Can a forearm lift be performed?

I am 45 with loose skin on the forearms and I am so confused. I have seen 4 plastic surgeons 2 tell me that there is nothing that can be done because of the nerves in my forearms, but the other 2 says they can do it. The 2 surgeons that told me it can't be done said that they would consider it malpractice. Can it be done without it messing up my hands? They said that it would mess up the nerves and I wouldn't be able to use my hands. Need the truth please!!

Doctor Answers 5

Forearm lift forearm reduction forearm liposuction forearm scar

Hi Cathy, Thank you for your question regarding a forearm lift, or more accurately, a forearm reduction.  A forearm reduction surgery removes excess skin and fat from the forearms. During the beginning of forearm reduction surgery, the forearms are liposuctioned.  Liposuction removes excess forearm fat. During the same surgery, an incision is made from the elbow (lateral epicondyle) to the bone on pinky side of the wrist (ulnar styloid).  An elliptical area of skin is removed.  Thus, excess forearm fat is removed with liposuction and forearm skin is removed by excision.  Before surgery, your plastic surgeon should draw on your forearm where the forearm scar will be.  Most patients would gladly trade excess forearm skin and fat for a forearm scar.  Forearm reduction surgery is not malpractice.  This procedure is relatively common in practices that specialize in patients who have lost significant weight.   If you have any further questions regarding forearm lift or forearm reduction, please contact my office. Sincerely, Dr. J. Timothy Katzen

Forearm lift

The tradeoff between most 'lift' procedures are between the scar and degree of shaping achieved.  I would say that your plastic surgeon(s) who say they can do the procedure draw out the scar on your forearm with a marker and you then you go try out different clothes.  If you feel that this is an acceptable scar to you, then you could consider proceeding with the procedure.  Although it is not a common procedure, there are times when the traditional arm lift incisions extend into the forearm.  Also, many surgeries are performed in the forearm leaving incisions (e.g. repairing a broken bone), that leave a scar.  In these cases, the trade-offs seem more apparent.  I would make sure you are comfortable with the scar and the plastic surgeon who is willing to work with you and can explain the risks/benefits.

Everything that can be done should not be done

It is not worth doing forearm lift since gain from is not enough and downside is plenty.  Rest is your choice.   

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Can a forearm lift be done?

Technically, forearm skin can be removed surgically,  It is not a common procedure.  Whether it is advisable in your particular case depends upon the amounts of loose skin, the location of extra fat padding, and the relationship to the sensory and motor nerves in your forearm to the extra skin and fat.  You, as the patient, will need to determine whether the position of the scar, which will be much more visible than the more common upper arm brachioplasty lift, and the risk to your median, ulnar, radial nerves in the forearm is worth the potential benefit of a tighter skin envelope around your forearm.  Without the visual assistance of photographs, only a general answer of this type can be provided to you in this type of forum.  The best person to consult with for a more definitive answer would be a board certified plastic surgeon with additional certification in hand surgery.  Such an individual will have the training and knowledge of anatomy to give you a comparison of risk and benefit for such a procedure, after examining you in person.   I hope that this helps you in your decision making! 

David N. Hing, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Forearm lift

Forearm lift is not done that frequently if ever. Therefore you will get many opposing opinions. The question is the scar better than the present look of the forearm? can this be done safely without interfering with hand function. Is this a risk you are willing to take?
As a plastic surgeon I can think of very creative methods to do such surgery. But is it worth the risk? Because in the forearm and hand function is more important than aesthetics.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 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.