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Do I Need Arm Lift or Arm Lipo?

Many people have excess fat or skin on their upper arms. This may be due to a significant weight loss or just the two enemies of our vanity; the natural aging process and gravity! If you have been researching different arm lift procedures or arm lift vs lipo, you may have run across many different options including surgical, non-surgical, and liposuction. 

Traditional Arm Lift Surgery

Brachioplasty or more commonly known as arm lift surgery can remove extra skin that is sagging or loose. As we age, the production of collagen and elastin that our body naturally produces slows down so our skin loses volume.

This volume loss coupled with gravity can cause loose skin that hangs down or looks crepey. Also, our skin loses the ability to bounce back from events that would stretch it such as a significant weight loss.

A brachioplasty or surgical arm lift is done under general anesthesia and begins with the cosmetic surgeon making an incision that goes between the elbow and the armpit on the underside of the upper arm. The extra skin is then removed, tightened, and sutured back together to provide a natural contour to the upper arm.

arm lift surgery results
Arm lift surgery results

Arm Liposuction

If a patient has a large amount of excess fat in their upper arms, but they have relatively good skin elasticity (the skin will snap back easily), they may be able to achieve their desired results through arm liposuction alone.

Liposuction is one of the top cosmetic procedures performed in the United States every year and can remove pockets of unwanted fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. There are a few different procedures that can be used to perform liposuction.

Traditional Liposuction Technique

Traditional liposuction is performed using local anesthesia by a cosmetic surgeon. An instrument called a cannula (a small skinny tube) is inserted into the fat layer through small incisions that are made in strategic locations normally right by the elbow. The cannula is then run back and forth and vacuums up the excess fat and eliminates it.

The surgeon takes care to remove the fat in a sculpted fashion to provide natural-looking results. After the procedure, patients typically wear a compression sleeve for about 4 weeks.

If a patient’s upper arm issues stem primarily from excess fat, then lipo of their arms may be all they need. This will leave behind some excess skin but depending on their skin laxity, may tighten and conform to the newly contoured area of the arm.

Radio Frequency Liposuction Technique

Often referred to as a scarless arm lift or non-surgical arm lift, these procedures use radiofrequency heat or a combination of radiofrequency and microneedling to reduce fat and tighten skin.

Bodytite and Morpheus8 are both great options to firm and contour the upper arms for a patient who still has fairly good skin elasticity. Bodytite is a dual procedure that liquefies and eliminates unwanted fat while simultaneously tightening the skin. It also jumpstarts the body’s natural collagen manufacturing process.

Morpheus8 uses radiofrequency heat to disrupt and reduce fat cells and microneedling to contour, reshape and tighten the skin on the upper arms and to promote the creation of new collagen and elastin.

Both Bodytite and Morpheus 8 show an immediate difference, but results will improve as new collagen and elastin are formed during the next several months following the procedure.

scarless arm lift
Scarless arm lift with BodyTite™

Can Arm Lift Be Combined with Liposuction?

There are times when a combination of a traditional arm lift and liposuction will offer the best results for a patient for instance if they have experienced a massive loss of weight through bariatric surgery.

Sometimes a patient has a significant amount of loose skin already and using liposuction alone, to remove excess fat, will result in even more excess saggy skin. In these cases, both liposuction and a surgical arm lift would be the only option that would address both issues and deliver the desired outcome.

Sometimes, patients will choose to try using only liposuction to correct their upper arm issues because it is less invasive and less expensive than a traditional arm lift. If they do not achieve the desired results and end up with more loose skin, they can undergo a Brachioplasty to remove the excess skin.

This is called a delayed combination and often winds up being more expensive than choosing to have the combination surgery, to begin with. When deciding your path of treatment, consult with an expert cosmetic surgeon to maximize your surgical results.

Which Areas are Treated During Arm Lift?

Both the traditional arm lift and liposuction concentrate on the lower portion of the upper arm during the procedure. The goal is to remove excess skin and fat to produce natural-looking contours.

Choosing the type of procedure that is going to deliver the results you expect can be a tricky task, but understanding as much as you can about the different options available will be a great help. Evaluating arm lift vs arm liposuction and which would work better would be best done with the help of a trusted cosmetic surgeon.

Whether you have experienced a massive weight loss or the natural course of aging has left you with arms that you are unhappy with, do not despair! You will be able to regain the confidence to go sleeveless again.

A consultation with an experienced board certified cosmetic surgeon is the first step toward having the arms you desire. Contact SurgiCare Arts today for your personal consultation. Dr. Angelina Postoev is a triple-board certified cosmetic surgeon that offers a wide range of arm lift options in her offices located in Georgia and Florida.

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