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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.

Doctor Answers 38

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.

El Paso Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

10175 Gateway Blvd West
El Paso, TX 79925


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.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

4000 Dublin Blvd
Dublin, CA 94568

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 70 reviews

804 7th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90403

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.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

1135 116th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

What is brachioplasty?

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 86 reviews

8900 West Dodge Road
Omaha, NE 68114

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 29 reviews

4640 Admiralty Way
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

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. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

8900 West Dodge Road
Omaha, NE 68114

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.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

2045 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

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 72 reviews

3991 MacArthur Boulevard
Newport Beach, CA 92660

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 65 reviews

2050 Pfingsten Road
Glenview, IL 60026

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.