Liposuction of Arms

Man's Arm

Arm liposuction is the second most popular plastic surgery in the US, after abdominal liposuction. The requirement of slender arms and the effective results obtained are the keys to its fame. Arms liposculpture started gaining popularity since the advent of tumescent liposuction in the US in 1981. Women pursue it for cosmetic reasons. Arm liposculpture can help reshape the arms, leaving them slim, smooth, and well toned

Commonest Treatment Zones in Arms

  • Upper Arms: Bulky, muscular upper arms are common issues among women, especially post pregnancy and weight loss. It can also be a problem area for fit women as upper arm flab is extremely difficult to tone despite regular diet and exercise.
  • Hanging Skin: This is another major issue in the lower side of the upper arms. Sagging down, the flab is often referred to as bat wings.
  • Fat Deposition in Axilla: Armpit or underarms are medically referred as Axilla. Fat deposits hit both front and back of the underarm. More frequently seen in obese women. Sometimes thin women also suffer from it.

Eligibility for Liposuction of Arms

  • Patient’s Eligibility: liposculpture of the arm may not be ideal for obese (15-20 pounds plus overweight) people. The plastic surgery is typically useful for eliminating small fat deposits, giving a well-toned appearance. Usually, a surgical liposuction of arms vacuums out approximately 75% subcutaneous fat, which is quite substantial. Therefore, high skin quality, especially tone and elasticity, is desired to regain the arm shape. If the skin quality is low, additional arm tuck procedures may be required for skin firming after the liposuction procedure.
  • Surgeon’s Eligibility: A board certified, reputable surgeon should be the choice. Do look at before and after pictures of your surgeon’s cases.

Liposuction Techniques for Arms

Liposuction of arms is performed with local anesthesia. The incisions are usually made on the inner side of the upper arms, armpits or just above the elbows.

  • Laser Liposuction: This is the most preferred technique for the purpose, as it is the least invasive, has minimal skin damage, and finishes within an hour. Liposuction fat cells are liquefied with the help of a laser inserted through tiny incisions and the cells are then pumped out. Laser lipo is comparatively costlier than the other types of liposuction. Generally,  recovery is fast, as there are no sutures. Bruising, scarring, and swelling are minimal. Post surgical compression may be optional. SmartLipo, employing the light wavelength of 1064nm, 1320nm, and 1440nm, is the most popular method here.
  • Tumescent Liposuction or Power-Assisted Liposculpture: It involves the use of microcannulae, which are inserted in the skin through incisions (adits), measuring around 1 mm. The liposuction fluid helps melt or dissolve the fat, the cannula dislodges it, and the suction device ultimately eliminates it from the body. The procedure barely takes an hour or two and therefore, a hospital stay is not needed. The wounds are left open to allow the excess fluid to drain. After surgery, the patient is required to wear compression dressings for up to 3 days, which may cause some slight discomfort. Swelling and bruising around the sutures should heal in a few weeks. Patients may even feel numbness around the suture lines. This is normal and may take a couple of months to disappear. The incision marks diminish over time. However, since they are on the inner side of the arm, they may not be as visible to others.
  • Super Wet Liposuction: This method is also used sometimes.
  • Injection Lipolysis: This is nonsurgical liposuction and is suitable for people who are fit, but need slight toning of the arms. The procedure involves injecting a solution of phosphatidyl choline and dexycholate into the target area. This solution breaks down the fat cells and aids their absorption. Multiple sittings are needed for the next three to four weeks. The patient may experience some burning sensation or pain in the injected area. Bruising, soreness, and swelling should reduce in a week.

Post Surgery Facts

Only moderate compression is required after arm liposuction. Excess compression may cause swelling of  the forearms and hands. Drainage usually ends within the first 48 hours after the surgery. Absorbent pads are helpful in this phase. From the third day on, simple crepe bandages are okay. The patient may need assistance (for eating etc.) from friends or family members during recovery from liposuction, as the arms need ample rest for at least a week. Any form of strenuous activity (like lifting things) should be avoided for at least 6 weeks. Upper body exercises or even raising up the arms are prohibited for 8-10 weeks. Ladies with small children should refrain from picking their little ones. Numbness in the treatment area takes about 3-6 months to pass. Patients are usually able to resume their routine within 3-6 weeks.

Risks of Arm Liposuction

  • Lowered skin elasticity
  • Allergies from anesthesia or medications
  • Evident scarring due to incisions or sutures
  • Irregular, unshapely arms and sagging skin due to excessive liposuction
  • Muscle twitching
  • Numbness
  • Skin discoloration

Cost of Liposuction: Arm liposuction cost usually ranges between $2000-4000.