Arm reduction surgery/arm lift surgery

Arm reduction surgery – also referred to as arm lift surgery and clinically known as brachioplasty – is a specialist cosmetic surgery procedure performed to reshape and improve the appearance of the upper arms.

Mr Chris Fenn, consultant plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, regularly performs arm reduction surgery on men and women who are unhappy with the sagging skin and surplus fat on their arms.

What is arm reduction surgery?

Brachioplasty/arm lift surgery aims to create slimmer, firmer and shapelier upper arms by removing loose excess skin and underlying tissue.
It can be combined with most other cosmetic surgery procedures if required. 

What are the benefits of arm reduction surgery?

The terms ‘bat wings’ and ‘bingo wings’ are often used to describe the folds of excess skin which can develop under the upper arms following sizeable weight loss or simply through the ageing process as the skin thins and loses elasticity.

The ‘bat wings’ tend to be more noticeable when the arms are raised as the skin ‘hangs’ from the underside of the arm. As a result people with ‘bingo wings’ generally feel embarrassed by the way they look and try to disguise their appearance by wearing long sleeved tops and avoiding activities which expose their arms – such as swimming. Consequently, hot summers and holidays abroad can be particularly uncomfortable.    

By removing the superfluous skin and fat through arm reduction surgery, the arms appear slimmer, taut and more youthful which leads to an increase in body confidence and self esteem.

Am I suitable for arm reduction surgery?

If you have loose, excess skin which hangs from your underarms and has not improved through dieting or exercise, then you may be suitable for arm reduction surgery.

To find out if surgery is an option, you need to have an outpatient consultation with Mr Chris Fenn. After an examination of your arms and a discussion about your medical history, Mr Fenn will be able to confirm whether arm reduction surgery will help you.

During the same appointment, Mr Fenn will discuss the risks associated with arm reduction surgery and will encourage you to ask questions and take time to think about the procedure before you decide to proceed. 

What does arm reduction surgery involve?

Arm reduction/brachioplasty surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and takes between 1-2 hours depending on the surgical technique used. It usually involves a 1-2 night stay in hospital – again depending on the type of surgery performed.

Arm reduction can be performed in several different ways. The surgical technique is determined by the position and amount of skin and fat to be removed.


If you have surplus fat but minimal excess skin, Mr Fenn may recommend liposuction. A small incision is made in the arm pit and the fat is ‘sucked out’. The advantage of this procedure is that scarring is almost negligible but it is only an option if there is little excess skin and it still retains elasticity.

Surgical excision 

A moderate amount of sagging skin and fatty excess can be removed surgically through an incision in the armpit and inner upper arm. If your loose skin is predominantly at the top of your upper arm, this could be a suitable procedure for you. The benefit of this technique is that scarring is easily hidden as cuts are made in the armpit area only.

If the volume of loose skin and fatty tissue is considerable and/or extends to the elbow, it is likely that a full arm lift will be required.

In this instance, an incision is made from the armpit, along the inner arm and down to the elbow. The surplus skin and fat are excised and the remaining skin and underlying tissue are reshaped, tightened and sutured into place, creating a slimmer, more aesthetically pleasing arm contour.

It is worth noting that due to the size of the cut, scarring from this procedure is noticeable. However as the incision is made along the inner arm, the scarring can generally be concealed whilst it settles. Over time the scar will fade in colour and become less visible.

How long does it take to recover?

Your arms may feel quite sore for a while but painkilling medication will help you to manage this.

The scar down the inner arm can be quite ridged and raised initially, but this usually settles down with time. Once healed, regular scar massage is encouraged to help the settling process.

Occasionally the hand and fingers can become slightly swollen but again this will settle with time. 

Depending on the nature of your job and the type of arm reduction surgery performed, you should be able to return to work 2-3 weeks after the procedure.

Mr Fenn will advise you to keep mobile but to avoid any rigorous activity which could put strain on your arms for around 6 weeks after surgery.

To ensure your arms are healing properly, you will need to return to the hospital for appointments with both Mr Fenn and the cosmetic surgery nursing team.

How much does arm reduction surgery cost?

If you would like to know the price for arm lift surgery, contact Mr Chris Fenn’s secretary, Claire Bartle-Coates on 0113 218 5971, email or complete an on-line enquiry form.

How do I find out more about arm reduction surgery?

To find out more about arm reduction surgery or to book a consultation with Mr Chris Fenn, call his secretary Claire Bartle-Coates on 0113 218 5971, email or complete an on-line enquiry form.