Forearm Reduction and Brachioplasty to Enhance the Contour of Your Arms

By: Dr. J. Timothy Katzen


Excess skin and fat in the forearms are common complaints among Dr. Katzen’s patients. Typically, these men and women have lost massive amounts of weight or are experiencing normal signs of aging; especially patients who have significant radiation damage due to sun exposure.

A brachioplasty is the medical term for an arm lift or reduction. Usually, a brachioplasty refers to the upper arm lift or reduction. A forearm lift or reduction refers to a lift/reduction of the lower arm. Therefore, a forearm lift or reduction is also called a lower arm lift or reduction. In addition, some patients have previously undergone an upper arm lift procedures and desire balance in the appearance of their forearms and upper arms.

Dr. Katzen offers forearm reduction surgery for patients with excess fat and skin in the forearms. A forearm reduction can be combined with a brachioplasty for a more shapely appearance of the forearm and upper arm.

If you are considering a forearm reduction with or without a brachioplasty, knowing what to expect before surgery, during the procedure, and as you recover is helpful.

How is a Forearm or Lower Arm Reduction Performed?

Dr. Katzen creates a personalized treatment plan for each patient based on their unique needs. For example, some patients only have excess forearm fat that needs to be excised; others may also have hanging skin. Dr. Katzen will perform a physical exam before your procedure and explain his techniques to achieve the desired look for your forearms.

If excess fat is the primary concern, Dr. Katzen performs liposuction to remove the fat. Liposuction involves making a small incision on the lateral portion of the wrist. Then, Dr. Katzen inserts a cannula and infiltrates the forearm with a tumescent solution to minimize bleeding and post-operative pain. The excess fat is suctioned out, and the incision is closed.

Dr. Katzen uses a slightly different approach in patients with excess fat and hanging skin. First, liposuction is used to remove excess forearm fat. Then, Dr. Katzen makes an incision extending from the outer portion of the wrist to the elbow. Bleeding is controlled through cauterization, and the excess skin is measured before removal.

Once Dr. Katzen has measured the area to be excised, the excess forearm skin is removed. Typically, the removed skin has an oblong shape, similar to the shape of an elongated football. The incision extends from the wrist to the elbow.

Finally, Dr. Katzen closes the incision by suturing the deeper fascia with multiple layers of absorbable sutures. The last step in forearm reduction surgery is closing the top layer of skin.

In this video, Dr. Katzen performs a forearm reduction for a patient with excess fat and hanging skin.

How is an Upper Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) Performed?

Dr. Katzen performs arm lift procedures similarly to forearm reduction. First, Dr. Katzen performs liposuction by making an incision at the elbow. Next, excess fat is suctioned from the elbow to the shoulder. Then, an incision is made from the elbow to the armpit. Finally, Dr. Katzen measures the excess skin and removes it before closing the area with absorbable sutures.

In this video, Dr. Katzen performs an upper arm lift for a patient who previously lost 140 pounds.

Recovering from Forearm Reduction and Brachioplasty

After your forearm reduction, Dr. Katzen will instruct you to wear ace bandages on your forearms for about a week. After an incision check, you must wear ace bandages for an additional week or two, depending on your healing.

After the first two to three weeks, Dr. Katzen will have you wear compression garments on your arms for about six weeks. Compression garments help by reducing swelling in your forearms and flattening the scar.

Patients undergoing arm lift procedures must elevate their arms and wear compression garments to minimize the swelling. If you undergo a combined forearm reduction and brachioplasty procedure, Dr. Katzen will further instruct you on the steps to support healing.

Additionally, Dr. Katzen will prescribe pain medication to control any discomfort. As you heal, you will be asked to avoid exercise, heavy lifting, or other strenuous activities. Dr. Katzen encourages taking short, frequent walks for exercise.

You may be able to return to all of your usual activities within eight to ten weeks following your surgery.

Are You a Candidate for a Forearm Reduction?

You may be a good candidate for forearm reduction surgery if you are in good physical health and at a stable weight. Often, Dr. Katzen recommends forearm reduction surgery for patients who have tried targeting the area in the gym, but have not seen the desired results.

Maintaining a proper diet and a healthy exercise routine or undergoing bariatric surgery can help patients lose weight. However, stubborn pockets of fat often remain, and as you lose weight, excess skin can develop in the upper arms (also known as “batwings”) and forearms. Typically, a forearm reduction with or without a brachioplasty is the best way to address these issues.

Can a Forearm Reduction be Combined with Other Plastic Surgery Procedures?

Many patients choose to combine plastic surgery procedures to minimize downtime. If you have more than one procedure in mind, Dr. Katzen will offer his recommendations for undergoing multiple surgeries simultaneously.

Typically, surgeries involving the upper portion of the body may be combined for most patients. Some procedures that can be done at the same time as a forearm reduction are:

Schedule Your Initial Lower Arm/Forearm Reduction Consultation Today

If you have excess skin and fat in your forearms, a forearm reduction may be the best solution to get the desired toned, sculpted look. Many patients are frustrated when they lose weight and do not have the final result they envisioned. Also, aging can take a toll on our appearance and leave us with stubborn fat deposits and hanging forearm skin.

Currently, Dr. Katzen is scheduling initial consultations for patients interested in forearm reduction. If you are also interested in a brachioplasty or other plastic surgery procedures, Dr. Katzen will discuss his recommendations during your initial consultation.

Dr. Katzen meets with patients in-person at his Beverly Hills, CA, Las Vegas, NV, and Dubai UAE offices. Alternatively, virtual appointments are available via FaceTime, Zoom, WhatsApp, and Skype.

To schedule your initial consultation, please call (310) 859-7770.

Before & After
Before & After
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.