Mr A. O. Grobbelaar  MBChB  MMed(Plast)  FCS(SA)(Plast)  FRCS(Plast)

Arm Lift

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arm lift

Excess skin on the upper arms is common and can be due to excessive weight loss, as part of the natural ageing process or loss of tone of the muscles. Some patients may have a predisposition genetically for this defect. Liposuction is normally not indicated as the skin shrinkage after fat removal in this area is often inadequate and may make the appearance worse. Surgery is mostly indicated in-patient with a very severe form of this condition when it is for example impossible to get sleeves fitting over the upper arm.

The procedure

It is normally performed under a general anaesthetic and can be done as a day case procedure. An incision is made on the inside of the arm from the armpit to the elbow. You may require surgical drains to remove excess fluid after the operation. Sutures are normally removed after 10-12 days. Sometimes it is possible to perform the procedure through a more limited incision but that will restrict the amount of improvement that can be expected.


The scar as discussed is normally a fine line but can be raised and widened in some patients genetically predisposing to keloid scarring. Infection of the wound is possible but some antibiotics will be prescribed. A collection of blood under the skin may form from a ruptured blood vessel and may need to be drained. You may need some physiotherapy to regain full mobility of the upper arms after the surgery due to stiffness.

After the surgery

You will need some assistance when returning home at least until the sutures are removed. Pain is normally moderate and can be controlled with oral medication. Remember the scar will improve with time and is really best after 6 months to a year.

If you require further information or want to schedule a consultation please contact Mr. Grobbelaar's secretary details on the Contact page