Excess fat and sagging skin in the upper arms can be a great source of embarrassment for many people, even those who are at healthy weights. Patterns of fat accumulation and skin laxity are often related to genetics, and sometimes there’s little we can do at the gym to fight what Mother Nature has in mind. If you feel self-conscious about your upper arms and avoid sleeveless shirts or swimsuits, you may have considered cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance. I often field questions from patients at my practice in St. Louis about both arm liposuction and arm lift surgery. Although these procedures address the same part of the body, they’re very different from each other.
Liposuction is a versatile, relatively straightforward procedure that can be used on many areas of the body to remove unwanted fat, but it’s not for everybody. Though liposuction can create excellent results for most people, it can be problematic for those with larger amounts of skin laxity. After the removal of fat, it’s important that skin is able to “bounce back” and remain tight and smooth. If a large volume of fat has been removed, or if the affected skin is excessively stretched, liposuction may not be very effective.
For patients who require a more advanced procedure, I often recommend an arm lift, or brachioplasty. This surgery addresses both excess fat and loose skin, creating a smooth, elegant arm contour with taut skin and a minimal amount of remaining fat. Depending on the patient, some arm lift procedures can also incorporate liposuction to enhance the final results.
The best way to determine which procedure is the best choice for you is by scheduling a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has plenty of experience with arm contouring. During your appointment, your surgeon will evaluate your arms and talk to you about your goals and lifestyle to make a recommendation that will best deliver the results you want.