Upper Arm Lift in La Jolla & San Diego CA

You may be a candidate for an upper arm lift if:

  • You have loose, excess or sagging skin on your upper arms which is resistant to diet and exercise;
  • You have unsightly excess skin on your upper arms due to massive weight loss.

The Procedure

The goal of an upper arm lift is to eliminate the excess skin and fat from the upper arms creating a smaller upper arm and more youthful appearance. An incision is made from the armpit to the elbow in order to remove excess skin and fat and although it fades with time, a scar will remain on the inside of your arm but will only be visible when you lift your arms. Highly experienced San Diego surgeon, Dr. Kearney, performs this cosmetic surgery procedure under general anesthesia and most patients can return home following surgery. Patients usually go home with a wrap or compression garment around their upper arms in order to help reduce swelling.


Most patients return to work within 1 week after the procedure and can resume normal activity with 3 to 4 weeks. Swelling and bruising gradually disappear over a 3-4 week period and scars usually fade within 6-18 months, depending on your skin.

Video: Dr. Kearney Discusses Arm Lift Surgery

San Diego body contouring surgeon, Dr. Kearney, discusses his arm lift procedure at his La Jolla plastic surgery practice.

Upper Arm Lift FAQs:

How Long Is the Recovery Process for an Upper Arm Lift?

As with any form of surgical procedure, the recovery period following an upper arm lift in San Diego, CA, can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the procedure. Though generally, patients of Dr. Kearney can expect to return to work within a week after the procedure is completed. However, it will likely take between three to four weeks before you can resume your full, normal activity level.

Post upper arm lift, you can also expect any swelling and bruising to fade gradually over the course of three to four weeks. Just remember—the closer you stick to Dr. Kearney's post-op instructions, the faster your recovery time will likely be.

Are There Any Post-Op Restrictions for Upper Arm Lifts?

Yes, because the healing process itself is just as crucial to the success of your upper arm lift as the surgery itself. Following your upper arm lift in San Diego, CA, Dr. Kearney will lay out a thorough post-op recovery plan to ensure that you have the best chance at healing quickly and achieving optimal results. This will include avoiding strenuous activities for a certain period of time and wearing compression garments during your recovery in order to reduce swelling and provide support.

Is an Upper Arm Lift Painful?

Thanks to the use of local anesthetics during the procedure, you should not experience any pain during your upper arm lift surgery. However, you may feel some discomfort following the procedure as your body recovers from the surgery itself. To help reduce any post-op pain, Dr. Kearney may prescribe certain medications or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers that can help keep any pain you experience to a minimum.

How Long Does It Take for Upper Arm Lift Scars to Heal?

Once the upper arm lift procedure is completed and any incisions have healed, there may still be some residual scarring. However, Dr. Kearney will take great care to make sure the incision sites are well hidden and that all scarring is as minimal and discreet as possible. In general, you can expect any scars to fade within six to eighteen months, depending on how your skin naturally heals. You may want to consider using certain scar creams and lotions to help with the healing process.

Should I Wear Compression Sleeves After an Upper Arm Lift?

Compression garments are an important part of the post-op recovery process. Wearing compression sleeves following your upper arm lift in San Diego, CA, can help to ensure that swelling and bruising are reduced as much as possible and can also provide some extra support to the arms during the healing process. And depending on your individual situation, Dr. Kearney may recommend that you wear the compression sleeves for an extended period of time after the procedure.

Are They Any Risks Associated With Upper Arm Lifts?

Any surgical procedure comes with its share of potential risks. While an upper arm lift is considered to be a safe and minimally invasive procedure, there are still some risks involved when opting for this kind of surgery. These risks may include, but aren't limited to:

  • Infection
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Excessive bleeding
  • A poor reaction to the anesthetic

However, under the expert care of Dr. Kearney, these risks can be minimized through careful planning and the implementation of proper post-op care instructions.

Do Massages Help the Healing Process After an Upper Arm Lift?

Though not absolutely necessary, you may find that specific massage techniques can help to reduce swelling, bruising, and scarring. If Dr. Kearney approves of this type of post-op treatment for your unique situation, then massages can be an effective way to hasten the healing process following an upper arm lift in San Diego, CA. This is because gentle massages can help your body to eliminate fluids that have built up in the treatment area, as well as reduce tension and promote a smoother healing process overall.

What's the Best Way to Sleep After an Upper Arm Lift?

For the first few nights after your upper arm lift, it's best to sleep with your arms elevated above the level of your heart—which can be done easily by placing pillows under your arms. This will help to reduce any swelling and aches in the treatment area. After that, you'll want to avoid sleeping on your sides until any discomfort from doing so has completely subsided, which may take up to a week or two.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

If you are in the San Diego and La Jolla area and want to find out if you would benefit from an upper arm lift, schedule a consultation.

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Office Hours

Monday: 9:30am – 5:30pm
Tuesday: 9am – 5pm
Wednesday: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Thursday: 9am – 5pm
Friday: 8am – 2:30pm

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