Best Approach to Loose Skin and Fat on Upper Arms?

I have lost 115 lbs and still have fat on my upper arms, along with some loose skin that still has good elasticity. This upper arm fat has always been resistant to diet and exercise, and I'm now 44. I am considering liposuction to remove the fat, and am wondering if I should get an arm lift with that, or wait to see how things look after the lipo? I read somewhere that a Dr. said results are better if you do the two separately...wondering what you think?

Doctor Answers 20

Arm Lift

Based on the information you've provided and your photo, you'll probably need an arm lift rather than liposuction. This is because if you remove a lot of fat in your upper arms with liposuction alone, you'll have loose skin that may not be able to retract to your leaner contour. This loose skin will make the results of your liposuction hard to see. An arm lift will remove the excess fat and skin to give you a better result.  

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Arm lift and liposuction to treat loose skin and fat

Based on your photo, I suspect surgery will not meet your expectations unless you combine lipo with a brachioplasty. While it is true that new lipo techniques such as slim lipo offer some skin tightening, considering your photo I do not think that lipo alone will give you the reults you're looking for. Of course, just having the liposuction doesn't preclude you from having a brachioplasty later on if you so choose.  Many people prefer to maximize their results and downtime and have both procedures done at once. This is a personal decision you should discuss with your surgeon.

Deason Dunagan, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

The Best Upper Arm Surgery for you is Brachioplasty

Congrats on your weight loss. But you have enough extra skin and fat on your upper arm that you will need a bracioplasty (arm reduction). Liposuction will be 'whistling in the wind' for you.

Brachioplasty will cut off all the excess. The 'trade-off' is that you have to accept a scar on the inner surface of your upper arm. In your case, I think the scar is worth it, but you have decide for yourself.

You have so much extra skin that liposuction alone will actually make things worse.

G. Gregory Gallico III, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
3.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Liposuction for upper arms

Congratulations on such a great weight reduction. You probably will not get enough benefit from lipoosuction alone, whether laser-assited liposuction or tumescent lipoosuction followed by Thermage external radiofrequency tightening After these procedures, your skin will not retract enough and you will end up seeking a plastic surgeon to do an arm lift, so I would suggest you see a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss the type of scarring that is expected with the arm lift and other risks and consequences.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Treatment for redundant arms- arm lift, liposuction, or both?

I admire you for all that weight loss!  Your arm will require an arm lift (brachioplasty) for complete treatment.  There is absolutely no advantage to staging the procedure.  The arms can be debulked with liposuction and the excess skin then excised during the same operation.  The consensus at a recent meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery that Smart Lipo offers no advantage at all over regular liposuction.  Also, Thermage, or any other so-called method of non-surgical skin tightening, will NEVER sufficiently tighten your arm skin.

Good luck!

Bruce E. Genter, MD, FACS
Abington Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Solutions for Flabby Arms

Liposuction is the fastest way to say good-bye to bulky arms. Usually, a tiny incision is made near the elbow and the cannula is passed all the way up to the armpit. Sculpting of the arm can be done at the same time as an arm lift, avoiding the need for multiple surgeries. Smart Lipo uses laser light to liquefy fat and tighten the surrounding skin. It involves less downtime and side-effects than traditional liposuction and is particularly good for small areas of fat deposits. An effective non-surgical option is Thermage, a non-invasive (no incision!) treatment that can tighten skin, and stimulate your body to make healthier collagen—the building block that provides structure to your skin.

 While  even heavy and moderately droopy arms can be recontoured very effectively with liposuction because the act of liposuction itself causes the surrounding skin to tighten and lift with  very large weight loss and severe hanging skin a brachioplasty will be the most effective procedure—but the trade-off is a big scar and longer recovery.

The best way to protect yourself is to consult a board-certified plastic surgeon who is professionally bound to engage only in techniques that have been deemed safe--after rigorous testing.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Arm lift

Congratulations on losing all that weight!  The rewards are better health, but unfortunately the loose skin on the arms will not get better without cutting out the loose skin.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Arm Lift

The beast result will be by doing liposuction and arm lift at the same time. The Amount of the excess skin make liposuction by itself less effective. The scar lenght and postion will depend on the amount of extra skin.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Arm lift vs. liposuction for arms vs. both

Based on the picture you have showed, an arm lift is the best option. The main consideration is will additional liposuction help. I think it will help if it is "deflated" first, so a staged approach might be best - liposuction first, let the swelling come down and then do the arm lift. I wish you all the best. J. Vicente Poblete, MD. Avon lake plastic and cosmetic surgeon.

J. Vicente P. Poblete, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Brachioplasty or Arm Lift vs Lipo

Judging by your photos I would recommend an arm lift.  Liposuction will produce a slight improvement but you already have laxity in the skin and excessive skin as well.  So liposuction will not address the loose skin that you have and will need the skin resected.  In some patients there is some benefit to staged surgery with liposuction and then a brachioplasty at the second stage.  It really depends what the patient expectations are.

But with brachioplasty alone, the excess skin will be removed while with liposuction if will only get more loose.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 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.