Will lifting heavy weights get rid of the arm flab? I prefer not to have surgery if possible. (photos)

I've lost 54 pounds mostly through cardio, and now have "Bingo Wings". Will strength training help this problem? I really prefer not to have surgery but I don't want to be self concious anymore.

Doctor Answers 14

No surgery

Thank you for the pictures. I think continuing to work out and muscular toning would be your best answer. You have done an excellent job so far. Good luck.

I don't want to have surgery. Will weight training get rid of arm flab?

Congratulations!   A 54 lb weight loss is substantial! Make believe you are a competetive fitness model and get after it for a year of strength training and cardio. If you still feel like you have "bingo wings" see a PS...

Stephen W. Gordon, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Arm Contour Improvement With Weight Lifting

It's not unusual for patients to develop loose upper arm skin following a significant weight loss. When this situation arises, a variety of treatment options are available to address this problem. The specific approach utilized will depend upon the patient's anatomic findings and aesthetic goals.

Although your pictures are helpful, it's virtually impossible to make a specific recommendation without a physical examination. With that said, it's very clear that you don't want the scars associated with arm lift surgery. For this reason, weight lifting to increase the size and tone of your triceps and biceps might be a reasonable alternative. If you continue to have loose saggy skin despite spending time in the weight room, other alternatives can be considered at a later date.

It also might be reasonable to consult a board certified plastic surgeon with experience in this area. This surgeon should be able to perform a more detailed analysis of your situation and outline a treatment plan that's tailored to your specific needs.

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

Strength Training

Form the photos I think strength training would benefit the look of your arms very much, if you are still unpleased with the look in a year or so, then I would find a board certified plastic surgeon for their in person opinion and evaluation.

Craig W. Colville, MD, FACS
Toledo Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Bingo wings

Thank you for your question. First, let me congratulate you on your weight loss! I would advise you to continue with your exercise regimen and if still dissatisfied with the results, contact a BCPS for a consultation. Good luck.

Richard Wilson, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Will lifting heavy weights get rid of the arm flab? I prefer not to have surgery if possible.

    As a bodybuilder, I can appreciate the benefits of strength training.  If that does not help, surgery can address these issues.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Exercise for bat wings

Exercise that bulks up your biceps and triceps will fill out your skin.
But it takes a lot of exercise.
Sawing wood is the best upper arm exercise - it is hard work.
Two hours a week or 30 minutes a day - of vigorous exercise that mimics the strength and energy needed to saw through a tree are what you need.....most women find brachiplasty an easier alternative! 
Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Arm lift brachioplasty arm reduction Arm liposuction

 Congratulations on your weight loss. This is truly a great accomplishment.  In regards to your arms, I would look at a calendar. I would choose a date whether it is 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 months from now. I would mark this on the calendar. I would take pictures of your arms at the beginning of this journey. During the allotted time, I would then make a concerted effort with rigorous arm exercises to tone your arms.  If you you're satisfied after that time with your arms, that's great – you are done.
if however, you were unsatisfied with the shape of your arms I would suggest consultation with an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon.  I would seek a plastic surgeon with a significant amount of experience with arm lifts are brachioplasties.
It is difficult to say exactly what procedure you will need. If, however, your arms look this way in 12 months, I would suggest arm liposuction. I believe this would be the best procedure based on your weight loss and age.  If you were older or had lost more weight,  then I would suggest a full brachioplasty with arm liposuction and with an incision from the armpit to the elbow.  Good  luck.

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 206 reviews

Exercise can improve muscle tone, but not the redundant skin

Exercise offers a lot of health and even "cosmetic" benefits because it can help you tone your muscle and maintain a slender, healthier appearance.  But unfortunately, it cannot address the redundant skin in your upper arms caused by massive weight loss.

Only through surgery, specifically with a procedure called brachioplasty or arm lift in layman's term, can you eliminate the redundant skin.  While it is true that it results in permanent scar, take note that a skilled surgeon will make every effort to hide it--e.g., within the armpit or on the inner aspect of the arm. 

Scar is an inevitable tradeoff with any form of body contouring, but for the right patients who have realistic goals and expectations, the surgery almost always provides satisfying results. 

Tarick K. Smiley, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Will exercise improve saggy skin.

Exercise is going to increase your muscle tone, but will not get ride of the redundant skin. You are a good candidate for laser liposuction. It can be done as an office procedure, with local anesthetic, and the incision is very small and close to the elbow, so it is barely noticeable.

Patricia Yugueros, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 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.