Background: The literature has witnessed an evolution in brachioplasty technique since the procedure was introduced by Thorek in 1930. Aesthetic refinements in brachioplasty have been increasingly described in the literature, and this has paralleled the rise in the massive weight loss population. The aim of this review is to share the plastic surgery experience with this challenging body region and present different approaches to achieve the best results for a broad spectrum of patients. Methods: A literature review studying brachioplasty was performed through PubMed. Throughout the literature there has been debate about scar placement, scar length, application of liposuction, drain placement, and optimization of outcomes, and differences of opinion have been compared. Results: There is no definitive best method of brachioplasty, as evidenced by multiple classification systems which present algorithms for management depending on presentation. Not only does approach differ depending on degree of presentation, but there are also different approaches depending on author for similar manifestations. Approaches vary through incision length, incision placement, and use of liposuction. Outcomes studies similarly reveal lack of consensus. Conclusion: This literature review has elucidated multiple approaches to brachioplasty, and the pearls and pitfalls described may all be incorporated to produce excellent outcomes and patient satisfaction in an individualized approach.
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