Would I be a good candidate for arm liposuction? (photos)

I am looking in to liposuction for my upper arms, as they look disproportionate when compared to the rest of my body. However I also have stretch marks there and I have read that they can cause a problem with liposuction. Would I still be a candidate?

Doctor Answers 16

Would I be a good candidate for arm liposuction

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Thank you for your question and sending a photo. Looking at your photo, you seem to be a good candidate for laser liposuction. An examination of your skin tone would be needed to fully answer. Consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best Wishes

Start Conservatively

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Because the skin of the upper arms is quite thin and often loses its elasticity faster than that of other areas of the body, the upper arms can be tricky to treat. Based on your photos, liposuction may be a good match for you because it doesn't appear that you have an excessive amount of skin laxity. It may be in your best interest to start with liposuction. If you're not satisfied with your results after 6 months or so, you may consider undergoing traditional arm lift surgery to also remove skin. Of course, a face-to-face consultation with a plastic surgeon near you can help you further explore your options. Good luck with your decision!

Eric Mariotti, MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon

Arm lift options

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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, a mini arm lift procedure would be the best procedure. You may see some improvement with liposuction alone, but you may still have some residual skin laxity. The arm lift 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.

Candidate for arm liposuction

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Dear leahcamille1,

Thank you for your clinical post and photograph. Disproportionate localized fat collection to the upper arm is common. The problem with the upper arm is the skin is quite thin and not as elastic as other areas of the body and care and attention needs to be taken in performing liposuction of the upper arm to avoid aesthetically displeasing skin laxity and wrinkles. In general, upper arm focal fat excess in the presence of atrophic stratum also called stretch marks and skin laxity requires the use and deployment of a specialized liposuction specifically SmartLipo that deploys laser or BodyTite liposuction that deploys radio frequency energy will not only liquefy the fat, remove it improving contour, but stimulate a significant contraction of the soft tissue. I will often use fractional technology on the surface of the skin at the same time to minimize the risk for a brachioplasty or skin excision, which can lead to quite displeasing scars.

I’ve been performing liposuction for over 20 years and have specialized in advanced liposuction techniques that minimize the risk of skin laxity. I would encourage you strongly to seek out a practice that specializes in this kind of liposuction to minimize the risk of skin laxity.

I think with selection of the right surgical practice and a thorough consultation and assessment you can achieve a good result without the need for brachioplasty and the potential for unattractive scars.

I hope this information has been of some assistance and best of luck.

For more information, please review the link below. In particular pay attention to the areas of SmartLipo, BodyTite and Fractora skin fractional resurfacing.

R. Stephen Mulholland, M.D.
Certified Plastic Surgeon
Yorkville, Toronto

R. Stephen Mulholland, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Arm skin does still shrink some after liposuction.

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Liposuction of the arms is a very popular procedure and can be done under local. Skin shrinkage takes 6 months to occur and usually does quite well.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Marginal candidate for liposuction of the arms.

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In my experience the skin of the upper arms does surprisingly well after volume reduction from liposuction. You appear to have a sizable redundancy that might require a more formal brachioplasty. However, I would try liposuction independently is a first step. If the skin does well you can avoid the scar the goes along with brachioplasty.

Arm liposuction

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It is hard to know if you would be an ideal candidate just from a photo. The amount to be removed, the skin quality, etc all play into it. A consultation and full assessment is your best bet.  The pros and cons, expected benefit, alternative options can all be addressed. I'd be happy to see you and give you my opinion if you wish. 

Dr Rodger Shortt
Oakville Plastic Surgeon
Director if Cosmetic Surgery Training &
Assistant Clinical Professor, 
McMaster University

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Arm liposuction

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Liposuction of the arm can reduce the overall volume in the arm. Liposuction in general will not tighten the skin. Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Upper arm: Liposuction vs Arm lift

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In your case, I would recommend arm lift (brachioplasty). This involves removing skin and fat from the inside of the arm leaving a fine line repair.

I don't think liposuction or associated technologies will tighten the skin enough to give you a smooth nicely contoured result.  Try to imagine how much excess skin is involved here.  I would estimate that it's a triangular area with its base at the armpit and its point along the inner arm near the elbow.  It measures 2 or3 inches at the base.  Liposuction cannot volumetrically tighten the skin this much. 

When a plastic surgeon tries to tight the skin with liposuction, it is typically done aggressively.  Liposuction and  associated technologies in this area can leave indentations and adhesions of the skin to the underlying muscle with disastrous results.

Liposuction of the arms?

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It seems from your photographs that you probably need skin excision to improve the contour. This is often used in combination with liposuction to create a nicely sculpted arm.

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