Is Brachioplasty A Good Alternative to Liposuction?

By: Dr. J. Timothy Katzen


Individuals can develop loose skin along the upper inner arm due to age, gravity, or weight fluctuation. Brachioplasty and liposuction are two body contouring options that can help target this area. While one procedure focuses on removing excess fat, the other concentrates on tightening up loose, draping skin. For some patients, both surgical techniques are done simultaneously for optimal contouring results. At J. Timothy Katzen, M.D. Beverly Hills, men and women can get help reshaping and sculpting their upper arms to feel better about how they look.

Dr. Katzen is a plastic surgeon who offers his expertise and surgical experience with a wide variety of cosmetic procedures available at his private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. During a thorough consultation, patients can discuss their concerns while Dr. Katzen develops the right surgical plan. Learn more about the difference between an arm lift and liposuction, and how both techniques may be the right cosmetic solution.

What is brachioplasty?

An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, can help individuals with excess, loose skin from the elbow to the shoulder. It is often a common issue for men and women after losing a significant amount of weight. Some patients deal with excess skin, laxity, and stretch marks due to genetics. Even the natural process of aging can cause the dreaded "bat wings," making older men and women feel self-conscious about their arms. Arm lift surgery is a delicate balance of eliminating unwanted pockets of fatty tissue with liposuction while removing loose skin for optimal results. Working closely with a plastic surgeon like Dr. Katzen will ensure the right body contouring techniques are used to give each patient optimal results.

What about brachioplasty vs. liposuction?

Liposuction can reduce excess fatty tissue in the upper arms. Patients with good skin tone or laxity are ideal candidates for liposuction. Liposuction can eliminate pockets of fatty tissue to provide a more sculpted, fit appearance to the upper arm area. A small incision is made with a cannula above the elbow to extract fat and smooth out the remaining skin and tissue for ideal contouring results. The liposuction scar is extremely small and, once healed, hardly noticeable.

A traditional arm lift procedure is needed when patients have excess skin in their upper arms, also referred to as "bat wings," which is a common issue among women and men, after massive weight loss. During the brachioplasty consultation, Dr. Katzen will examine and determine what each patient may need. A mini arm lift is possible when patients display a mild to moderate amount of loose skin. A crescent shape incision is placed in the armpit area to remove excess skin (and perform liposuction if necessary), alleviating the concern of a visible scar. A longer incision is required for patients with more moderate to severe hanging, loose skin in their upper arms. It will extend from the elbow to the armpit, yet Dr. Katzen will be highly conscientious about the incision placement for aesthetic concerns. If a patient requires liposuction to remove stubborn pockets of fatty tissue, this will be done in conjunction with the arm lift procedure before the remaining skin is tightened and sutured together.

What results can I expect with arm lift surgery?

Loose, saggy skin from the elbow to the shoulder is prevalent among patients who have lost a significant amount of weight. It is also a by-product of age, as our bodies begin to lose muscle mass starting in our 30s. Men and women, in the Beverly Hills area, can have more toned, tighter-looking arms with help from liposuction, a brachioplasty, or both done simultaneously.

An arm lift procedure can eliminate mild to severe amounts of loose skin and address:

  • Small pockets of fat in the upper arms
  • Loose supportive tissue to give patients a more contoured appearance

At J. Timothy Katzen, M.D. Beverly Hills, patients can get cosmetic help if they are unhappy about how their upper arms look or are struggling with excessive loose skin in that area. If you are considering brachioplasty or additional body contouring help with liposuction, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. J. Timothy Katzen. You can learn more about how Dr. Katzen can help and feel more confident about showing off your arms again.

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