I am being discouraged from performing smartlipo on my arms to minimize my bat wings because of fear of injury to my brachial plexus and median vein. Are there cases of injury and how high is the risk?
Risks of Smart Lipo on Arms
Doctor Answers (4)
Smartlipo of the Arms
Smartlipo of the arms is a safe and effective treatment which we perform regularly. If performed correctly, those types of complications are not typical. If your arms are full - the liposuction will be very effective. If you actually have loose skin "wings" then you may want to consider an arm lift or brachioplasty instead. Good luck.
Risks of Smartlipo are very small.
The risks of performing Smartlipo on the arms are relatively small -- injury to the brachial plexus and injury to the vein are way down the list of possible complications.
The main complications of Smartlipo are:
1) Uneven or asymmetrical results. This is no different than traditional liposuction
2) Fluid collections beneath the skin. I think this is less likely than with traditional liposuction
3) Incomplete resolution of "batwing". Smartlipo is significantly better at resolving this than traditional liposuction.
4) Burn from the laser. I have not seen this in my practice because I use the thermal sensor ("thermaguide") available in the newest generation of the laser called "Triplex". I have seen patients from other physicians (mostly non-surgery trained doctors) with very bad burns and have had to correct this.
18 & 19) injury to brachial plexus and veins.
As other physicians have noted, depending on the extent of your "batwing" Smartlipo may or may not be the procedure of choice. As long as you see a board certified plastic surgeon that offers both SmartLipo and traditional brachioplasty (cutting out the excess skin) you can get a non-biased opinion regarding which procedure is best for you. If you ask a surgeon that doesn't perform both procedures then the surgeon's preference is going to be whichever procedure he/she performs.
Smartlipo in the arms
If your endpoint is correction of the "batwings" in the arms, Smartlipo may not be the optimal choice as the skin laxity may be too much for Smartlipo to correct. This may be better addressed with an armlift, the downside of course, is the long scar that goes tih this. As in any cosmetic procedure, one of the more important issues is identifying the proper procedure for the right procedure. It is best to see a surgeon who does both procedures (Smartlipo and Armlift) to get an objective evaluation.