Non Surgical Skin Tightening for Arms?

I had Gastric bypass surgery about 8 years ago and lost 100lbs. Since then, I’ve experienced “loose skin”…EVERYWHERE!! I hate it!! I’m just as self conscious in clothes as I was 100 pounds ago. I’d like a complete body lift but that is definitely NOT in my budget. I’ve been considering mesotherapy or some other non surgical alternative on my arms because I’d like to at least feel comfortable in short sleeves (since the lower half of my body is a DEFINITE case of “nip/tuck”). I’m looking to tighten the skin, I’m sure I could afford to rid my arms of some fat, but primarily it’s the loose skin I’d like to focus on. Any recommendations? Experiences? Comments?

Doctor Answers (32)

Unfortunately, surgery is your only option

+3

After massive weight loss, the degree of excess skin and loss of elasticity can only be improved with excisional surgery. There really is no other way to make any real change.

The best plan would be to keep your weight down, meet with an excellent plastic surgeon and plan a long term program for total body improvement stage by stage and budget for it. You can direct the plan according to which areas bother you most and get these done first.


Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Massive weight loss leaves a lot of skin excess

+2

Following the massive weight loss, what is remaining is skin and not fat. The only option left is to remove that skin surgicaly. Minimal skin excess could be handled by some non surgical techniques like radio frequency.

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

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What's wrong with surgery - it works!

+2

Many patients have an unreasonable aversion to surgery in these cases whereas the truth is that it is the most successful method of treatment.  Financial issues aside - skin tightening tecniques are very effective for these problems.  You will be dissapointed with non surgical "experimental" treatments.

David Shuter, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Surgery for arm skin excess

+2

Minimally invasive skin tightening simply doesn't, unfortunately, offer the amount of tightening massive weight loss patients need.

Of the different types of arm lifts, there are lifts performed in the armpit crease and lifts that extend down the arm.

For more severe problems, the lift with an incision extending down the arm provides the best solution (since it decreases the circumference).

The trade-off is a scar and nice arms vs. no scar but excess skin in the arms, so patients should talk to their plastic surgeon about each of these options. The incisions on the arms do take a while to heal, but patients who are carefully selected are almost uniformly happy with the results.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Arm lifts after weight loss

+1
After losing 100 lbs, you will require skin removal from your arms for optimal results.  It is unlikely non-surgical treatments will help.  You should consult with an expert in arm lift surgery.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Non surgical skin tightening for Arms?

+1
After the massive weight loss that you have experienced, the loose skin on your arms is expected.  The elastic properties of the skin are diminished.  The best (and only realistic) method for tightening the arms involves arm lift surgery.  This is a great procedure for contouring your arms and recovery is quick.  You can buy and wear blouses without having the arms too tight.  I recommend discussing this with your plastic surgeon

John Zavell, MD, FACS
Toledo Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Non surgical skin tightening

+1
You have certainly done well to keep the weight off.  There are some non invasive options for skin tightening but they do not tighten well enough for the kind of loose skin most patients have after weight loss.  Those procedures are designed more for toning and building collagen than actually tightening loose skin.  Surgery is definitely the best option and I would not spend money on the other treatments.

Michelle J. Place, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

After weight loss

+1
After massive weight loss, your best option is surgery to excess all the excessive skin and give you the tight look you want.  Lasers may improve some of the looseness, but usually not in someone who has lost over a hundred pounds. I would suggest finding a board certified plastic surgeon in your area and discuss your options. If a plastic surgery training program is in your area, you might discuss surgery with them . Many programs do offer reduced prices for surgery.  You still will be in good hands since the surgical residents are supervised by board certified plastic surgeons, and most have completed 5 years of general surgery training as well.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Nonsurgical Treatment Options Do Not Address Loose Skin

+1

                  It’s not unusual for patients who undergo massive weight loss to develop saggy upper arm skin. When this occurs, it represents a significant aesthetic deformity that can’t be easily hidden unless patients are willing to wear long sleeve shirts. Even when surgical correction is undertaken, visible scars may be present on the inner aspect of the arms. When this occurs, patients may still need to wear long sleeve shirts.

Under these circumstances, patients are often motivated to seek non-surgical methods of treatment. Unfortunately, none of these treatments adequately address loose skin. After a 100 lb. weight loss, it’s unlikely that any non-surgical treatment would effectively treat your excess upper arm tissue. In this situation, a brachioplasty is usually always necessary.

For these reasons, consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your problem. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.