Can The Saggy Skin From My Elbows Be Removed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I have terrible sagging elbows. It is not really the upepr arms like many people but just down and around the elbows. I have lost a fair amount of weight but the extra skin seems to have settled largely in the lower part of my arms. I am very interested in correcting this problem as when I lean on them they are painful and red. Is there a surgery for saggy elbows?

A: It is very common with a lot of weight loss for women to develop the saggy upper arms in the triceps area. (aka batwing) If extensive enough, the extra skin may extend the whole down across the elbow into the forearms. This is treated by an extended armlift.

But extra skin that is largely just around the elbows, and not involving the upper arm as well,  is not common. Bur whether it is common or not, it can be treated by skin excision making it an elbow lift. Just like the armlift this does result in a longitudinal scar that crosses the elbow joint. The key to this elbow lift is to not put the scar on the back of the arm. This would make the scar come directly across the prominent angle of the elbow on bending one’s arm. That would likely cause healing problems in the short-term and scar pain in the long-term. The scar needs to be placed on the inner aspect of the elbow to both avoid the flexion of the elbow joint and to be least visible to others.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana