Arm Lift Surgery FAQs

Arm Lift Surgery FAQs

Written by Patient Care Team Lead, Jonathan , BN (Hons)

Medical Review by Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Lizzie Tuckey , MBBS, BA

Published: Friday 31 December 2021

Who shouldn't have an arm lift?

An arm lift is not a suitable procedure for everyone. In some cases, it is strongly advised that you do not have an arm lift. It is not recommended if you have had:

  • A complete mastectomy (removal of the breast) after breast cancer
  • Surgery on the armpit or lymph nodes under the arms.

These procedures affect the drainage of the upper arm and therefore can cause post-operative swelling to persist and increase the risk of complications.

Will I have drains put in after an arm lift?

After an arm lift, you may have a small plastic tube placed under your skin at the site of the incision. This ensures any blood or fluid that may build up during the operation can freely drain, therefore avoiding build-up. You will generally only have the drains kept in for 1 to 2 days. If you do have drains put in, your nurse will give you advice on how to take care of them.

Do I need a GP referral for an arm lift?

Your surgeon will be happy to see you without a GP referral. They will, however, contact your GP to get a full list of your medical history before you have surgery. There may also so be certain medical conditions that require GP to sign off before you're able to have the arm lift procedure. Your Patient Care Adviser will let you know if this applies to you.

What effect can alcohol, smoking, and drugs have on an arm lift?

If you smoke, drink alcohol, are overweight or take drugs for medical or other reasons, the risks of surgery are greatly increased. Smoking in particular delays the time it takes for your wounds to heal, and increases the risk of infection. For this reason, our surgeons recommend that patients stop smoking and using all nicotine products at least 6 weeks before and after arm lift surgery.

What effect will weight loss or weight gain have on my arm lift?

Any major changes in weight can impact the final results of your arm lift. Major weight gain will re-stretch the arms to their former position. Major weight loss will cause a return of excess upper arm skin. We, therefore, advise that you reach a stable weight before having an arm lift.

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