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What is a Brachioplasty?

What is a brachioplasty?  Somebody was talking about it on this site, and I don't know what it means.

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Brachioplasty is the Medical Term for Arm Lift

Brachioplasty is the term used to describe an arm lift. The procedure is used when one develops loose skin in the upper arms, sometimes also referred to as "bat wings". From El Paso, Las Cruces, New Mexico.

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As mentioned below, a brachioplasty is commonly known as an arm lift, and it is a trade off of a better contoured arm with significant scars. The scars are positioned in a location to try and hide them but they will always be visible.

Brachioplasty can be a very good operation for people who have lost significant amounts of weight. Insurance, unfortunately, does not typically cover an arm lift.

I hope this helps.

Brachioplasty and Arm Lift: Reducing unwanted skin and fat

Brachioplasty procedures are becoming increasingly common with massive weight loss patients. The decision to perform a brachioplasty is based on the following criteria:

  • Amount of skin redundancy
  • Amount of volume excess - fat in the upper arms
  • Quality of the skin

Options for surgery include a vertical scar along the inner arm, a crescent scar hidden in the armpit, or a combination of the two. In patients with a history of poor scars, the procedure is generally avoided. However, in patients with a tendency to heal with clean scars, the results are amazing.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Brachioplasty is an "arm lift"

A brachioplasty is an "arm lift" procedure done to remove excess skin and fat from the upper arm. Other than in patients who have had massive weight loss, this procedure is relatively rarely performed because of the rather visible scars that are involved. The skin in the upper arm is very thin and the scar, while carefully placed in the inseam of the upper arm, has a tendency to spread and become wide and unsightly despite the surgeon's best efforts. This is still acceptable in patients who have a serious excess of skin, but often is a sticking point in patients who only have a moderate skin excess.

What is a brachioplasty?

A brachioplasty is an arm lift operation designed to remove skin and fat from the back part of the upper arms.  It is most commonly indicated for patient who have lost large amounts of weight.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Brachioplasty for Excess Skin Fat & Sag of the Upper Arm

                  Brachioplasty is a surgical procedure that’s designed to address excess skin and fat of the upper arm. This procedure 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, brachioplasty is often accompanied by adverse scarring.

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

Brachioplasty or Arm Lift

Brachioplasty means 'arm molding.' It is an arm lift.

There are 3 kinds, depending on the problem in the arm.

1. Liposuction - if the arms are heavy but skin is snug.

2. Long scar arm lift - uses an incision from armpit to elbow. Used to remove arm tissue hanging from elbow to armpit. Excellent operation. Remember the scar is long and may be visible.

 3. Short scar arm lift - uses an incision hidden in the arm pit to tighten loose upper arm tissue. Little skin and fat removed. Easy operation - but will not fix heavy arms.

Arm Lift and Brachioplasty Explained


Candidates for Surgery
Candidates for an Arm Lift also called a brachioplasty procedure, have excess skin hanging from the upper arms creating the “bat wing” effect.  This may be because of weight loss or genetic reasons.


Intended Result
Reduce the amount of excess, sagging skin and fat on the arms to create a slimmer arm contour. The results are highly dependent on the expertise of the Plastic Surgeon and one of the reasons that many patients choose our practice.  This procedure allows many patients to feel more comfortable in sleeveless clothing.

Procedure Description
Incisions are placed in a subtle location on the underside of the arms, between the armpit and the elbow.  General anesthesia is usually used for this procedure.  The length and location of the scar is dependent on the location of the unwanted and excess soft tissue. The unwanted skin is removed to reveal the arm’s natural shape.  In many cases, liposuction is used to remove excess fat to enhance the natural contour of the arm. If there is limited fat and loose skin close to the arm pit then a short scar technique leaving the final scar in the arm pit may be possible.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Bracioplasty is the medical term for arm lift.

Brachioplasty means arm (brachio) molding (plasty). In Plastic Surgery we use the word brachioplasty when we are referring to arm lifting or removal of excess upper arm skin.

Laurie Casas, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews


Thank you for your question.

Arm tissue relaxes with age, gravity and weight loss. The drooping of skin is from a stretching of the anchoring system of the arm and loss of supporting fat. Patients are very unhappy with this “loose hammock” appearance.

Brachioplasty (arm reduction surgery) can remove excess tissue and reduce the circumference of the upper arm. Surgical correction depends on the amount of extra skin and how loose the supporting tissues have become. Extra skin is removed from incisions along the inner arm. The incision must be placed where the tissue can be best tightened but the incision must be well hidden as well. 

I hope this helps.

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.