Arm &Thigh Lift

Fluctuations in weight, growing older and heredity can cause your upper arms or thighs to have a drooping, sagging appearance. This is a condition that cannot be corrected through exercise.

Arm and thigh lift surgery aims to reduce excess sagging skin that droops downwards and tightens underlying supportive tissue that defines the shape of the upper arm and thigh.

Who is a suitable candidate?

Healthy adults who have significant arm and/or thigh laxity whose weight is relatively stable and who are not significantly overweight.

What happens before surgery?

You will be asked to stop certain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or herbal medicines that might increase the risk of bleeding during or after surgery.

If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking at least two weeks before and a similar length after surgery to reduce the chances of wound healing issues.

What does the surgery involve and how long it takes?

Arm lift surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic and usually leaves a scar between the elbow and the armpit over the inner part of the arm. Excess skin and fat are removed and the incision is closed with dissolvable stitches.

Thigh lift surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic. It usually involves a vertical incision in the inner part of the thigh from above the knee to the groin crease; additional horizontal incision may also be required which will be hidden in the groin crease. The stitches used will dissolve and you may require a small drain; which will be removed day after surgery.

Arm and thigh lifts take between 2-3 hours each depending on the extent of the work that needs to be carried out.

What happens after surgery?

After staying in the hospital overnight, the next morning the drains are removed and you are encouraged to walk around to reduce the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).  You can go home or stay another day depending on how you feel.

You will be seen 7 days after the procedure assess if you have any collection of seroma fluid; which can be easily and painlessly removed in the consultation room. You will be seen 3 months after surgery to assess the outcome and your satisfaction.

You can return to work 2-3 weeks after surgery but avoid heavy lifting, bending and exercise up to 4-6 weeks.

What are the risks and complications?

Significant and major complication rates are very low in arm and thigh lift surgery but the following could occur:

Bleeding (haematoma): occasionally small blood vessels may open up under the skin soon after surgery (same day) and a return to the theatre is required to release the stitches and washout the collection. This will not impact the overall result.

Infection: wound infection rates are low. Routine antibiotics are not required after arm or thigh lift surgery. Occasionally, antibiotics are required to treat an infection.

Seroma: this is a collection of straw coloured fluid under the skin. You may feel a swelling that may become uncomfortable. At your one-week postoperative visit, you will be assessed for any seroma collection. If required, this fluid can be painlessly removed in the consultation room.

Wound healing issues: small parts of the incision site can sometimes come apart and form a scab (wound dehiscence). This problem is usually managed with regular dressing changes until healing takes place.

Numbness and nerve damage: expect some “fuzziness” or numbness around the scar site, which will settle over time. Major nerve damage is unlikely but rarely a nerve that supplies feeling to the skin surface may get damaged leading to a numb patch over the arm or thigh area. This will have no impact on overall hand or leg mobility.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT):  this is a rare but potentially significant complication where clots are formed in the deep veins in the legs and can travel towards the lungs. Great care is taken to avoid this complication by wearing special stockings before and after surgery, moving around soon after surgery.  In theatre special compression devices are also used around your calf muscle to reduce the risk of clot formation.

  • Summary
  • Operation time 2-3 hours
  • Anaesthetic General Anaesthetic
  • Nights in hospital 1-2
  • Time off work 2-3 weeks
  • Return to exercise 4-6 weeks


If you have a question regarding a procedure or would like to find out if you are a suitable candidate, please feel free to get in touch.