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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 (28)

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Weight Loss Skin Excess Responds Best To Excision


Thank you for your question and congratulations on your weight loss!  Many patients like yourself get the health benefits of weight loss via bariatric surgery or diet and exercise only to be left with a lot of loose skin that negatively impacts body image.  As you are aware, excision of excess skin such as a body lift, arm lift, thigh lift, etc. are the most effective options for this problem.  Unfortunately non-invasive skin tightening treatments have not advanced enough to treat this problem without surgery. There is no evidence that mesotherapy helps with skin tightening.  I would caution you about looking for in-expensive non-surgical alternatives to treat this problmem.  You are likely to be dissappointed with the results and lose your hard earned money.  Most weight loss patients save their money for the procedures and also use home equity lines of credit to finance them.  This is also tax deductable. Good luck on your journey! 

Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Unfortunately, surgery is your only option


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 44 reviews

Massive weight loss leaves a lot of skin excess


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.

Web reference:

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

What's wrong with surgery - it works!


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.

Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Surgery for arm skin excess


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.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Nonsurgical Treatment Options Do Not Address Loose Skin


                  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. 

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Loose arm skin options.

After massive weight loss, the skin has usually stretched beyond its ability to recoil and remain elastic with the weight-loss. What this means is that the nonsurgical options for you are usually very limited in its ability to get you your desired results. You may end up spending far more in nonsurgical options, and never achieve what you are looking for. Surgery would probably be the best option for you. In addition, the degree of skin laxity will usually dictate the location and degree of incisions required to get the desired shape you're looking for.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Arm lift


Congrats on the weight loss that is amazing. Unfortunately only surgery will make a difference. You should look into training programs in your area and see if you can get into the cosmetic clinic and have surgery performed by a seniro resident. 

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Surgery After Massive Weight Loss


The best thing I can advise you to do is to discuss your realistic options with a board certified plastic surgeon who has operative and non-operative options in his/her office. I am skeptical that any technology exists non-surgically that can obtain for you a surgical result.

Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Skin tightening after massive weight loss


Patients who undergo massive weight loss or bariatric surgery have residual excess skin. Unfortunately, in most cases, this skin has lost its elastic ability for minimally invasive surgery or non-surgical techniques to be effective. Surgery is likely your only option for a result you'd be happy with.


Dr Kevin Ho

Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 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.

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