Underarm Surgery (Brachioplasty)

Underarm surgery or brachioplasty is more commonly known as an arm lift. This procedure tightens loose, sagging skin and removes excess fat deposits in the upper arm that develop with age or significant weight loss.

The University of Michigan is a nationally recognized leader in reconstructive surgery. Our team of board-certified plastic surgeons and medical specialists guides our patients through every step of the arm lift process to ensure the best results possible.

Is Brachioplasty Right for You?

In most cases, patients choose this procedure for cosmetic reasons, but in some patients the skin sags so much it creates what is called a "bat's wing deformity." This can restrict motion and interfere with the use of the arm.

Best Candidates
Brachioplasty is best for patients who are otherwise in good health, without active diseases or serious, pre-existing medical conditions and have realistic expectations of the outcome of the surgery.

Patients considering brachioplasty should be aware that a significant scar will be present from the elbow to the armpit, and should not have the operation unless they feel comfortable with the scar or can wear clothes that hide it. This may involve a change of clothing styles, but in most cases, the benefit of removing excess skin outweighs this issue.

About the Procedure

Before surgery, the patient stands or sits while the surgeon marks the area of excess skin. The surgeon then removes this excess skin while the patient is sedated. The area removed is usually shaped like either an ellipse or a triangle. Some fat is left to cover and protect the nerves and arteries. The surgeon sometimes performs liposuction to provide a smooth result. After the excess fat and skin are removed, the surgeon sutures the wound closed. Occasionally, the surgeon may use a drain to promote healing.

Options to Enhance the Procedure
In some cases, your plastic surgeon may suggest liposuction [[link]] in conjunction with an arm lift to remove excess fat in the upper arms. Liposuction alone will not improve the condition of loose skin. View all of our body contouring procedures. [[link]]

Your Consultation

If you’re interested in brachioplasty, we’ll first have you come for a personal consultation with your plastic surgeon. You will have the opportunity to discuss your goals and the results you would like to achieve. Your surgeon will work with you to reach an understanding about what you can expect from this procedure and the long-term benefits. Every patient is different, and your surgeon will choose the surgical technique and treatment plan that is right for you. During your initial consultation, you should expect to:

  • Provide a complete medical history. Include information about: any previous surgical procedures; past and present medical conditions; and all medications or herbal supplements you are taking.
  • Have your surgeon conduct a physical examination.
  • Discuss possible risks and complications.


Preparing for Your Surgery
After your consultation and decisions about surgery, we will give you information that explains everything you should do and know before your procedure. Your surgical team will instruct you on how to prepare for surgery. You should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, whether your surgery is outpatient or inpatient. You also may want to make arrangements for someone to help you for a day or two while you heal.

You'll remain comfortable throughout the entire procedure. In most cases, we use general anesthetic so that you will sleep throughout the procedure.

It’s very important that you follow your surgeon's instructions. This will promote healing and improve progress towards your new physical appearance. Also, it is important that you attend all scheduled follow-up appointments so that your surgeon can assess your long-term results and answer any questions or concerns.


Your procedure will take place in the University of Michigan Hospitals state-of-the-art surgical suites and recovery areas. Most brachioplasties are outpatient.

We conduct all pre-operative and post-operative visits at Domino’s Farms where our patients enjoy personalized care in a private office atmosphere.

Schedule a consultation today by calling 734-998-6022.