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Arm Lift vs. Lipo: Which Is Right for Me?

The upper arms can be a problem area for many. Some people’s arms look flabby or bulky no matter how much they exercise. Others lose a significant amount of weight and are left with folds of loose skin that sag off the arms.

No matter what stands between you and the lean, elegant arms you desire, Northern New Jersey plastic surgeon Dr. Erwin Bulan can recommend a suitable treatment option. To get an idea of the treatment that is best for you, ask yourself what is causing the undesirable arm contour: excess fat or excess skin? Sometimes the answer is “both.”

Liposuction for Excess Fat

If excess fat is giving your arms a flabby or bulky contour, liposuction is likely the proper treatment. Plastic surgeons consider liposuction the gold standard of fat removal, and it is often used to create a leaner and more elegant arm contour.

During arm liposuction, tiny incisions are made and a thin, hollow tube called a cannula is inserted. The cannula is moved back and forth through the fat to break it up. The cannula is connected to a suction device that gently removes the unwanted fat. The arms look flatter and firmer almost immediately after surgery, with the results continuing to improve as the arms heal.

Because the incisions to insert the cannula are so small, there is usually no noticeable scarring from liposuction.

We follow up all arm liposuction with RF (radiofrequency) treatments to further address the arm contour by using energy-based lasers to help shrink the skin envelope to the new arm contour.

Arm Lift for Excess Skin and Fat

If you have loose, saggy skin on your upper arms, and small pockets of excess fat, arm lift is probably the more appropriate option for your case. It allows Dr. Bulan to comprehensively sculpt and tone the upper arms (from armpit to elbow). Liposuction removes fat but won’t address lax skin. Arm lift is helpful for individuals that have lost a significant amount of weight — including those who have done so through weight loss surgery — and whose skin cannot contract over the smaller arms.

During arm lift, incisions are made within the armpit area extending down the inner aspect of the arm. Through these incisions, excess skin is trimmed and loose tissues are tightened. Localized fat pockets can be removed with liposuction techniques if needed. The remaining skin is re-draped more tightly over the smaller arm contour.

Because arm lift requires a longer incision than liposuction, it does leave some scarring that may be visible along the backs or insides of the arms. However, Dr. Bulan can recommend techniques and products (Embrace Scar Therapy, lasers, etc.) to help minimize the appearance of scarring. And most arm lift patients are happy to trade more attractive arms for a faint scar.

To learn more about your contouring options for the arms, Dr. Bulan welcomes you to book a consultation at his practice. Call or email us today!