Arm Lift Surgery (Brachioplasty) vs. Arm Liposuction for Arms Reduction & Contouring
Arm lift surgery and arm liposuction procedures are commonly performed to correct flabby arms, reduce excess tissue and get rid of ‘bat wings’. But which one is the right procedure for you? Both procedures can be done to contour the upper arms, tone them, and give them a slimmer appearance.
A Brachioplasty or arm lift is designed to remove both excessive fat and extra skin from the upper arm and tighten any remaining loose skin. Whereas liposuction only removes extra arm fat and doesn’t address any loose skin concerns. An arm lift can also be combined with arm liposuction to maximise fat removal and give the arms the optimal cosmetic 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 contouring options after major weight loss including brachioplasty, arm liposuction, or a combination of both to get their arms back in shape.
What Causes Saggy Upper Arms?
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 become loose and flabby which is known as bat wings or bingo wings. Flabby arms are 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 skin so you may benefit from an arm lift or liposuction if you want to get rid of excessive saggy skin and pockets of fat on your upper arms.
What Is Arm Lift Surgery?
An arm lift, also known as brachioplasty, is an arm reshaping 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 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 can 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 surgery:
- First, Dr Hunt will carefully make an incision within your armpit extending into your inner arm area
- Then, excess skin and fat are trimmed out
- Liposuction may be used to suck out 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 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.
Benefits of Arm Lift Surgery
A brachioplasty can dramatically change the appearance of your arms and offer you the following benefits:
- Reduces sagging 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 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 that targets extra flaps of 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 start noticing your results almost immediately after upper arm fat removal by liposuction. Your arms will look smoother and slimmer and will continue to improve as they heal.
Benefits of Arm Liposuction
Liposuction to remove extra arm fat is less invasive than arm lift surgery and offers the following benefits:
- Slimmer and better-toned arms
- Smaller and less visible scar than brachioplasty
- Less time consuming procedure than an arm lift
- Faster recovery and healing than arm lift surgery
Arm liposuction is an effective way to eliminate stubborn upper arm fat and make your arms look more proportional with the rest of your upper body.
Arm Lift vs Arm Liposuction – or a combination?
A combination of both liposuction and brachioplasty can help you get rid of bat wings and reshape your arms.
An arm lift can remove both excess fat and loose saggy skin located between your armpit and elbow. Conversely, liposuction can only remove unwanted fat but cannot reduce sagging skin. Moreover, a brachioplasty can remove larger amounts of excess fat and tissue from the upper arms than arm liposuction.
On the other hand, an upper arm lift requires a longer incision than liposuction. Therefore, the scar from a brachioplasty is more visible.
Should I Get An Arm Lift Or Arm Liposuction or both?
If you’re looking to contour and sculpt your upper arms, you might find yourself trying to choose between getting an arm lift surgery or a liposuction. Which is the better choice for you?
Choosing between arm liposuction and brachioplasty depends on the type of cosmetic problem you have in your upper arms.
If you have both lax flappy skin and excess fat, then an upper arm lift will be more suitable for you. Unlike arm liposuction, a brachioplasty can tighten your upper arm skin after getting rid 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 better option for you. Lipo can help you lose that extra arm fat almost immediately. It also takes less time and leaves less visible scars than an arm lift. Nevertheless, some patients or patients whose skin isn’t very tight may be left with excess skin under the arms.
Dr Hunt often combines arm lift surgery with a liposuction to maximise fat removal and give his patients optimal results. Dr Jeremy Hunt has plenty of experience in different fat removal procedures. He will assess your arms and health condition and recommend whether it’s better you choose an arm lift, liposuction, or both to get the results you desire.
FAQs about Arm Lift and Arm Liposuction
What’s the difference between arm lift and arm lipo?
- Arm Liposuction and brachioplasty are both procedures done to fix cosmetic concerns in the upper arms. The main difference is that lipo focuses on removing excess fat whereas an arm lift addresses both extra fat and excess loose skin in the upper arm.
Which is better: an arm lift or liposuction?
- An arm lift can be very successful in getting rid of bat wings and making your arms look thinner and tighter. Arm liposuction can also slim your arms and get rid of their flappy appearance. If your skin lacks elasticity and needs tightening, then the best upper arm contouring procedure for you is an arm lift. If your skin is still bouncy and elastic enough and you don’t need a lot of fat removed then arm liposuction might help.
Does liposuction work on flabby arms?
- 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 sagginess after this fat removal then an arm lift will be needed to achieve optimal contour results.
Does Lipo 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 best procedure for saggy arms?
- Saggy arms can be caused by loose lax skin, excess arm fat, or both. An arm lift is the optimal 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 if the skin has enough elasticity and you’re only concerned with the excess fat in your upper arms.
Will an arm lift get rid of crepey skin?
- An arm lift 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 be combined with other procedures?
- An arm lift is often combined with liposuction to produce good cosmetic results. Dr Hunt may also combine your brachioplasty with other body contouring procedures such as a tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty, a breast lift, a thigh lift, and even a full Body Lift 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.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is optimal for your body and your lifestyle.
Dr Hunt’s personal, one-on-one service and attention to detail has given thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia the aesthetic results they desire.
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
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- 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
If Eyelid Rejuvenation is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.
- 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.