Dr. Joseph M. Perlman Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre

With an increase in bariatric surgery (gastric banding and gastric bypass) to treat patients with obesity, there has been a marked increase in the number of reconstructive plastic surgery procedures to treat excess skin.

Known by the common name of upper arm lift, Brachioplasty is a procedure that has increased in popularity from 2,500 cases ten years ago, to over 20,000 currently. During this time, the procedure has also undergone its own metamorphosis.

Due to an emphasis on surgical procedures to have smaller incisions and shorter scars, most techniques nowadays involve liposuction of the upper arm combined with the removal of skin from the armpit area. The scar is not only very well hidden, but most of the hair-bearing skin is removed along with the sweat gland areas of the armpit. For patients who have had massive weight loss, the procedure can also target the lateral chest and back areas plagued by excess skin.

Brachioplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure under local anesthetic with sedation or general anesthetic. The results are quite dramatic once the skin tightens. Patients are no longer bothered by the appearance of so-called “bat wings” and can feel confident bearing their arms in public.