Brachioplasty is a procedure that is done to get rid of the excess skin that occurs under the arm and on the sides of the chest. This excess can be as a result of excess weight loss or caused by ageing.

When you lose weight, there can be a lot of skin that is left hanging due to having been stretched by the excess weight. Also, as you age, your skin tends to sag which can be resolved using Brachioplasty.

If you are intent on losing weight, it is important to first postpone all forms of surgery until you have reached your desired stable weight. A stable weight will be prescribed by your doctor depending on your body mass index.

Why Have a Brachioplasty?

Most people who have a Brachioplasty will do it primarily for cosmetic reasons. You may have taken the time and struggled to lose weight so as to look and feel good only to encounter the after effect which is the excess skin under your arms and on the sides of your chest. You may also have grown older and your underarms and sides of your chest have begun to sag. Old age does not mean that you should not look good. Maybe you still want to wear that bikini or those swimming trunks after losing weight, regardless of your age. A Brachioplasty may be your solution.


Before you decide to go ahead with this procedure, it is important to consult your doctor. You will need to give all your medical history, advise whether you have had any other surgical procedures in the past, and any allergies you may have. The doctor will take you through the procedure and what to expect. He or she will guide you on the kind of diet you should be on before the procedure, which is usually a balanced diet to give you strength and enhance your body’s metabolism. You are also required to quit smoking during the weeks leading to your Brachioplasty and also reduce on your alcohol intake. The doctor will also advise you on the types of vitamins you should or should not take. You are required to inform your doctor of any medication or drugs you are currently taking.


This procedure is done while the patient is under general anaesthesia. The patient is initially marked just before the surgery while in a standing position. Other markings are then done once the patient is asleep and on the operating table. Once this is done, the surgeon will make an incision on the back of your arm or on the under part of your arm.

This is all dependent on which part the excessive fat is located and the amount of excessive fat. Once this is done, the surgeon will then tighten and reshape the tissues that are lying inside your arm.

If there is fat to be removed or reduced, then the doctor will do this using liposuction. If not, the underlying tissues will be tightened and reshaped. Finally the surgeon will smooth over the skin under your arm and begin to close the incision. The most common way of closing the incisions is by using absorbable sutures which will self dissolve.

Alternatively, the surgeon will use stitches that will be removed after one to two weeks after the Brachioplasty. You may not notice the changes immediately after due to swelling, but once the swelling goes down, you will be able to notice the tighter contours and the smoother feel.

Risks and Complications

As with all surgeries, there are risks involved and this one is no different. The risks of Brachioplasty are:

Bleeding: There is risk of bleeding during the surgery and in the post operative period. It is important not to take any aspirin two weeks before the operation as this could lead to bleeding. In the rare case that this occurs there will be a requirement for an operation to drain the excess blood.

Infection: This can occur during or after the surgery and depending on the type of infection, it can either be treated using antibiotics or hospitalization in the more severe cases.

Loss of Feeling: After the surgery, it is common for one to experience loss of sensation in the areas surrounding the operated on area. This will eventually pass, but in rare cases it has been known to last a lifetime.

Skin Irregularities: In rare cases, you may witness irregularities in the skin ranging from depressions and contours in the skin or wrinkling. You may also come across ‘dog ears’ which are irregularities at the end of the incisions. Another skin irregularity will be skin pleating. All these usually disappear with time, but if they don’t, they can be surgically corrected.

Approximately one-third of patients who receive an anaesthetic during surgery will experience “anaesthesia sickness” or post-operative nausea and vomiting (POVN).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Do I qualify for a Brachioplasty?
A.If you have recently lost a significant amount of weight whether through some kind of surgery or a change in your lifestyle, you may find that you have excessive skin under your arms and on the sides of your chest area. This will make you qualify. If you are a thin person and have sagging arms due to old age then this may be the only resort you have.

Q. Will I experience pain after the procedure?
A.There is usually some pain and discomfort after every surgical procedure but for the Brachioplasty, most patients experience some sort of discomfort which is manageable. You will find that you are able to comfortably return to your daily work schedules within a few day of the surgery.


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