Kenneth Hughes, M.D., Harvard Trained, Board Certified Plastic SurgeonHarvard Club of Southern California Member
Harvard Alumni Association Member
Hablamos Español

Arm Lift Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Hughes has performed hundreds of body contouring procedures for patients after massive weight loss or pregnancy in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. Sometimes, the patient may require a tummy tuck or a full body lift, a thigh lift,a breast lift, an armlift ( or arm lift or brachioplasty), or a combination of these.

The arm lift (arm lift)or brachioplasty in its most basic sense addresses loose skin and residual fat of the upper arms. Two variants of the arm lift procedure exist, and they differ in their scar patterns and amount of skin and fat that can be removed.

An axillary (or armpit) incision can be used to remove a small ellipse of tissue. This arm lift is best utilized for patients who have loose skin confined to the arm pit area or uppermost aspect of the arm. This arm lift can be combined with upper arm liposuction in the right patient to produce a dramatic improvement in upper arm contour. The scar remains hidden within the armpit. Please see the photo gallery for arm lift (brachioplasty) for examples of this surgery.

The axillary arm lift with liposuction takes about 1 hour to perform. The procedure is done in our outpatient surgery center, and the patient goes home the same day. The procedure has a short recovery period, and patients are usually back to work in a few days. The patient can expect some bruising and swelling that improves over the first week. However, the final result is seen after 3 months or longer as the body is able to reduce the swelling in the arms and form a mature scar.

The second type of arm lift combines the arm pit incision with an incision hidden on the inside of the arm. This surgery is often referred to as an L-shaped brachioplasty or an extended brachioplasty. Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight or have a great deal of loose skin may benefit from this more extensive arm skin reduction and lift. This extended arm lift allows more fat and skin to be removed and it can produce a much better contour. There are examples of this brachioplasty or arm lift in the arm lift photo galleries.

The extended arm lift of L-shaped arm lift takes about 2 hours to perform. The procedure is done in our outpatient surgery center, and the patient goes home the same day. This procedure has a longer recovery period with patients going back to work in a week. The patient can expect some bruising and swelling that improves over the first two to three weeks. However, the final result is not seen until 6 months or longer as the body is able to reduce the swelling in the arms and form a mature scar.

In general, patients are very happy with the removal of the excess skin and they feel much more comfortable in their clothing. For many, being able to wear short sleeve clothing is a liberating experience.

Dr. Hughes will help you choose the arm lift procedure that is right for you based upon your anatomy and your preferences.

View Arm Lift Los Angeles Beverly Hills Before and After Photo Galleries

Where is the scar placed in the armlift?

The short scar brachioplasty is placed within the armpit but is appropriate for very few patients and produces much less improvement than the L-shaped scar that extends down the inner aspect of the arm. The goal of the surgery is to conceal the scar within the inner aspect of the arm in both cases.

How long is the scar?

Dr. Hughes only makes the scar as long as is necessary and no longer. For some patients, a smaller scar may be enough to improve the arms in a maximal way.

How does the patient care for the scars after surgery?

The scars can widen after surgery and it is important to minimize both overhead activity or repetitive activity at the elbow during the early healing period of the first 6 weeks. There should be no strenuous activity or heavy lifting.



  • STOP SMOKING: Smoking reduces circulation to the skin and impedes healing. It is best to avoid smoking, second hand smoke and cigarette replacements, such as nicotine patches or gum, in the perioperati ve period. While you should ideally stop smoking for 2 weeks before and after your surgical procedure, YOU MUST NOT SMOKE FOR A MINIMUM OF 24 HOURS BEFORE AND 24 HOURS AFTER SURGERY.
  • TAKE MULTIVITAMINS: Start taking multivitamins twice daily to improve your general health once you have scheduled your surgery.
  • TAKE VITAMIN C: Start taking 500 mg of Vitamin C twice dai ly to promote healing.
  • START TAKING AN IRON SUPPLEMENT: A good iron supplement, such as Feosol Spansules, is required starting one week before surgery and four weeks following surgery. Bowel movements may appear darker than usual as a result. Feosol is available without prescription.
  • DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN OR IBUPROFEN: Stop taking medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen. Review the list of drugs containing aspirin and ibuprofen carefully. Such drugs can cause bleeding problems during and after surgery. Instead, use medications containing acetaminophen (such as Tylenol).
  • LIMIT VITAMIN E: Limit your intake of Vitamin E to less than 400 mg per day.
  • FILL YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS: You will be given prescri ptions for medications. Please have them filled BEFORE the day of surgery and bring them with you.
  • CONFIRM SURGERY TIME: We wi ll call you to confinn the time of your surgery. If you are not going to be at home or at your office, please call us to confirm at (310) 275-4170.
  • PRESCRIPTIONS: Make sure that you have filled the prescriptions you were given and set the medications out to bring with you tomorrow. Make sure to have the number for your pharmacy ready so that if Dr. Hughes and associates need to call in any special medications for you on your day of surgery they wi ll have that infonnation readily available.
  • CLEANSING: The night before surgery, shower and wash the surgical areas with an antibacterial soap such as Dial, Safeguard, pHisoHex, or Phase II I.
  • EATING AND DRINKING: Do not eat or drink anything after 12:00 midnight except for a small amount of water to rinse your mouth while brushing your teeth.
  • SPECIAL INFORMATION: Do not eat or drink anything! Ifyou take a daily medication, you may take it with a sip of water in the early morning.
  • ORAL HYGIENE: You may brush your teeth but do not swallow the water.
  • CLEANS ING: Shower and wash the surg ical areas again with an antibacterial soap such as Dial, Safeguard, pHisoHex, or Phase Ill.
  • MAKE-UP: Please do not wear moisturizers, creams, lotions, or makeup.
  • CLOTHING: Wear only comfortable, loose-fining clothing that does not go over your head. NO TIGHT PANTS. Remove hairpins, wigs, and jewelry. Please do not bring valuables with you.
  • You should plan to arrive 45 minutes earlier than your scheduled surgery time. Patients less than 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. When you arrive at our office on the day of your surgery, give the receptionist the phone number of the pharmacy you would like us to call for any spec ial medications Dr. Hughes and associates might prescribe.
  • CARETAKER: Someone must spend the first night after surgery with you.



  1. The first week or two you will need to rest frequently. You need to walk around the house as tolerated. Walking long distances around the neighborhood or as a form of exercise is to be avoided. Avoid stairs and try to remain on one level if you have to navigate stairs.
  2. For the first week post-op sleep on your back with your head elevated and pillows under your arms. This will keep the tension off your arms. Do not sleep on your side or stomach.
  3. Avoid picking anything up greater than 5 lbs the first 6 weeks.
  5. DO NOT REACH ABOVE HEAD OR BEND FOR 4-6 WEEKS. Do not extend your arms overhead and do not reach for items as this can put tension on the incisions and cause the incisions to open. This can lead to delayed wound healing and a need for revision.
  6. You may not drive the first week or while you are taking pain medication. After that it will depend on your ability to handle a car without causing any discomfort. You should wear your seatbelt at all times.
  7. Do not engage in sexual activity for at least 4-6 weeks after your surgery.
  8. NO SMOKING. This will interfere with your healing and could have major consequences.


  1. Eat light the first 24 hours, clear liquids advancing to a regular diet as tolerated.
  2. If you have persistent nausea stick to a bland diet until it subsides.
  3. Avoid foods that can cause a lot of gas. This can cause abdominal distention and undue discomfort. Small frequent meals are best.
  4. The pain medicine may cause constipation. Drink plenty of fluids. You may take any over the counter laxatives or stool softeners as needed.


  1. You will have a garment over your dressings. Dressings should be changed as needed.
  2. If the garment is too tight, TAKE IT OFF or adjust the garment to reduce the compression.
  3. It is normal to have numbness over the surgical sites for several weeks or months.
  4. Do not use a heating pad or ice around the surgical sites. It could cause a burn.
  5. You may not shower the first week – sponge bathe only, until told to do so.
  6. It is normal to see dried bloody drainage on dressings.


  1. Take your antibiotic until it is completed.
  2. If the pain medication is a narcotic it should be taken as prescribed. Do not take any Tylenol while on pain medication. The medication we prescribe may already have Tylenol in it. Do not take drugs like Ibuprofen, Motrin, or Advil as these can increase bleeding.
  3. Do not drink alcohol or drive a car while taking pain medication.
  4. The pain medication may cause nausea and should be taken with food at each dose.
  5. You may resume your regular medication after your surgery except for Vitamin E, Fish oil and Aspirin (wait at least 5 days post-op).
  6. If you take aspirin or coumadin check with the doctor to see when you may resume them.


  1. A temperature greater than 101.5 degrees.
  2. Excessive bleeding from the incision.
  3. A sudden increase in drainage, pain, or swelling around the incision site or the surrounding area.
  4. If you have persistent vomiting.

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12732 W. Washington Blvd Suite B, Los Angeles, CA 90066

(310) 275-4170