Mr. R. James Colville Consultant Plastic Surgeon

BSc, MSc, FRCS, FRCS (Plast)

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Telephone: 07772 841078



This procedure is used to reduce the fullness of the arm , which may have occurred after weight loss or aging. It aims to improve the shape of your arm from the armpit to the elbow. 


Ideally you should be at near your normal weight for your height and be fit and healthy . you should also have realistic expectations of what the surgery can achieve

The initial consultation

I will ask you to explain what problems you are experiencing and what you wish to change about your appearance. It is important to have realistic expectations. I will you ask you why you want the procedure and your goals and aspirations.

I will also take a full medical history including any previous surgery, regular medication and allergies and whether you smoke. 

The examination will concentrate on the arm and armpit, but will also assess your general fitness and suitability for surgery. Routine photographs will be taken.
 I will discuss the surgical options and advise you about what is likely to work best for you. The risks and possible complications will also be discussed. It is usually done under a general anaesthesia with a one night stay in hospital. You should buy a compression garment for the arms which joins over the back, and this can be found on the macom website;

The Surgery

It is performed under a general anaesthetic and takes 2-3 hours. If you have good healthy skin, with no stretch marks, it may be possible to achieve a good result with liposuction alone. However, if there is a lot of excess skin, liposuction and an ellipse of skin on the inside of the arm is removed. The wound is closed with absorbable stitches, and a drain is usually is put in place. Steristrips and a waterproof dressing are applied and a compression garment put over the top. 


If performed by a fully qualified and accredited Plastic Surgeon in a proper operating theatre under sterile conditions on a relatively fit and healthy patient, brachioplasty is a safe procedure.

Nevertheless, surgery carries risks which are listed below.

Pain immediately after surgery is common and this may continue for 2 weeks . 

Bleeding and bruising after the surgery but are unusual.

Seroma is a build up of clear fluid coming from the underlying muscle. 

Wound breakdown may occur especially if the wound it too tight. The arm swells very rapidly during and after surgery, so skin excession must be moderate and wound closure occurs in 2 layers 

Wounds may be slow to heal and part of the skin can die if very agressive liposuction has been done. It may need dressings.

Infection is rare and usually occurs 7-10 days after surgery.

Sensation in the skin is likely to be reduced or numb and this is likely to be temporary but seldomly is permanent

Scars may become thickened or widened but it is length of the scar that the patient must be aware of. It is visible and initially red and can be difficult to hide in short sleeved outfits. 

Shape and symmetry This cannot be guarenteed but the liposuction volume is recorded on each side   in arm reduction to try to achieve as much symmetry as possible. 

Contour defect this may occur if too much fat is removed especially if close to the skin. it is very diffcult to correct and may need fat transfer at a second surgery. 

Swelling- this will be case after surgery and is usually temporary but may be permanent. 

Preparation for surgery. 

Your BMI should be less than 30 and you should mentally and physically fit. You should stop smoking 6 weeks before surgery and can start again when the wounds have healed at 2-4 weeks. Please do not take aspirin, naproxen for 10 days before surgery. You should have a shower the night before or the day of surgery. I will have emailed you a consent form, which you should print, read and sign and date the bottom of each page and bring the full document with you on the day of surgery, so that we can sign the last page together.

What to bring with you

Toiletries , and regular medications and dont forget the compression garment. You should have bought 2, so that one can be washed.  These can either be bought from a sports shop or from MACOM online, but ensure they will be the right size before ordering,


You will stay in the hospital overnight and the drain should be removed the following day. It is noticeable that the arm becomes very swollen after surgery and may be uncomfortable so you will be discharged with pain killers. A wound check will be arranged at one week with the nurses and i will see you the following week to check the immediate result and advise about scar care. 

You should be able to return to work 2-4 weeks after surgery.

You should wear the compression garment continuously for six weeks.

You should not fly for 6 weeks after surgery.

The Results

It will take 6-12 months to see the final results and these may last for 10 years. This longevity however can not be guarenteed and is dependent on skin quality, change of weight, pregnancy and smoking.  

If you are worried post operatively 

Please call the hospital ward you were on or Jan Richards 07722841078 9am-2pm Monday-Friday.

In an emergency, you may need to seek advice or attend your local hospital Accident and Emergency department.


These can be made directly through the hospitals, via my PA Jan Richards or completing the form in the 'Contact' link above.