Ask a doctor

Bilateral Brachioplasty

Could a doctor please help me understand what it means to have a bilateral brachioplasty?

Doctor Answers 22

Brachioplasty or Arm Lift

Bilateral Brachioplasty refers to an operation to reduce the size of skin and soft tissues of the upper arms.  Bilateral typically means Right and Left side of the body ( in this case R. and L. arms) and not scar on both side of the same arm.

This is a very satisfying operation for most patient and is common in patients that have lost massive weight and have excess skin that is unsightly.

It typically leaves an  acceptable scar in the inner portion of the upper arm.

Hope this is helpful.

Dr. Sajjadian

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

What is a brachioplasty?

A brachioplasty is essentially an upper arm lift.   In this procedure, the excess hanging skin and fat in the upper arm is removed.  Its the procedure used to correct the common "bat wing" of skin that manifests in patients who have lost a significant amount of weight. 

Bilateral brachioplasty surgery

Thank you for your question regarding bilateral brachioplasty.

Bilateral means both sides. Therefore, a bilateral brachioplasty is a brachioplasty done to both arms. Almost always, plastic surgeons perform bilateral brachioplasties. It is rare that plastic surgeons perform arm lifts just on one side.

A brachioplasty is arm surgery. Usually there are two components to the arm, namely skin and fat. Many patients have just excess arm fat with excellent skin tone. These patients may respond well to arm liposuction. Some patients have excess arm skin. This excess arm skin needs to be surgically excised. Some incisions are placed in the armpit and are called a “crescent brachioplasty”. Some arm lift incisions are placed in the armpit and extend slightly down the upper arm. Because of the shape of the scar, this type of arm lift is called a “modified T brachioplasty”. Some patients require an incision from the armpit to the elbow. In my practice, this is the most common type of brachioplasty I perform. Some patients have excess forearm skin and fat. These types of patients may require an incision from the axilla to the wrist to eliminate excess arm skin and fat.

I hope this answers your question regarding bilateral brachioplasty.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Sincerely, Dr. Katzen

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Bilateral brachioplasty

The word bilateral means "both sides". If you were going to undergo bilateral brachioplasty it would mean you and have an arm lift perform on both arms.Brachioplasty or arm lift surgery is one of the most frequently requested body contouring procedures performed today. The demand for this procedure has increased more than 800% since 1997. This is the greatest percent change of any of the commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedures Much of the increase in popularity is due to the growing number of patients who undergo massive weight loss. In performing this procedure an incision is made on the inside of the arm extending from the elbow into the armpit. Sometimes it is necessary to extend the incision further into the armpit and sometimes past it. Utilizing this incision excess skin is removed and the wound is closed. It is very important to position the scar properly so that it is concealed as much as possible. A well-placed incision should result in a scar that is only visible when the arms are raised. This operation is normally performed as an outpatient. It is very important for the surgeon to discuss the resultant scar thoroughly with the patient preoperatively. Very commonly this scar takes a longer time to undergo the full healing and maturation process. Maturation refers to the process whereby the scar becomes less apparent. Brachioplasty scars commonly take up to 2 years to fully mature. Immediately after the operation compressive Ace wraps are placed from the fingers up to the armpit. These can normally be removed within 24-48 hours postoperatively. Elastic compression sleeves commonly worn by athletes can be purchased relatively inexpensively at any sporting good store. Many patients wear these for up for up to 2 weeks postoperatively. No vigorous activity or strenuous activity is recommended for 3 weeks postoperatively. Complications following a well planned and well executed brachioplasty are uncommon. They may include however wound infection or wound breakdown. Is very important to follow the directions of your surgeon postoperatively to ensure the best result.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Arm Lift for Both Arms

                  Bilateral brachioplasty is an arm lift that’s performed on both arms. The procedure removes excess skin and fat of the upper arm. It typically involves an incision that’s made from the elbow to the armpit. Excess skin is removed in both the transverse and vertical dimensions with this procedure.

                  The procedure is effective for removing excess arm skin and creates a more shapely arm. Unfortunately, bilateral brachioplasty is often accomplished by adverse scarring.

                  If you’re considering bilateral brachioplasty, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that’s appropriate for you. 

Armlift is also known as a bracioplasty

Bilateral brachioplasty means both (bilateral) armlifts (brachioplasty). So when someone says bilateral that means both  and when someone says bracio that means arm and plasty means to mold.

Laurie Casas, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 71 reviews

Arm lifting= brachioplasty

This term refers to arm lifting  both arms.

The arm lifting procedure is a great procedure to remove excess skin and adipose tissue of the upper arms. However, this procedure carries a major drawback: difficult scarring that may require scar revision (more so, in my experience, then other procedures).

I have tried placement of the resulting scars in the bicipital  groove (between the biceps and triceps muscles)  as well as a long the inferior–lower aspect of the upper arm. I have found higher patient satisfaction with the latter approach. If the excision can be planned such that the scar falls along the frontal aspect of the lower arm, then the scar may be visible only when the patient raises his/her arms.

As with many plastic surgical procedures, the planning of the incisions and resulting scar line is critical. However, even with attention to detail, the resulting scars may not be ideal and revisionary surgery is  often necessary to improve the appearance (for example, the width) of the scars.

Thank you for the question–I hope this helps.

Arm lift on both arms


Brachioplasty is an arm lift and bilateral means it is on both arms. Generally surgery involves an incision between the arm pit and the elbow.


Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews


"Bilateral" means both sides. Brachioplasty is the surgical removal of arm skin and tissue. Bilateral Brachioplasty is the removal of skin and tissue on both arms.

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

A bilateral brachioplasty is an upper arm lift on both sides

A bilateral (both sides) brachioplasty (arm lift) is the removal of excess, hanging skin ("bat wings") from the upper arms which is often secondary to considerable weight loss but can also be due to age and genetic issues. It typically involves a longitudinal scar down the upper arm to the elbow and a transverse on situated in the armpit. Fat is often removed as well.

The result of the procedure should be a far more attractive, contoured upper arm though the trade-off is a scar that often isn't very aesthetic or inconspicuous.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.