If you’re looking for some targeted treatments that can effectively address your personal flabby arm issues, here are four top picks that can get the job done in time for your summer vacay.
If stubborn fat is standing between you and the arms you aspire to, CoolSculpting is a great option. This non-invasive treatment destroys fat cells permanently, in turn revealing a slimmer silhouette and more defined appearance. CoolSculpting has been available to treat many areas of the body including love handles, back or bra fat, abdomen, and thighs. CoolSculpting uses cold energy to freeze fat and send it on its way for good—with no pain or downtime.
Thanks to the CoolMini applicator, which was designed specifically for treating fat in smaller areas like under the chin, this technology can also be used to downsize bulges of the upper arms. “CoolSculpting is truly a breakthrough non-invasive, non-surgical procedure that has been extremely effective in treating stubborn fat deposits. Using the CoolMini to treat the upper back and arms can be very effective, keeping in mind that these areas are currently considered "off label". Typically, "pinchable" fat responds the best to CoolSculpting treatments,” said Chevy Chase, MD dermatologist Rebecca Kazin.
The number of treatments you may need depends on the amount of fat present as well as your goals. Some people require more than one treatment depending on degree of improvement needed and expectations. Results are generally visible in three weeks with final results apparent after 3-6 months.
Excess fat on the upper arms is often accompanied by slack skin, and removing unwanted fat via liposuction can make matters worse. Enter the new Invasix BodyTite system, which combines liposuction with skin-tightening radiofrequency to address both concerns at once.
According to New York City plastic surgeon Bryan G. Forley, “Featuring a specially designed applicator that delivers radiofrequency-generated heat to complement the removal of fat via suction, BodyTite delivers fat reduction and skin tightening in one fell swoop (and can take less time than traditional liposuction). In addition to minimizing the potential for a lumpy-looking outcome, it also eliminates the need in many cases for a secondary procedure to help the skin conform to its new low-fat contours. BodyTite recovery is similar to that of liposuction, yet there is less swelling and bruising as compared to traditional liposuction procedures which makes it a good option for patients who need reshaping by removing fat as well as tightening skin."
An oldie but still a goodie, liposuction is still consistently among the most-performed year after year due to its proven safety record and effectiveness. In fact, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), liposuction was ranked #1 among the top 5 surgical procedures in 2016 with 414,335 procedures performed. Breast augmentation came in second with 310,444 procedures and tummy tuck scored third place with 181,540 performed.
When you have more than an inch to pinch, liposuction is the gold standard for fat removal, and one of the biggest upsides of upper-arm liposuction is that it gives the surgeon the ability to “sculpt” the arms by targeting specific pockets of fat.
According to New York City plastic surgeon David Shafer, “Liposuction is an ideal option for reshaping the upper arms—where fat is often resistant to diet and exercise. Through liposuction we can literally suction out unwanted fat through tiny, hidden incisions that are nearly undetectable once healed. The ideal patient has full arms with only minimal amounts of loose skin. The procedure can be added on to other areas where liposuction is being used, or as a standalone procedure. Patients will see an immediate difference and continue to see nice improvements as any swelling resolves over the next 2-3 months.”
Recovery time after arm liposuction is minimal, yet bruising and swelling are common for up to two weeks. During this time, treated areas may be wrapped in compression garments, but patients can get back to their usual activities within a day or two. It’s best to avoid strenuous exercise until your surgeon gives you the green light.
Limited Incision Arm Lift
In cases of massive weight loss, energy-based skin-tightening treatments are often unable to help the skin conform to the body’s new shape and size. Although currently viewed as a last resort due to the necessary recovery time and resulting scars, brachioplasty (or arm-lift surgery) can eliminate excess skin and unwanted fat when other procedures and treatments would fall short. The scars can be extensive which makes it a less attractive choice for many women when compared to minimally invasive techniques.
Dr. Rod Rohrich of Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute in Dallas, TX uses a modernized technique to keep scarring to a minimum. “Contouring and reshaping the arms is complex topic due to the variations from one person to the next in how the upper arms respond to weight gain/loss and aging. The Hidden Inner Arm Lift or limited incision technique is a less invasive procedure where the scar can be hidden in the crease of the underarm and can be complemented with contouring of the arm using liposuction. This modified form of brachioplasty works best for patients that have loose, crepey skin in the lower inner arm area near the arm pit without too much extra fat deposits to be removed. It works well in carefully selected patients as it eliminates the need for a linear scar in some patients."
With so many options for different levels of fat and excess skin, you won’t need to keep your arms under wraps this season. The best way to determine the ideal treatment for you is to have a few consultations to determine what is right for you—and you can be on your way to wearing tank tops and short sleeves with confidence!
Wendy Lewis is President, Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd., Global Aesthetics Consultancy,
Founder/Editor in Chief of Beautyinthebag.com and the author of 11 books on beauty and skincare.