Traditional lipo, Smart Lipo or Cool Sculpting- which is better for arms?

I am 35 yrs old and have always had undefined arms with a tinge of "wing fat". As I'm getting older I'm noticing the skin sagging a lil bit more and want to do something now before it gets outta hand. Not all DRs offer all 3 modalities in their office and usually they advocate the service they offer.....but how do you know which is best for a minimal effect if fat removal and skin tightening without a need for major skin or fat removal??

Doctor Answers 17

Arm Sculpting

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Cool sculpting will result in the least shrinkage. Forget about traditional lipo. Smart lipo is the way to go but you must find a plastic surgeon who performs a lot of sculpting, utilizes the laser, removes the fat with a powered device and very small cannulas that are 3 mm and less with small holes, and performs the procedure under light sedation so that you can activitely place your arms in all different positions for smooth multidirectional and level sculpting. 

Smartlipo best for your arms

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Thank you for your question. I recommend Smartlipo for your arms; this procedure is minimally invasive and will remove unwanted fat while tightening your arms. Since there is no picture to be sure this is best for you, I recommend consulting with your surgeon.

Bruce E. Katz, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Arm Fat and Results

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The best results for the arms come from liposuction, and you can even get additional skin tightening none of the non invasive devices do.  Other devices, nonsurgical also have a very difficult time with "contouring" and that is especially important with the arm area.  I would suggest seeing someone who does both surgical and nonsurgical contouring so you get the best options.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 203 reviews

Smartlipo is for you

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Good question. By the description of your needs you are looking for a minimally invasive alternative.  Smartlipo procedures fit well in this category. Any Liposuction is more effective at fat removal than non-invasive techniques. Smartlipo offers you the benefit of additional skin tightening as compared to traditional liposuction.  Good luck. 

Best option for best looking upper arms

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Thank you for your question.  A photo would be very helpful in giving your the most beneficial answers to your questions.  

The best treatment most certainly depends on how loose your skin and how much of it there is.  Cool Sculpting will modestly decrease the amount of fat in your arms, but will do nothing to tighten the skin.  Traditional liposuction can remove a much larger volume of fatty tissue, but will also do nothing to tighten your loose skin and may even exacerbate the issue by creating more loose skin due to volume loss.  If you are an appropriate candidate that has moderate fat deposits and moderately loose skin, Smart Lipo is a very good treatment solution.  Small laser and liposuction cannulas are utilized to break up the fatty tissue and remove it, then the laser is utilized again to treat the under-surface of the skin which creates new collagen and thickens/tightens the skin.  If you have an excess of loose skin/fat, the best solution would be a surgical arm lift or brachioplasty.  An exam is the only way to definitively answer your question about which treatment is best for you, and will give you optimal results.  Please seek consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area to explore your options.  Best wishes!

Best treatment for arm fat and loose skin.

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Of the three options you listed here, Smartlipo laser liposuction is going to be the best at removing both fat and offering skin tightening (to tone up that “wing”). Laser liposuction is a combination of fat removal and skin tightening using different wavelength fibers. While Coolsculpting and Traditional liposuction are great treatments to help remove stubborn pockets of fat, you will not see the same sort of tightening affect as you would with Smartlipo. The only other option that works well when you have skin laxity (hanging skin below the arm) is bracchioplasty, or a surgical removal of excess skin. Most patients find the scarring from this is something they don’t want to tolerate in exchange for the more aggressive skin tightening.

Also, I want to mention that CoolSculpting is going to be coming out with a new handpiece in April for the arms. Don’t be fooled- this handpiece will offer a better fit for the arms, but it still isn’t going to offer the skin tightening you need. CoolSculpting is a great option when fat is the only concern for arms.

Finally, I really appreciate that you offering this honest opinion that doctors offer what they have in their office as your best option. I see that all the time. I think as doctors we have the duty to offer our honest opinions. I offer all three of these options, and more, for arms, because I know there are patients who need each of these. I’m glad you’re doing your homework and becoming an informed patient. Kudos to you.


What is the best way to reduce sagging fat arms?

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The answer really depends on how much excess fat, how much excess skin, and the quality of the skin. If the skin is completely stretched out, it will wrinkled once the fat is removed by any type of lipo and you would probably be best off with a brachioplasty. If it's not too stretched, any type of lipo will create improvement. The best advice is to go for a consultation with a surgeon who offers both lipo and brachioplasty.

Treating Arm Fat and Sagging Skin

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Many patients consult the office because they are unhappy with their arms and sagging skin.  The best combination that we have observed is a combination of Coolsculpting followed by Thermage.  Coolsculpting will freeze the fat in the area and a week later Thermage is performed to tighten the skin.  With this combination you can expect to have good results within a few months. Please consult a board certified dermatologist who is experienced with these advanced non-invasive cosmetic techniques.

Arms----lipo, laser lipo or CoolSculpting?

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This is a great question. Liposuction, done by an experienced liposuction specialist, is the most precise way of removing either small or larger volumes of fat, and offers the skin tightening that cannot be achieved with CoolSculpting. Using laser assistance with liposuction offers even further skin tightening enhancement. Smartlipo is often discussed as if it were a laser procedure that didn't involve the suctioning part of the procedure. Smartlipo, or other brand of liposuction-laser, is a part of a lipo procedure, not the entire procedure. Suctioning is still required, preferably on an awake patient. This is the safest way to perform liposuction, and allows the patient to assist in the positioning necessary to achieve optimal results.

Liposuction of the arms is a very rewarding procedure for someone who has skin that has not lost too much of its natural elasticity (there has to be the ability of the skin to respond to the stimulus; it can't be totally stretched out).

I don't perform CoolSculpting because I can do liposuction, with, or without laser assistance. Liposuction always yields more precise, complete, and faster results than freezing the fat.

Which procedure?

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I give my vote for smart liposuction when it comes to arm sculpting.

Have the procedure done by a board-certified plastic surgeon with ample experience with SmartLipo.

In my opinion, having a procedure done awake is by far preferable.

Just as location is the most important part of real estate, so is experience when it comes to SmartLipo.

Best of luck,

Mats Hagstrom, M.D.

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.