Arm Lift

Conveniently located to serve St. Louis, Missouri

brachioplastyOne of the most common complaints Dr. Cabbabe hears about is extra tissue (“bat-wings”) hanging from the arms. For many women, this is a significant source of embarrassment and women resort to hiding their arms by wearing long-sleeves as much as possible.

An arm lift, or brachioplasty, can restore shape and contour to the arms by removing excess skin and fat. For most women, this involves a 2-hour outpatient procedure with minimal recovery time. In heavier patients with thicker arms, Dr. Cabbabe will discuss the option of a staged procedure with liposuction first to aggressively contour the arms followed by skin excision at a later time. The advantage in this scenario is that more contouring of the arms can be done and overall safety, lower complication rate. In patients who are having multiple procedures done and will require 2 surgeries, this is an appealing option.

Dr. Cabbabe incorporates his experience with reconstructive and cosmetic surgery of the body to give his patients the best results possible to meet their desires. He is an expert in cosmetic, reconstructive and minimally invasive body surgery. Many bariatric surgeons refer their patients to Dr. Cabbabe for his care and expertise. During your consultation, Dr. Cabbabe will carefully examine you and will make recommendations in order to help you achieve your desired result.

Prior to Surgery

Dr. Cabbabe requests that all patients take iron (ferrous sulfate) supplementation, approximately 300 mg three times a day, for 3 weeks prior to surgery. This helps patients increase their red blood cell counts prior to surgery and makes recovery much smoother for patients.

Do NOT take any aspirin, plavix, or ibuprofen at least 10 days prior to surgery. Coumadin or any other type of blood thinner prior to surgery. Dr. Cabbabe may also recommend that you stop any hormones or oral contraceptives to reduce the risk of blood clots in the legs around the time of surgery.

It is helpful to have a recliner to sleep on for the first week or two when you transition to a bed. Extra compression garments, including FAJA’s in different sizes, are helpful as your size will decrease after swelling goes down. Female urination devices can be purchased on Amazon to be used while garments are worn.

Eat a healthy diet and avoid alcohol at least 48 hours prior to surgery to maintain hydration around the time of your procedure. Nicotine usage leads to a well – known higher rate of complications including infection and should be stopped at a minimum of 3 weeks prior. Take this as an opportunity to quit smoking forever to enjoy the health benefits long – term as well as improved skin texture with less wrinkling.

arms contouring
bat-wings surgery

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In this procedure, Dr. Cabbabe removes extra skin and fat from the upper arms, making sure to place the scars in a concealed area on the inside of the arms. The scar often extends from the elbow to the armpit. If needed, Dr. Cabbabe will extend the scar past and outside the axilla to remove extra skin and fat from the outer or lateral chest. Liposuction may be incorporated into this procedure as needed.

For staged procedures, aggressive liposuction is done to contour and “de-bulk” the arms. Compression wraps are placed and approximately 2-3 months later, patients return to have the excess skin removed.

Your Arm Lift will be performed in a hospital or surgery center in St. Louis, MO.


Most patients are able to go home the same day. Pain medication and antibiotics will be prescribed. There may be some numbness of the arms and hand which improves with time. Most patients are able to shower within 24 hours. Drains are left in place and generally removed within 1 week of surgery. Recovery time is 1 to 2 weeks. Dr. Cabbabe will ask you to elevate your arms and wear compression garments for 2 weeks after surgery to help minimize swelling and maximize your result.


Heavier patients (BMI >30) experience more complications. Complications include bleeding after surgery, fluid collections which may result in infection, thickened scars, skin necrosis, asymmetries and blood clots. These may require additional procedures to correct.

Dr. Cabbabe takes measures to prevent complications including appropriate use of antibiotics and drains to prevent infections, leg sequential devices to prevent blood clots in the legs and careful tissue handling to prevent skin necrosis. Board – certified anesthesiologists are used for all of his surgeries.

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