young woman stretching her slim arms

It’s common for people to struggle with excess fat and poor muscle tone in their upper arms. With age, you may notice the skin in this area starting to become loose and flabby. Some people refer to this phenomenon as having “bat wings.”

You have two primary muscle groups in your upper arms: the triceps and the biceps. The biceps are at the front of your arm, and the triceps support them in the back. The triceps are often the weaker of the two because you don’t use them directly in daily carrying and lifting objects such as children and grocery bags.

What Causes Bat Wings?

Excess upper arm fat is more common in older adults, as well as people who are overweight. As you age, skin becomes lax and muscle tone diminishes, especially if you are predisposed to carry extra fat in your upper arms.

Targeted triceps exercises can help shape and tighten this area; however, if you also struggle with sagging skin, you may become frustrated when it hides the efforts you’ve made to achieve the sculpted, defined upper arms you desire. In this case, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Amy Alderman can help by providing you with cosmetic options.

What Is an Arm Lift?

A procedure known as a brachioplasty, or arm lift, is one way to surgically address the appearance of your upper arms. People who have unwanted fat and loose skin in this area can benefit greatly from the self-confidence this procedure brings. It’s also ideal for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight and now find that their skin has not been able to bounce back from its formerly stretched-out shape.

The best candidates for arm lift surgery are patients of any age who are in good physical health and are within their target body weight, but who lack definition in their upper arms, despite their commitment to a cardio, strength training, and weight-loss program. For these people, Dr. Alderman can remove excess skin and flab from the armpit to the elbow, and tighten the remaining skin for a contoured shape.

Dr. Alderman can perform a brachioplasty with or without liposuction surgery, or she may recommend liposuction as a stand-alone procedure if you wish to remove unwanted fat, but do not have a problem with lax, overhanging skin. Liposuction can leave excess skin under the arms, so, for older patients or those whose skin is not very tight, Dr. Alderman usually recommends brachioplasty to get rid of bat wings.

Non-Surgical Removal of Bat Wings

One other option Dr. Alderman may recommend after consulting with you about your concerns is CoolSculpting, which eliminates fat cells from targeted problem areas by freezing them. CoolSculpting is an FDA-approved, non-surgical fat reduction technique that can significantly help improve the appearance of trouble spots that resist diet and exercise. Provided you have enough fat on your upper arms for the specially designed device to latch onto, you may be a good candidate for this option.

CoolSculpting is ideal for women and men who are already at or near their target body weight and are willing to work to maintain their results by following a diet and fitness plan. After a brief in-office session, you will be able to resume your normal routine with no downtime necessary for healing.

Unlike with surgical procedures, which tend to be more immediately noticeable, you will continue to see the results of CoolSculpting emerge gradually over several months as your body continues to flush out the dead fat cells. That makes CoolSculpting a smart choice for any patient who wishes to be more discreet about “having work done.”

Shed Your Wings and Rediscover Your Self-Esteem

Don’t let your bat-wing arms make you feel self-conscious about wearing tank tops this summer. Whether you are leaning toward surgical options like an arm lift, or wish to explore more about the advantages of CoolSculpting, Dr. Alderman will be able to evaluate you and advise you on which procedure will provide you with the best results.

The benefit of working with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon is that you will always have the confidence that she is taking your best interests for safety, comfort, and ideal aesthetic outcomes into consideration, and that she will always take time to answer all your questions with compassion and professionalism. Contact the North Atlanta Plastic Surgery Center today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Alderman. You’ll be glad you did!