Do I need to reach my goal weight before an arm lift if significant laxity is already causing problems?

I'm F, 5'10, early 20s, 190lbs, lost ~95lbs through lifestyle changes (w/ steady losses & no gains or yoyo-ing) over 2 yrs. I'm 15lbs from a normal bmi but maybe 40lbs from my goal weight. My arms already cause significant problems with exercise, hygiene, shaving, clothing, and confidence. I don't want to wait to get them fixed if I don't have to. Would lipo+arm lift be possible/reasonable at this point? Even if currently possible, would it be advisable to wait in order to get the best results?

Doctor Answers 8

Either might work

So if an arm lift is inevitable then you can make an argument to wait or go ahead straight away. The one thing to your advantage is your age. If your weight loss has not left you with any stretch marks on your abdomen or arms then there is a chance that following your arm lift, if you were to lose more weight, you may be able to take up the slack with your skins elasticity. If you combine armlift with liposuction to the arms, any further weight loss from that area would be reduced, minimising the problem.If you were past 40 I would suggest this was very unlikely. Timing also plays a role. Armlift can be done twice with no additional scars and so if it were 10 years from now, there is a possibility to have the same done again. Hope that helps. Adam Goodwin

Importance of Goal Weight

It is advised before you have any major surgery to get to your goal weight first. Continuing to lose weight after you undergo surgery could cause you to need additional surgery again in the future. You have to remember that you are undergoing this surgery due to weight loss, so undergoing additional weight loss post-operatively will have the same effect. It is hard to say how much weight is safe to lose without causing additional droop, so it is best to go ahead and get to your goal weight to prevent ruining your surgical results.

John W. Tyrone, MD
Gainesville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Do I need to reach my goal weight before an arm lift?

Ideally, it is best to reach your goal weight prior to undergoing an arm lift or any other body contouring procedure. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, a significant weight loss, such as 40lbs, following your arm lift may increase skin laxity and detract from the final outcome. Secondly, being at your goal weight at the time of surgery will help to ensure that you get the best possible outcome from your procedure with the lowest risk of wound healing complications. That said, it's not always the case that people achieve their goal weight prior to surgery and may be appropriate to plan your procedure now. If your arms are changing only slightly as your weight decreases or if they are a significant impairment to a healthy lifestyle and continued weight loss then going ahead with your arm lift now may be a reasonable compromise. This is something to discuss with your board certified plastic surgeon. congratulations on your weight loss and good luck with your body contouring!

Owen Reid, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Goal weight / arm lift

Thank you for your question.  Congratulations on your weight loss.  It's important to be stable near your goal weight before proceeding with your arm lift.  This would optimize your aesthetic result and lower risks for complications.  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 16 reviews

Do I need to reach my goal weight before an arm lift if significant laxity is already causing problems?

Congratulations on your significant weight loss thus far; you should be very proud of this accomplishment.  Undoubtedly, you will be best off achieving a long-term stable weight are to proceeding with  armlifting or any other type of body contouring surgery Best wishes as you work towards your goals and for an outcome that you will be very pleased with.

Armlift Questions

Hello,Without photos, it would be difficult to give you good advice, however given your height and weight it sounds like a comprehensive treatment that includes liposuction and brachioplasty will give you a great result now. Please visit a few ABPS certified/ASAPS member surgeons.Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Arm lift/ Brachioplasty/Skin Tightening/ Body Contouring/ High Definition Procedures

I appreciate your question. Congratulations on your weight loss! For health and safety reasons, best to be at a BMI less than 30 or within 10 pounds of your goal weight and stable at that weight for 6 months prior to surgery for optimal results. 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 Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Director-Beverly Hills Breast and Body Institute #RealSelf100Surgeon #RealSelfCORESurgeon

Arm lift now or wait?

Thank you for your question.  I can understand your desire to take care of your arms now as loose, flabby upper arms can be quite bothersome. If you were my patient I would advise you to wait if you are sure that you will get to your goal weight. The reason is that I would have two choices in approaching your surgery.  The first would be to make your arms look good at your present weight (which is what I would do).  If you loose another 40 pounds then your arms are most likely going to loosen up again and you will need to undergo the surgery again for them to look as good as possible.  The second would be to aggressively contour down the arms in anticipation of your eventual weight loss (which I don't think anyone who knows what they are doing would do).  This would make your upper arms look disproportionately small compared  to the rest of your body and would look strange. If you never make it to your goal weight or if you gain some of it back you would be stuck with that appearance. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you see a plastic surgeon with experience in upper arm contouring who understands the importance of proper scar placement. Ask to see pictures of their own results and make sure that they are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and also, preferably, a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the California Society of Plastic Surgeons. 

Lars Enevoldsen, MD
Modesto Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 22 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.