Arm lift vs. Arm liposuction

Arm lift vs. Arm liposuction

Table of Contents

Liposuction is an excellent way to improve your body’s shape and contours. Many people, including men, women, and young adults, undergo liposuction to remove excess fat from different body areas, including the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, back, and arms. 

Arm liposuction and arm lift are the most common and popular cosmetic procedures, allowing people to remove excess fat from their upper arms and tighten the skin to achieve their desired results. Read on! 

ProcedureDescriptionBest forRisksRecovery time
Arm lift (brachioplasty)Removes excess skin and fat from upper arms to improve shape and contourIndividuals with loose, sagging skin on upper arms due to weight loss or agingScarring, infection, bleeding, nerve damage, changes in skin sensation, asymmetry, unsatisfactory results2-4 weeks
Arm liposuctionRemoves excess fat from upper arms using a hollow stainless steel tube called a cannulaIndividuals with excess fat in upper arms but relatively good skin elasticityScarring, infection, bleeding, nerve damage, changes in skin sensation, asymmetry, unsatisfactory results2-4 weeks

What is an Arm Lift?

An arm lift, also known as Brachioplasty, is an advanced, cutting-edge cosmetic procedure that treats sagging and hanging under arms. A board-certified cosmetic performs the operations to reduce or remove excess fat and skin to ensure a tighter, smoother, and more toned appearance. 

What is arm liposuction?

Arm liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure and an alternative surgery option to Brachioplasty. A board-certified surgeon in Miami performs this procedure to remove the sagging and loose skin that develops on your upper arm’s underside. 

The common causes of fat accumulation under your upper arms are aging, genetics, weight gain, weight loss, and a sedentary lifestyle. Arm liposuction improves your arms’ shape, makes them slimmer, and ensures better contours. 

Differences between Arm Lift and arm liposuction

Arm lift and arm liposuction are reliable cosmetic procedures with excellent results. However, it is crucial to understand the difference between these cosmetic operations to make an informed decision and choose the one that best fits your needs. 


A board-certified surgeon can perform arm lift surgery in various ways. However, the most common method is making an incision on the back of your arms. Some surgeons also make an incision in the armpit. The surgeon operates under general or local anesthesia

It depends on the patient’s requirements, health status, and surgical method. Next, the surgeon marks areas on your arms and makes an incision to tighten to reshape skin tissues in your upper arms. The surgeon then pulls your skin back over the tissues and uses stitches to close the wound. 

On the other hand, during arm liposuction, a surgeon inserts a thin cannula into a small incision in your arm. The surgeon moves the cannula back and forth to remove the excess fat. However, this manual movement can disrupt or damage blood vessels, leading to swelling and inflammation. 


Recovery for arm lit and arm liposuction is almost the same. While you recover from an arm lift, your surgeon will advise you to wear a compression sleeve to reduce swelling, pressure, inflammation, and pain. 

In addition, you will have a temporary drainage tube in your arm to eliminate excess fluid and prevent blood or fluid from accumulating at the treated site. Follow your health provider’s postoperative instructions. 

These include caring for your wound, taking the prescribed medications, sleeping correctly, avoiding strenuous activities, and taking short walks from room to room to maintain optimal blood flow to the incision site. 

In contrast, you will experience bruising, soreness, and swelling after arm liposuction. Your doctor will advise you to wear a compression sleeve for 4-5 weeks. Take proper rest for 5-7 days to ensure your arm does not concede pressure. Scarring from arm liposuction is minimal due to a small incision. 

Loose skin after arm liposuction is a primary concern for people who undergo this procedure. The good news is that you can undergo non-invasive skin tightening treatments, such as ultrasound, to achieve your goals. Ultrasound energy streamlines collagen production and makes your skin appear firmer and tighter. 

Recovery Time

Arm lift has different recovery and healing rates because they vary from person to person and depend on overall health, recovery speed, and skin health status. However, the average recovery period is between two and three weeks. On the other hand, arm liposuction patients have an average recovery period between four and six weeks. 

Good Candidate

The ideal candidate for arm lift surgery has a stable weight and does not smoke or consume heavy alcohol. It is crucial to achieving a stable weight at least four months before the procedure to achieve better contours. 

On the other hand, a good candidate for arm liposuction has excess fatty tissues in the upper arm, good skin elasticity and tone, and optimal physical and mental health. You should not have active or pre-existing health conditions. 

Average Cost

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that the average cost of an arm lift is between $4,000 and $5,000. The overall price depends on various factors, including your health status, the surgery’s extent, surgical facility, and follow-up procedures. In contrast, the average cost of arm liposuction is between $1,500 to $2,500 for a single arm. It is $4,000 to $5,000 for both arms. 


Like all cosmetic procedures, arm lift surgery comes with a few downsides or risks. These include infections, pain, excessing bleeding, fluid accumulation, blood vessel damage, nerve and muscle problems, fatty tissue death, etc. 

Arm liposuction also has risks, such as light or dark pigmentation, contour irregularities, scarring, and skin or nerve damage. If you are a pregnant woman, you must not undergo arm liposuction because it can lead to severe complications, such as blood-clotting disorders. 

Postoperative Scarring

Scars from arm lift surgery are permanent. However, the surgeon makes the incision in areas that are not easily noticeable, making the scars less visible to others. These usually appear as red, raised scars. You can take corticosteroid medications or apply ointment to your skin based on your doctor’s instructions to improve the appearance of scars. 

Arm liposuction scars are a primary concern for people undergoing the procedure. Although liposuction can remove unwanted fatty tissues from your arm, it can result in scarring after surgery. Because arm liposuction is minimally invasive, the scar produced is minor and less visible. 

What to do Next? 

Whether you want to undergo arm lift surgery to tighten the skin and make it firmer and smoother or arm liposuction to remove excess fat, you can rely on Moon Plastic Surgery Clinic’s qualified and board-certified plastic surgeons. Call us between 9:00 AM and 5:00 Monday to Friday for more information, or schedule an appointment with our experienced cosmetic surgeon. 

Dr. John E. Nees, MD

Dr. John E. Nees, MD

Medically reviewed by
Dr. John E. Nees, MD specializes in aesthetic plastic surgery in Miami, FL


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