Mini arm lift or liposuction? (Photo)

I'm a 20 year old female and I've always battled from a young age with my arms. I've NEVER worn a swimsuit without a T-shirt or even a tank top. I'm happy with the appearance of the rest of my body. But for my arms should I consider liposuction or a mini arm lift?

Doctor Answers 12

Arm lift and lipo

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Thank you for your question, looks like you can benefit from both, an in person consultation would be helpful to better evaluate, good luck!

Armlift for a 20 year old with Lax Skin

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    Based on your photos it appears that you have moderate skin laxity as well as excess adipose (fat) in your upper arms. If you are at comfortable weight overall then your arms are clearly out of proportion. Given your age, I would recommend as scarless an approach as possible, one that reduces the fat content and has the potential to tighten the skin. The best approach in my opinion would be the minimally invasive technique of SmartLipo, which will achieve both objectives with only two tiny insertion points on each arm. If the skin does not tighten enough after waiting up to a year, then you may need a mini-lift (as opposed to full brachioplasty now). I don't believe that non-invasive procedures such as Coolsculpt will provide adequate skin tightening. Best to seek several opinions from board-certified plastic surgeons in your area. 

Scott A. Brenman, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 52 reviews


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Hi Hannajael,  Thank you for your inquiry regarding arm liposuction or a mini arm lift. Thank you also for your pictures. Based on your pictures, even though you are 20 years old, if you had arm liposuction you would have sagging skin.  I believe this would make your arms worse.  If you had a mini arm lift, I believe you will not be satisfied with the outcome.  Based on your pictures, you have arm skin and fat all the way to the elbow. This excess arm skin and fat is best managed with liposuction and an incision that extends from the armpit to the elbow. This is called a brachioplasty or a full arm lift. Anything less and I do not think you will be satisfied.  A full arm lift takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to perform. A full arm lift is performed under general anesthesia. You should be able to return to work two weeks after your procedure.  To minimize arm scarring and keloids, arm compression garments are essential to wear postoperatively.  I advise my patients to wear an arm compression garment for six weeks after their full arm lift or brachioplasty.  If you have any further questions regarding arm liposuction, mini arm lift, full arm lift, or brachioplasty, please call my office. Sincerely Dr. Katzen

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


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You are young and healthy and therefore I recommend that you have as minimal done as possible. I would recommend Coolsculpting first and to see if it gives you the results that you are looking for. I would add an extensive exercise regimen to tighten your arms as well. Too soon for considering incisions for an arm lift. 

Liposuction or mini arm lift?

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Hi, hannajael!  You will most likely need both. Ultrasound, laser and radiofrequency are all useful additions to conventional, tumescent liposuction because they do provide an extra component of skin tightening.  I'd say give it a try if you are totally against the standard brachioplasty scar, which can be considerable.  You can always have more loose skin removed if you don't experience the contraction that is acceptable to you.  Good luck!
Dr. M

Liposuction with mini arm lift

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Hello and thank you for your question. Based on your photograph, you are a great candidate for liposuction with a mini arm lift.  You have slightly too much skin laxity to get away with liposuction alone.  If you were to have liposuction alone, I fear that you may develop more skin laxity.  The "skin tightening" effect from vaser or other modalities will not be enough for your arms based on the pictures.  Make sure you specifically look at before and after pictures of real patients who have had this surgery performed by your surgeon and evaluate their results.  The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 172 reviews

Arm lift or

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Thank you for your question. Based on the pictures and your age you can start with laser lipo and non invasive skin tightening treatments . If there residual skin bothers then go for arm lift. Please consult with a board certified PS for evaluation.

Liposuction vs arm lift

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I always start with Vaser ultrasound liposuction and/or Smart Lipo to address the fat and tighten the skin without the ugly arm lift scars.In a small percentage, additional skin tightening later with Thermi Tight RF may improve results. In fewer, a smaller skin excision may be added months later.An exam and consultation with a plastic surgeon who performs these procedures is recommended to confirm you are a candidate as well as discuss your options and expectations.


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Liposuction could benefit you given that you are young and your skin has a good likely hood of bouncing back once the fat is removed.  Another non-surgical option that could serve you well would be to have your arms CoolSculpted..I think this could provide you with improvement as surgery downtime.


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your arms appear to have good skin quality so lipo may be the answer. Sometimes it is combined with a small skin removal in the armpit which might be an option for you 

David R. Alfonso, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 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.