables with you to your arm lift surgery.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes, preferably a button-up or zip-up top. Wear flat, comfortable shoes. Remove contact lenses, dentures, and nipple rings before surgery.
  • You will need someone to drive you home after surgery, and stay with you to assist you the first night.
  • Take 2 pills of Zofran and 2 pills of Celebrex at 1-2 hours before surgery.

Brachioplasty Anesthesia

Joseph T Cruise, MD works with only Orange County board-certified anesthesiologists to make sure you have the best anesthesia experience. Based on your medical history, the extent of the arm lift procedure, and your personal preferences, you and the anesthesiologist will determine the best anesthesiology plan. Generally, patients are under general anesthesia for their brachioplasty. However, it can be performed under a combination of local anesthetics and sedation, depending on the extent of the surgery.

After the Arm Lift

The procedure will take approximately 2-3 hours.

  • Get plenty of rest and limit yourself to light activities the first 10 days after cosmetic surgery. Sleep and rest with your head slightly elevated for the first 3 days.
  • You may take a cool shower the day after arm lift surgery. Make sure you have someone available to help you. Let water run gently over the drains exits. Dab dry. Place gauze over drain exit. Put garment back on.
  • 2-3 weeks after brachioplasty you can remove your steri-strips. Apply ScarLess®, allow it to dry, and then re-apply silicone sheets twice a day for the next two months.
  • Your incision sutures will dissolve on their own.
  • Avoid lifting anything heavier than 5 pounds for the first 2 weeks.
  • Do not drive for the first week, or any time you take your pain medications. Do not do heavy housework and do not perform any work-out routine for the first 3 weeks. You may begin a lower-body workout at that time, but Joseph T Cruise, MD encourages you not to perform an upper-body workout for at least 8 weeks after an arm lift surgery.
  • Wear a post-surgery compression garment for 8 weeks, unless Joseph T Cruise, MD instructs you differently.
  • Avoid exposing the incision to sunlight for at least 6 weeks. After 6 weeks, apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) to the incision area anytime you will be in the sun for extended periods of time.
  • Do not smoke for at least 1 week after brachioplasty, as nicotine can impair healing and may cause complications.
  • Do not use aspirin-containing products for at least 1 week. You may take Tylenol or pain medication as prescribed.
  • You may apply ice or cold compresses on the arms for the first 48 hours to decrease swelling. Do not apply ice directly to your skin.
  • Be sure to use all your plastic surgery medications as directed.
  • 4-8 weeks after a surgery some patients experience a small part of their incision opening up. It often looks like a pimple and the skin is red and irritated. This condition is a Stitch Abscess, which happens when a suture does not dissolve properly. Wash the area with soap and water and apply Neosporin or Polysporin. Call the office if the redness is larger than a dime.


  • Immediately after arm lift surgery, some patients feel groggy or nauseous. These feelings normally subside by the next day.
  • Many patients experience some discomfort for the first 3-4 days and soreness for the first 2 weeks.
  • Some patients experience swelling and bruising, which usually disappears within 2 weeks.
  • Brachioplasty patients experience a scar along the upper arm. The area will be reddest from 8-12 weeks, and can take as long as 18 months to fully mature.
  • Commonly, rippling and unevenness around incisions can be seen. The texture will become smoother about 3 months after the surgery.


Joseph T Cruise’s patients rarely experience complications after their brachioplasty surgery, and Cruise Plastic Surgery encourages patients to call if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • a temperature of 101 F or higher
  • increased redness or warmth near the incision site
  • chest pain or shortness of breath
  • swelling in the legs or calf pain
  • discharge from the incision line
  • if one arm appears significantly larger or is more tender than the other
  • if your pain and discomfort increases rather than decreases in the first 5 days
  • if you feel that something is wrong. Trust your instincts.

Please call the Orange County Cruise Plastic Surgery office during regular business hours: 949-644-4808.

After hours, page Joseph T Cruise, MD: 714-304-8050.


Blood Clot
  • It is important that a patient walks at least every 2 hours when awake, in order to prevent blood clotting, but be careful not to over exert themselves. Immediately after arm lift surgery you will be instructed to walk around every hour.
  • Pay specific attention to your legs and whether or not they swell. If you notice swelling on only one leg, or have calf pain, contact the office.
Drain Function
  • Make sure that your incision drains function.
  • Empty drains every 8 hours or when they become more than half full. Write down the amount of drainage each time.
  • Do not be concerned if the fluid from the body around the edges of the arm lift drain.
  • You may need to milk the tube if it appears to be clogged.
  • Drains come out after 2-3 days, depending on the amount of drainage.
  • The incision drain always causes some discomfort,  but it is absolutely necessary for the surgery sites to heal correctly.
  • If you are constipated on day 2 stop taking Vicodin or Darvocet.
  • Encourage walking, drinking additional water, and consider taking a laxative (Ex-lax or Correctol) to relieve your discomfort.
    Coughing and deep breathing for the first 3 days after surgery helps to prevent an elevated fever. Call Cruise Plastic Surgery if your temperature is over 101 degrees F.
  • You can take a cool shower the day after brachioplasty. Dab dry. Make sure you have someone to help you.
  • Walk every hour while awake for the first day, and every 2 hours for the next 3 days after that.
  • Sleep at 45 degree angle for the first 3 nights.
  • Wait for your body to heal before attempting to exercise. If an activity is painful, stop immediately and wait 2-3 days to attempt that exercise again.
  • After 2 weeks, you can exercise areas other than your chest. Do not begin upper-body workouts until at least 8 weeks after arm lift surgery.
Wound Care
  • Always wear your cosmetic surgery compression garment as directed.
  • Keep surgical area clean and dry at all times while recovering from brachioplasty.
  • 2-3 weeks after surgery, you can remove the steri-strips. Apply ScarLess®, allow it to dry, and then apply silicone sheet twice per day for two months.

Recovery from Cosmetic Arm Lift

Most patients return to work approximately 1 week after the arm lift procedure. People whose work requires strenuous arm and upper body movement may decide to take additional time to hal after the surgery, and often do not return to work for 2 to 3 weeks.

During your recovery time you will attend post-surgery follow-up appointments at the Cruise Plastic Surgery office in Orange County. During those visits, be sure to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with Joseph T Cruise, MD or another member of the staff. They will also discuss with you how to minimize the appearance of scarring that often occurs after brachioplasty, and assess the state of your incisions and how they are healing. It is very important that patients attend these appointments, so that Joseph T Cruise, MD can ensure the best results and help you prevent any complications.

Cost of Arm Lift / Brachioplasty

Patients interested in body sculpting, including arm lift, often have questions about its cost. An arm lift, also known as “brachioplasty” is the process of removing excess, loose, drooping skin from a patient’s triceps area on the arm. Dr. Joseph T. Cruise of Orange County has been specializing in this procedure for years, and has seen patients benefit from both the external, and internal, benefits of the procedure. He and his staff at Cruise Plastic Surgery believe that the cost of an arm lift is an investment in yourself, an investment in your personal happiness.

Quality vs. Value

While price may play into a patient’s decision when choosing a surgeon for their brachioplasty, it is not the only important factor. The best results are produced by plastic surgeons with extensive training and experience, those who consistently keep up-to-date with the latest technologies and techniques. Please visit our extensive gallery of arm lift before and after pictures .

Joseph T Cruise’s Approach

An arm lift is designed to remove excess skin and tighten underlying structures, but is not possible for patients with too much subcutaneous fat in their arm. Often, the arm lift is performed in conjunction with liposuction, to remove both the excess fat and the excess skin from the arm. The approach offers arms that are tightened, more youthful, more shapely, but also may affect the cost of the arm lift when you combine procedures.

On average, brachioplasty cost ranges between $9,800 and $12,000, depending on the amount of skin that needs to be removed and the length of surgery. During your consultation with Joseph T Cruise, MD you will discuss your concerns and desired results, and the staff of Cruise Plastic Surgery will be able to provide you will a more individualized estimate for the cost of your arm lift.

Find out more about cost of arm lift / brachioplasty financing options available through Cruise Plastic Surgery.