Arm lipo or arm lift after VSG? (Photo)

I had gastric sleeve surgery about a year ago and I am considering having plastic surgery. I dont know if I qualify for arm lipo or arm lift. I dont want my arms to have loose skin but also dont want that long scar instead have the scar from the armpit. What do you suggest?

Doctor Answers 7

Arm lift vs arm liposuction after weight loss surgery

people who have had weight loss surgery with significant weight loss usually have loose skin with poor elasticity. your pictures show that you do have loose skin which in my opinion as a body contouring plastic surgeon with many years of experience in post weight loss surgery would require an arm tuck or brachioplasty. obviously, nobody wants to have scars, but it is possible to hide the brachioplasty scar under the arm.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Arm lipo or arm lift after weight loss?

Judging by your photographs it appears that you would require a full brachioplasty (arm lift) in order to achieve your goals. Although arm lift surgery in the past has been associated with unsightly scarring improvements have been made over the last several years resulting in more acceptable scar appearance.Brachioplasty or arm lift surgery is one of the most frequently requested body contouring procedures performed today. The demand for this procedure has increased more than 800% since 1997. This is the greatest percent change of any of the commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedures Much of the increase in popularity is due to the growing number of patients who undergo massive weight loss. In performing this procedure an incision is made on the inside of the arm extending from the elbow into the armpit. Sometimes it is necessary to extend the incision further into the armpit and sometimes past it. Utilizing this incision excess skin is removed and the wound is closed. It is very important to position the scar properly so that it is concealed as much as possible. A well-placed incision should result in a scar that is only visible when the arms are raised. This operation is normally performed as an outpatient. It is very important for the surgeon to discuss the resultant scar thoroughly with the patient preoperatively. Very commonly this scar takes a longer time to undergo the full healing and maturation process. Maturation refers to the process whereby the scar becomes less apparent. Brachioplasty scars commonly take up to 2 years to fully mature. Immediately after the operation compressive Ace wraps are placed from the fingers up to the armpit. These can normally be removed within 24-48 hours postoperatively. Elastic compression sleeves commonly worn by athletes can be purchased relatively inexpensively at any sporting good store. Many patients wear these for up for up to 2 weeks postoperatively. No vigorous activity or strenuous activity is recommended for 3 weeks postoperatively. Complications following a well planned and well executed brachioplasty are uncommon. They may include however wound infection or wound breakdown. Is very important to follow the directions of your surgeon postoperatively to ensure the best years improvements have been made in the performance of brachioplasty (arm lift) leaving better scars than had been achieved in the past. This includes more precise incision placement, better closure techniques and use of post operative scar reducing systems. With greater attention to these details the benefits of arm lift surgery can be achieved with more acceptable scarring than in the past.

John J. Edney, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Arm lift or liposuction

Hello and thank you for your question. Congratulations on your weight loss. To obtain an excellent result you will need a combination of an arm lift and liposuction. You will need a long arm incision.  When placed appropriately  (nearly posterior ) the scar typically heals better and cannot be seen from the front whether your arms are up or down. 
Liposuction alone will give a small amount of improvement,  but I doubt that you would be happy with it.
Peter Fisher M.D 

Peter Fisher, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Body Contouring After VSG

Thank you for your question and congratulations on your weight loss so far!  Please keep in mind that achieving your stable goal weight will enhance the overall aesthetic result of any procedure.  Based on your photo, liposuction alone may improve your contour, but is unlikely to provide optimal correction due to skin laxity.  A brachioplasty or arm lift would likely provide the best result.  As you mentioned, the tradeoff would be a longer scar.  I would advise you to seek out an experienced plastic surgeon for an in-person consultation to discuss your weight loss goal, your goals and expectations from surgery, answer all your questions and to help you determine the best course of action.  Best wishes!

Christian N. Ford, MD
Cohasset Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews


I recommend Vaser ultrasound liposuction  or smart lipo to remove the fat and tighten the skin, usually avoiding the arm lift scars. Some patients may require further procedures after allowing for final healing time.

An exam and consultation with a plastic surgeon who performs these procedures is recommended to discuss your options and expectations.

Harry T. Haramis, MD, FACS
Montclair Plastic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Arm lipo or arm lift after VSG?

Thank you for your question.  Based on your photo which demonstrates excess skin and fat of the arm, an arm lift combined with liposuction would address these issues the best.  Considering the extent of skin excess, liposuction alone would only leave you with more sagging skin.  Unfortunately, there's no way around getting rid of this much excess and optimizing contour without leaving a scar.  Be sure to consult with an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.  Good luck!

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Arm Lift vs Laser or Ultrasound assisted lipsuction

the biggest question is how elastic the skin of your upper arms are. If you cant bear the thought of a long upper arm scar a slimmer arm after some skin retraction provided by laser or ultrasonic assisted liposuction may provide an acceptable result. It is not an easy decision.

Harold Bautista, MD, FACS
Fredericksburg Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 20 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.