I have loose elbow skin. Am I a candidate for an elbow lift?

Hands and elbows apparently show your true age. Mine look much older than I am (I'm 33). I know I can make my hands look better with fillers and possibly IPL laser or resurfacing. But that's not enough for the elbows. I also weight train and tricep exersizes aren't enough either. (I also drink 100 oz of water a day.) I want actual incisions and tucks. I can treat scars. Would I have to do one arm at a time? What's the recovery time? Ballpark on cost? Type of Surgeoun best for this?

Doctor Answers 7

Elbow lift

Thank you for your question.  I would visit with a plastic surgeon in your area to discuss your options.  At age 33, you may also want consider Sculptra in the elbow region as it helps to rebuild some collagen and tone in this area.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Arm lift brachioplasty arm reduction arm liposuction hidden arm scars elbow skin fat injection to hands fat transfer

Dear Charlie Girl,
You're correct, hands and elbows can truly show your age. I believe the best treatment for aging hands is fat injection. One or two small incisions are placed on the top of the hand and fat is injected on the dorsum of the hand. The results are quite dramatic and holds up with time. I often perform fat transfer to the hands when I perform liposuction and especially an arm lift or brachioplasty.
In regards to your elbows, there are several techniques that can be used for treatment. If it is just excess fat around the elbow, I would suggest isolated elbow liposuction. If there is excess arm skin and fat, then I would suggest arm liposuction and surgical excision of skin.  Typically, a crescent incision is placed slightly around the elbow.  The crescent incision is placed above the elbow.  Therefore, when you wear a shirt that goes down to the elbows, this scar is hidden.  If there is more excess skin and fat in the upper arm, especially around the triceps region, then a larger arm lift may be required.  Since your elbow is involved, an incision would extend from your elbow to your armpit. During this procedure, I perform arm liposuction and then during the same procedure, remove the excess arm skin and fat. This aspirated arm fat is ideal for fat transfer to the hand and the face.
In regards to your questions, I perform arm surgery on both arms and hands at the same time.  If you have a desk job, I would see just taking 10 to 14 days off from work.  If you have a very physical job, I would suggest taking 20 to 25 days off from work.  The cost really depends on your plastic surgeon, his experience, and your neighborhood. Because of overhead and other factors, different geographic areas have different "average" prices.  I would seek a board certified plastic surgeon with significant experience in arm lift or brachioplasty.  I would specifically ask if he or she has performed at least 100 arm lifts or brachioplasties.

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

Loose Elbow Skin

In this particular case, it's difficult to make a specific recommendation without a physical examination or pictures. With that said, the vast majority of patients who have loose elbow skin also have saggy upper arm skin. It's unusual to see isolated laxity of the elbow skin. For this reason, most patients with excess elbow skin require  a brachiooplasty which extends to the level of the elbow to correct this problem.

This procedure has the potential to significantly improve the upper arm and elbow contour. It's typically performed as a bilateral procedure and associated with a 6 to 8 week of recovery.

If you're considering this type of procedure, it's appropriate to consult a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in this area. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your anatomic deformity and achieves your aesthetic goals.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Elbow lift?

Be very careful when asking for an elbow lift.  Without photos it's difficult to determine exactly what you might need.  However, scars that cross joints can be particularly troublesome.  In fact when a brachioplasty crosses the elbow, most times I will chose to perform some kind of tissue rearrangment such as a Z plasty to ensure a scar contracture does not occur that limits motion.  Always consult a plastic surgeon for issues such as this.  Other types of doctors may over simplify this procedure and leave you with range of mobility issues in addition to bad scars.  Best wishes and good luck.

Shayne Webb, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Arm lift has limits around elbow

The elbow need lose skin to do what it does.   It bends and turns and twists etc etc.   It is nearly impossible to successfully remove much skin around the elbow, even with an arm lift.    There is not much you can do for an elbow but you can try Retin A to thicken the dermis and of course use with moisturizing sunscreen.   My Best,  Dr C

George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

I have loose elbow skin. Am I a candidate for an elbow lift?

 Difficult to give you specific/meaningful advice without viewing pictures. Based on your description, you may be a good candidate for arm lifting surgery. This operation will remove loose skin/adipose tissue from the elbow to the axillary area. Best to seek consultation with board-certified plastic surgeons who can demonstrate significant experience helping patients achieve the types of outcomes you will be pleased with. You may find the attached link helpful to you as you learn more. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Elbow Lift?

Thank you for your question. I recommend seeing a board certified plastic surgeon and be evaluated. Realize that a scar on the elbow does not heal very well. The scars tend to go wide as the area bends so much and separates the scar. A neurosurgeon or orthopedist may be another alternative to see. I hope this helps!

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 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.