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Arm Lift Surgery vs Arm Liposuction

Arm lift surgery and arm liposuction are both procedures aimed at contouring the appearance of the upper arms, however these treatments are distinct in their approach and purpose. An arm lift, medically known as Brachioplasty, involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the upper arm, typically addressing concerns of skin laxity. Whereas, Arm Liposuction targets fat removal using a thin tube and suction. However, unlike Arm Lift surgery, Liposuction doesn’t address skin laxity. Understanding the differences and benefits of these two procedures is crucial to making an informed decision about which one aligns better with your specific aesthetic goals. Below we explore the distinctions between Arm Lift surgery and Arm Liposuction.

Download the 2023 Arm Lift Surgery Guide

This complete guide to Arm Lift surgery covers everything you need to know about this procedure, including:

  • Your surgery explained
  • How to assess if you are a good candidate.
  • Planning for your surgery
  • Answers to most frequently asked questions.
  • Before and after gallery
  • Read about Brachioplasty Surgery

Download your free Arm Lift Guide

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Arm Lift Guide Download

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Download the 2023 Liposuction Guide

This complete guide to Liposuction covers everything you need to know about this procedure, including:

  • Your surgery explained
  • How to assess if you are a good candidate.
  • Planning for your surgery
  • Answers to most frequently asked questions.
  • Before and after gallery
  • Learn more about Liposuction

Download your free Liposuction Guide

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Liposuction Guide Download

Liposuction Guide Download

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What causes Skin Laxity on the Upper Arms?

As we age, two important proteins from our skin reduce; Elastin and Collagen. As a result, the elasticity and firmness of the skin gradually reduces. The reduction of these proteins leads to loose, excess skin. Subsequently, there are other factors that hasten this process, these include;

  • Weight Fluctuations: Rapid weight loss, weight gain, or pregnancy can stretch the skin, leading to laxity when the skin can’t fully rebound.
  • Genetics: Some individuals are genetically predisposed to having less resilient skin, which can make them more prone to skin laxity.
  • Sun Damage: Excessive sun exposure can lead to collagen breakdown, accelerating the ageing process and contributing to skin laxity.
  • Smoking: Smoking can reduce blood flow to the skin, leading to decreased collagen production and, ultimately, laxity.
  • Lack of Exercise: Underdeveloped arm muscles can also contribute to the appearance of excess skin.
  • Poor Nutrition: A diet lacking in essential nutrients can negatively affect skin health, potentially exacerbating skin laxity.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as connective tissue disorders, can result in decreased skin elasticity.

It’s essential to consider these factors when determining the cause of skin laxity in the upper arms to choose the most appropriate treatment option.

What Causes Fat Accumulation Around The Upper Arm?

Fat accumulation around the upper arms may occur due to various factors, including:

  • Genetics: Genetics play a significant role in determining how and where your body stores fat. If your family has a history of fat accumulation in the upper arms, you might be genetically predisposed to this.
  • Ageing: As people age, their metabolism tends to slow down. This can lead to fat storage in various areas of the body, including the upper arms.
  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during menopause, can lead to changes in fat distribution. Some women may notice increased fat in the upper arms during this time.
  • Diet and Lifestyle: Poor dietary habits, especially the consumption of high-calorie, high-fat foods, and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to fat accumulation in the upper arms.
  • Lack of Exercise: Not engaging in regular exercise can lead to reduced muscle mass and increased fat storage in the arms.
  • Weight Gain: General weight gain can lead to the storage of excess fat in various areas of the body, including the upper arms.
  • Poor Muscle Tone: Weak or underdeveloped arm muscles can result in fat appearing more prominent.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect fat distribution.

It’s essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, to help manage and reduce fat accumulation in the upper arms. However, localised fat deposits may require targeted treatments such as liposuction or non-invasive fat reduction procedures.

Upper Arm Liposuction – The ‘No Scar’ Arm lift or so-called Scarless Arm lift

Liposuction or Lipectomy, is a cosmetic surgical procedure designed to address stubborn, diet-resistant fat in the arms. It may help reshape and contour the arms. However, it’s crucial to understand that liposuction primarily targets fat and does not address excess skin. In some cases, the removal of arm fat through liposuction can exacerbate excess skin. This occurs because fat provides volume and support to the skin. Arm liposuction is most suitable for patients with mild to moderate fat concerns. Many individuals undergo arm liposuction when their needs may be better met by an arm lift surgery to address both fat and excess skin. It’s important to consult with a qualified surgeon to determine the most appropriate procedure for your specific goals.

Upper Arm Lift Surgery – Brachioplasty

Brachioplasty involves the removal of excess skin and fat, resulting in a firmer and more toned appearance of the upper arms. The surgical process typically includes an incision along the inner arm, allowing the surgeon to work on the underlying tissues. This procedure aims to alter arm definition and overall arm aesthetics. Recovery time can vary, but patients may see a more contoured arm appearance after the healing process is complete. It’s important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon to determine if Brachioplasty is the right option for you.

Arm Lift Surgery with Liposuction

Arm lift surgery with liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that includes Brachioplasty (arm lift) with liposuction to address both excess skin and unwanted fat in the upper arms. This comprehensive approach may be an option for individuals with skin laxity and localised fat deposits in the arm area. Some patients also choose to undergo Arm Lift surgery after arm liposuction. It is essential to consult with a skilled plastic surgeon to determine if this approach is suitable for your specific needs.

Are you suitable for Arm Liposuction or Arm lift Surgery?

Any person undergoing these surgeries should be in a healthy weight range, should not be suffering from any chronic illnesses, and should have realistic goals for the surgery. A good candidate should commit to a proper exercise regimen and avoid unhealthy foods to prevent excess weight gain which may alter the results of surgery. They must also stop smoking completely for a period before and after the surgery, if they smoke. Good candidates for arm liposuction are people who have mild to moderate fat deposition around the arm; this arm fat is usually resistant to conventional methods of weight reduction like proper dieting and exercising. Liposuction may be suitable for people looking to undergo fat removal rather than skin tightening. Whereas, people who have excess skin as a result of age-related loss of collagen, or weight loss may be better candidates for Arm lift surgery.

Possible Outcomes of Arm Lift Surgery

Arm lift surgery, medically known as brachioplasty, may offer numerous outcomes to individuals seeking altered arm aesthetics and function. Some of the key outcomes of this procedure include:

  • Altered Arm Contours: Brachioplasty removes excess skin and fat.
  • Reduced Skin Irritation: Loose arm skin can lead to skin irritation and rashes. Arm lift surgery may alleviate these problems.
  • Increased Mobility: Excess skin may restrict arm movement. Brachioplasty may improve arm mobility and functionality.
  • Customisable Solutions: Arm lift procedures can be tailored to your specific needs, addressing different levels of skin laxity and fat deposits.
  • Long-Lasting Results: The results of arm lift surgery are typically long-lasting, provided you maintain a stable weight and a healthy lifestyle.

It’s essential to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon to discuss your unique needs and determine if arm lift surgery is the right choice for you.

Upper Arm lift surgery – The Procedure

  • During an upper arm lift, the patient will be under general anaesthesia.
  • As both arms need to be completed, the surgery takes approximately 3-4 hours.
  • An incision will be made and from the incision site, fat and excess skin are removed from the posterior part of your arm.
  • Your surgeon may place drains around the elbow region following surgery if necessary.
  • Compression garments are a post-surgery requirement.
    • This is to reduce both pain and swelling post-surgery.
  • Intermittently raising your arms above heart level can also help reduce pain and swell.
  • You should also move gently around the day of surgery.
  • Showering should be done after 24 hours of drain removal.
  • You will need to take antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • Pain killers may be necessary to help manage pain post-surgery.
  • You should not partake in heavy work and strenuous activities for four to six weeks following surgery.
    • However, you may resume normal light activities after a few days.
  • You may return to work a fortnight after the surgery depending upon the nature of your job.
  • Your diet should contain nutritious food that is rich in fibre.
  • Smoking and consuming alcohol should be avoided during the recovery phase.

Upper Arm Liposuction Procedure

  • During Arm liposuction, the patient is typically under General Anaesthesia.
  • Multiple small incisions are made around the arm, and a thin cannula is inserted through these incision sites to dislodge the fat cells, which are then suctioned out using syringes.
  • This procedure is usually an outpatient or day stay procedure.
  • You will need to wear compression garments for a few weeks following liposuction to reduce post-operative pain and swelling
    • This also helps maintain the body’s new contour.
  • Swelling gradually subsides over months but complete remission might take up to a year.
  • Eating healthy, avoiding smoking, and alcohol help in early wound healing.
  • You should avoid strenuous activities involving the arm for up to 6 weeks following the surgery.

Risks and Complications of Arm Reduction/Arm Lift and Arm Liposuction

Both arm reduction (brachioplasty) and arm liposuction are surgical procedures that, like any surgery, carry risks and potential complications. It’s essential to understand these before proceeding. Here are the common risks and complications associated with these procedures:

Arm Reduction (Brachioplasty)

  • Poor Scarring
  • Infection
  • Excessive Bleeding
  • Hematoma and Seroma
  • Poor Wound Healing
  • Anesthesia Complications
  • Nerve Damage
  • Unsatisfactory Results

Arm Liposuction

  • Skin Irregularities
  • Excess Skin
  • Infection
  • Bruising and Swelling
  • Blood Clots
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
  • Numbness
  • Contour Irregularities
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Fluid Imbalance
  • Asymmetry

It’s crucial to discuss these risks and complications with a qualified plastic surgeon before proceeding with either procedure. Surgeons take precautions to minimise these risks when performed by experienced professionals. Your surgeon will provide guidance on a suitable option for your specific needs and circumstances. Visit or Risks page for more information.

Post-operative Scarring

There is a significant difference in post-operative scarring between the two surgeries. An arm lift is a more extensive plastic surgery procedure and uses larger incisions for excess skin removal resulting in larger post-operative scarring. Skin incision extending from armpits up to the elbow is made during this procedure. The surgeon can make the incisions less apparent by making incisions more towards the inner aspect of the arm. Use of skin incision limited only to the elbow region can be made in cases of mild to moderate skin incision and is known as Partial Arm Lift. This results in limited post-operative scarring. For larger Arms, the incision may start below your elbow and run up beyond the armpit. The scarring associated with liposuction is less than an Arm Lift. It involves the use of incisions through which small cannulas are inserted to suction out excess fats from the arm. As the incision made is small, consequently, the post-operative scarring is also small. It should be noted, that there are non-surgical ways to minimise scarring. For example Fraxel and Healite.

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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