Arm lift Risks and complications


The general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic with intravenous sedation carries small risks in relation to the arm lift surgical intervention. The operation takes approximately one hour or occasionally a little longer if the degree of skin laxity is very important.


Bleeding after arm lift surgery is more likely to be related to bruising and rarely requires return to the operating theatre. It is however very important to avoid taking aspirin for pain control as this will significantly increase the risk of bleeding.


Infection is a risk with any surgical intervention and can happen even when taking antibiotics. If you believe that there are signs of infection starting around the wound it is important to notify your surgeon.

Wound breakdown

Wound breakdown is more likely to occur in the presence of infection or significant bleeding and may require a period of treatment before the wound is closed again. Small wound breakdown heals by itself with good cosmetic results although sometimes the scar may require revising if it is wider.

Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is the risk of clots in the leg veins and can affect the legs or the arms after arm lift surgery. Mobilising and the compression anti embolism stockings are useful measures that are sometimes combined with blood thinning medication. Thrombosis of the veins in the arms will be associated with severe swelling of the arm and it needs to be treated promptly.


Numbness on the inner aspect of the arm is possible and in some instances a patch of numbness in the central part of the arm can be permanent.


Pain after surgery for arm reduction is typically moderate and well controlled with paracetamol and codeine. On discharge you'll also be provided with a stronger pain medication that can be used if the pain is stronger or kept in reserve. Surgical interventions also carry a small risk of chronic, neuropathic pain which is related to the reaction of the body to the trauma and may require intervention of a pain specialist.


The scars after arm lift surgery can become hypertrophic or keloid and in this case require more extensive treatment to improve. They typically take 6 to 12 month to settle properly after the operation.


Asymmetry is inevitable when treating the two sides of the body since from the beginning there are a number of differences in the shape and size of the arms. To some extent, asymmetry can be improved upon but will never be perfect.


Chronic edema or swelling of the hands is more likely to occur when the efforts to tighten the upper arm are over enthusiastic. The technique for arm lift surgery has evolved to include liposuction and avoid deep dissection in the tissues of the arm, which typically reduces significantly the risk of disturbance to the lymphatic circulation of the hands and forearms and therefore reduces the risks of long term swelling.

Get in touch. Talk to our helpful team or book a consultation with Mr Lucian Ion. Call 0207 486 7757