Do you think I need an arm lift to get smaller arms or will I get a good result with lipo? (photos)

I have always hated my big arms. I am 42 years old, 5'4" and 152 lbs, but when I was pregnant I weighed 230. I lost a lot of weight and my arms are still disproportionately large. I'm finally at a point in my life where I have the resources to get lipo or surgery. Here is my question: Do you think my arms will look good after lipo or will I be left with loads sagging skin? Would an arm lift provide a better result?

Doctor Answers 24

Arm Lift versus Arm Liposuction

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It is difficult to assess which procedure will serve you best without consultation and examination of your skin and tissue.  However, from the pictures, it looks to me that no only you have about 1.5 to 2 inches of tissue excess and laxity, you also have arm pit sagging.  More than likely, you will be served best with an extended arm lift procedure if I had to guess.  To learn more about different arm lift techniques, see the link below. Best of luck.  

Arm lift or lipo

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Based on your photos you will probably be most happy with an arm lift.  While liposuction removes excess fat, it does not address any loose hanging skin.  The arm lift can recontour the area giving a more proportionate look to the arm overall.  I would suggest meeting with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to discuss the details of this surgery.  Best wishes.

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Am I a better candidate for an arm lift or just lipo?

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I would say that liposuction with an armlift would be the best for you. If it is just lipo you will still have the loose skin, esp after that weight loss. I am President of the American Society of Bariatric Surgeons and post bariatric patients are one of my specialties. 

Edward J. Domanskis, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Arm lift after 80 pound with loss

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Thank you for asking about your arm lift or liposuction.

  • I am inclined to think from the photos and your weight loss that you are likely to need an arm lift.
  • But the amount of loose skin in the photos isn't so bad as to make the answer a sure thing.
  • I don't see laser liposuction as the answer - it can leave thin skin irregular and the shrinkage is modest.
  • Are you at your final weight or planning to lose more?
  • If you are losing more - wait and then have an arm lift. 
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

Liposuction for an arm lift

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This can be a difficult decision, even with a good physical examination by a board-certified plastic surgeon. From your photographs, it seems that the amount of skin laxity you have will require a full arm lift.

Ira H. Rex lll, MD
Fall River Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Do you think I need an arm lift to get smaller arms or will I get a good result with lipo?

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I appreciate your question.

A physical exam is needed to best answer this question as the best answer is dependent on the laxity of your skin.  If you have a lot of fatty tissues and your skin is elastic, liposuction will give you a nice result.  However, if you have no fatty tissue and your tissue is lax, brachioplasty (arm lift) would be the better way to go.  Another possible option would be liposuction combined with skin tightening laser.  A physical exam is need to discuss all of your options and goals of surgery.  I have an office in Beverly Hills if I can be of assistance.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.
Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

To lift or not to lift?

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First of all, congratulations on your weight loss! That sort of change is never easy. I think you can see from the varied answers you have received to your question so far, you are in the twilight zone of arm contouring surgery. Post-weight loss skin excess, a little fat not a lot, good skin elasticity but maybe not great, feeling fit but getting older- all of these factors make an absolute decision about what is best difficult to determine. A full brachioplasty will give you the best overall result, with the tightest skin and thinnest arm, but you will have a long scar and longer recovery to deal with. I quit trying to talk patients out of this procedure a long time ago because I found that they felt the scar was worth the improvement.
However, looking at your pictures, when I have a patient who is very concerned about the appearance of the scar with proportions similar to you, I have found liposuction to be a good option for fat removal when it is combined with the judicious application of internal laser energy (Smartlipo) to promote skin retraction, and have had a lot of success doing so. Ultimately the choice is up to you, and there probably is not a wrong way to go- just determine which option best meets your expectations for surgery, and find a board certified plastic surgeon who can explain the difference.

Trenton C. Jones, MD
Orem Plastic Surgeon

Arm liposuction, arm reduction, arm lift, brachioplasty, hanging arm skin

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Thank you for your arm history and your arm pictures. Based on your pictures, you have excess upper arm skin and fat that goes from the armpit to your elbow. This is a Type 3 arm. Based on your age, history of almost 80 pound weight loss, Type 3 arms, I think your best result would be at achieved with a full arm lift or full brachioplasty. Since you have excess arm skin, arm liposuction would not eliminate this excess arm skin. In addition, based on your age and weight loss history, I do not believe arm liposuction will tighten your arms. For the best arm lift results, you need a full brachioplasty.

The full brachioplasty takes approximately two to three hours under general anesthesia. The procedure includes arm liposuction, as well as excision of excess upper arm skin. The incision extends from the axilla (armpit) to the elbow. Most patients are able to return to work one to two weeks after their arm lift or brachioplasty. To flatten the arm scar and minimize edema (swelling), you need to wear arm compression garments for four to six weeks.

I hope this answers your question regarding arm reduction / arm lift / brachioplasty. Good luck! If you have anymore questions regarding arm lift or arm liposuction, please contact my office. Sincerely, Dr Katzen

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

Is an arm lift needed

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The answer to your question depends on the quality and amount of skin you have on your arms.  A brachioplasty is essentially an upper arm lift. In this procedure, the excess hanging skin and fat in the upper arm is removed. Its the procedure used to correct the common "bat wing" of skin that manifests in patients who have lost a significant amount of weight. Its difficult to evaluate your arms from just your photo. A physical exam is needed to make any recommendations. Best wishes.
Dr. Basu
Houston, TX

Arm lift candidate

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Thank you for your question. With age and/or weight changes, the upper arms can hold a lot of excess fatty tissue and develop skin laxity. An arm lift procedure helps to contour the upper arms by reducing excess skin and fat. The incisions can be hidden in the armpit for those with a moderate degree of laxity or along the vertical length of the upper and inner arm for those with more skin excess (traditional arm lift). Based on the photos, you should see a good deal of improvement with liposuction alone, however, a mini arm lift would only further provide more definition to the arm and improve the shape even more. The results are extremely satisfying. I would recommend that you visit with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area to discuss your options in more detail.

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.