Arm lift surgery (brachioplasty) and arm liposuction procedures are commonly performed to address loose skin on the arms and reduce excess tissue. But which one is the most suitable procedure for you? Both procedures can be done to contour the upper arms, tone them, and help provide a slimmer appearance.
A Brachioplasty or arm lift is designed to remove both excessive fat and extra skin from the upper arm and address any remaining loose skin. Whereas liposuction only removes extra arm fat and doesn’t address any loose skin concerns. An arm lift (brachioplasty) may also be combined with arm liposuction to maximise fat removal and give the arms a more desired shape.
NOTE: There are some doctors using specific types of liposuction devices that promise ‘skin tightening’ but these are rarely suitable or effective for most patients and should be avoided.
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a Sydney plastic surgeon performing fat and excess skin removal procedures. He offers his patients upper arm options after major weight loss including brachioplasty, arm liposuction, or a combination of both.
What Causes Loose Upper Arm Skin?
The upper arm is the area extending between your shoulder and elbow and contains the major arm muscles – biceps and triceps. The mass and tone of these muscles contribute to the core appearance of your upper arms. Soft tissue like fat and skin also affect the cosmetic appearance of the arm and are highly dependent on diet, genetics and weight fluctuations.
There are several factors that can lead to cosmetic concerns in the upper arm, including:
- Ageing: as you age, your arm skin loses some of its elasticity and your arm muscles begin to relax. Your upper arms can also start collecting more fat deposits
- Significant weight loss: when you gain weight, the skin on your arms stretches to make room for the extra fat. After you lose a lot of weight, your skin might not be able to return back into its original shape
- Reduced physical activity: your upper arm muscles start to lose mass and tone if they’re not regularly worked or exercised
- Sun damage: over time, the UV radiation from sun exposure can damage your arm skin and tissues
- Genetics: your body may be genetically programmed to store more fat in the upper arm area than elsewhere in the body or to have poor skin quality
As a result, the tissues in your upper arm may become loose. Loose tissue in the arms can be characterised by:
- Loose upper arm skin: sagging skin under your upper arm is common after significant weight loss and as you get older
- Excess upper arm fat: your upper arms can collect extra fat deposits especially as you grow older or gain a lot of weight
- Reduced upper arm muscle tone: without regular exercise, with time, your upper arm muscles become relaxed and less firm
Targeted exercises and a low-calorie diet can help you slim and tone your arms. However, you can’t exercise your skin so you may benefit from an arm lift (brachioplasty) or liposuction if you want to get rid of excessive saggy skin and pockets of fat on your upper arms.
What Is Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) Surgery?
An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, is an arm surgery that can help remove extra skin and fat from the area between your armpit and elbow.
You may be a candidate for an upper arm lift (brachioplasty) if:
- You’ve lost significant weight and your skin wasn’t able to contract to fit your smaller arms
- You lack definition in your upper arm
- You’ve lost a lot of muscle tone and skin elasticity
- You have stubborn fat and sagging skin under your upper arm
By performing a Brachioplasty, Dr Jeremy Hunt aims to remove both unwanted fat and extra skin from your armpit to your elbow and tighten any remaining loose upper arm skin.
During an upper arm lift (brachioplasty) surgery:
- First, Dr Hunt will carefully make an incision within your armpit extending into your inner arm area
- Then, excess skin and fat are addressed
- Liposuction may be used to removet extra stubborn fat deposits
- After this, the remaining skin is pulled tightly to fit the smaller arm contour
- Finally, Dr Hunt will use atraumatic suturing techniques to close your wounds
Arm lifting surgery (brachioplasty) takes around 2-3 hours depending on the amount of excess skin and tissues that need to be removed. It’s the right cosmetic procedure if you want to slim, sculpt, and tone your upper arms.
Why Patients Might Consider Brachioplasty
A brachioplasty can change the appearance of your arms and patents often choose to undergo this procedure for a number of different reasons, including:
- Reduces excess upper arm skin which cannot be done using liposuction
- Smoothes the upper arm tissue
- Tightens the skin in the upper arm area
- Removes extra folds of skin in the upper arm that can cause infection and irritation
Arm lift surgery (brachioplasty) also produces more visible and durable results than other fat removal procedures such as liposuction.
What Is Arm Liposuction?
Arm liposuction is a less invasive fat removal procedure than brachioplasty, which targets extra fat located under your upper arms.
You may be one of the very few patients that is suitable an arm lipo if:
- You don’t have much loose skin and your skin quality is High and elastic
- You have unwanted upper arm fat to remove
- You don’t have lax or overhanging skin in your upper arm area
- You lost weight but your arms still look bulky
Dr Hunt performs arm liposuction to get rid of your underarm batwing fat and give your upper arms a leaner contour. During arm liposuction procedure:
- Dr Hunt will make tiny incisions in your upper arm area
- Then, a cannula (thin hollow tube) is inserted through the incisions and moved back and forth through the fat to break it up
- After, a suction device connected to the cannula will suck out the unwanted fat pockets
- Finally, Dr Hunt will close the small incisions
You generally start noticing your results almost immediately after upper arm fat removal by liposuction. Your arms will continue to improve as they heal.
Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) vs Arm Liposuction – or a combination?
A combination of both liposuction and brachioplasty may help you address certain areas on your arms.
An arm lift (brachioplasty) aims to remove both excess fat and loose skin located between your armpit and elbow. Conversely, liposuction only aims to remove unwanted fat but cannot reduce loose skin. Moreover, a brachioplasty aims to remove larger amounts of excess fat and tissue from the upper arms than arm liposuction.
On the other hand, an upper arm lift (brachioplasty) requires a longer incision than liposuction. Therefore, the scar from a brachioplasty is more visible.
When Should Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) Or Arm Liposuction be considered?
If you’re looking to address your upper arms, you might find yourself trying to choose between getting an arm lift surgery (brachioplasty) or a liposuction.
Choosing between arm liposuction and brachioplasty depends on the type of cosmetic concern you have in your upper arms.
If you have both lax skin and excess fat, then an upper arm lift (brachioplasty) will be more suitable for you. Unlike arm liposuction, a brachioplasty aims to tighten your upper arm skin after removal of your extra arm fat and loose skin.
Meanwhile, if you only have extra fat deposits in your upper arm but your skin isn’t loose and hasn’t yet lost its elasticity, liposuction might be a more suitable option for you. Liposuction may help you lose extra arm fat almost immediately. It also takes less time and leaves less visible scars than an arm lift (brachioplasty). Nevertheless, some patients or patients whose skin isn’t very tight may be left with excess skin under the arms.
Dr Hunt may combine arm lift surgery (brachioplasty) with a liposuction to maximise fat removal. Dr Jeremy Hunt will assess your arms and health condition and recommend whether it’s more suitable for you to choose an arm lift (brachioplasty), liposuction, or both to get the results you desire.
FAQs about Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) and Arm Liposuction
What’s the difference between arm lift (brachioplasty) and arm liposuction?
- Arm Liposuction and brachioplasty are both procedures performed to fix cosmetic concerns in the upper arms. The main difference is that liposuction focuses on removing excess fat whereas an arm lift (brachioplasty) addresses both extra fat and excess loose skin in the upper arm.
Does liposuction work on loose arm skin?
- Maybe in a few patients, Liposuction alone results in excess loose skin in most patients. Dr Hunt can use liposuction to target stubborn fat deposits as part of a Brachioplasty. If there is excess skin after this fat removal then an arm lift (brachioplasty) may be needed to achieve the desired results.
Does Liposuction on arms tighten skin?
- After arm liposuction, where your skin is elastic enough, it may be able to tighten up a little around your new arm contour. Nonetheless, liposuction itself does not tighten your upper arm skin, it only removes stubborn fat pockets.
What is the most appropriate procedure for loose arm tissue?
- Loose arm tissue can be caused by loose lax skin, excess arm fat, or both. An arm lift (brachioplasty) is a surgical procedure that can tighten the skin, remove unwanted fat, and get rid of saggy arms appearance. Liposuction can be a good alternative to arm lift surgery (brachioplasty) if the skin has enough elasticity and you’re only concerned with the excess fat in your upper arms.
Will an arm lift (brachioplasty) get rid of crepey skin?
- An arm lift (brachioplasty) is designed to tighten the skin on your arms after removing excess skin and fat. The remaining skin will be pulled tightly, smoothed, and re-draped over the new smaller arm contour.
Can an arm lift (brachioplasty) be combined with other procedures?
- An arm lift (brachioplasty) may be combined with liposuction to produce good cosmetic results. Dr Hunt may also combine your brachioplasty with other body procedures such as a tummy tuck/abdominoplasty, a breast lift mastopexy, a thigh lift (thighplasty), and even a full Body Lift (belt lipectomy) to remove excess loose skin after massive weight loss.
Further Reading about Body Contouring Procedures
- Read Dr Hunt’s Body Contouring page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Surgery After Massive Weight Loss page
- See Dr Hunt’s Before and After Photos of Body Contouring Surgery Patients
- Read Dr Hunt’s blog about Recovery after Upper Arm lift Surgery
Medical References about Brachioplasty and Arm Liposuction
- Upper Arm Contouring with Brachioplasty after Massive Weight Loss – PMC
- Liposuction of the arms
- Arm Contouring: Review and Current Concepts
- Liposuction-assisted posterior brachioplasty: technical refinements in upper arm contouring
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon and a member of FRACS & ASPS. He has over 20 years of experience providing plastic surgery in Sydney.
Dr Hunt’s personal, one-on-one service and attention to detail has ensured that thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia have received high quality surgical care.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgery. He completed a Fellowship at the prestigious University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from some of the world’s very best plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
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- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
- Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.