Will Insurance Cover My Arm Lift Surgery?

Q: My upper arms are huge and flabby. I can’t get rid of it. My arms hurt to move. I’ve had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders and bicep reattachment on my right shoulder. I have Medicare and Tricare insurances. My shoulders and arms hurt terribly. What can I do?

A: Based on your description of your problem, you appear to have the intent or belief that one’s medical insurance will cover you upper arm surgery. What you really need is an arm lift or brachioplasty. This is where all the loose skin on the back of the arm is removed with the trade-off of a long scar. While you have shoulder and arm symptoms, no insurance company is going to cover this type of cosmetic surgery. While an armlift can make a dramatic difference in the appearance of your arms, there is no medical evidence that it will improve shoulder pain or the function of the arm. That is not my medical opinion but the written stance of every insurance company. Your only option is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon and get a fee quote for this type of surgery. It can be done as an outpatient in a 90 minute to two hour operation. Arm lifts generally do not cause a lot of discomfort after surgery and recovery is fairly quick. While it does result in a long arm scar, it makes an immediate and dramatic change to the arms… that might even make your shoulders feel better. Dr. Barry Eppley Indianapolis, Indiana