Lipoplasty, also named liposuction or liposculpture,
is a surgical procedure designed to remove deposits
of excess fat to create a desired body contour. Although
liposuction is not a weight loss technique, it can effectively
eliminate excess fat deposits in particular areas of
the body, including the arms, restoring a more proportionate
and healthy body contour.
Firm, trim arms create a more youthful appearance and
can provide an incentive to exercise regularly to maintain
fitness. After liposuction, patients who have been self-conscious
about their heavy arms gain a sense of self-confidence.
How is arm liposuction performed?
During the procedure, the surgeon makes a tiny incision
in the skin, typically near the elbow or in the armpit
crease, and inserts a thin tube called a cannula into
the fatty area. The cannula is used to break up the
fat deposits and sculpt the area to the desired proportions.
Unwanted fat is suctioned out with a high-pressure vacuum,
leaving the skin, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels
intact. The technique chosen for your operation will
be determined by a combination of factors, including
the scope and location of the area, your surgeon's training
and experience, as well as your personal preferences.
There are a several techniques available to perform
In the super-wet technique, a saline solution containing
a local anesthetic and adrenaline is injected into the
area to be treated, which makes the fat deposits easier
to break up and extract. This extra fluid also minimizes
trauma to the surrounding tissue, reducing swelling
and post-operative pain. The administration of adrenaline
also decreases bleeding during surgery, further reducing
The tumescent technique involves injecting a solution
with a local anesthetic into the areas to be treated
prior to suctioning. An incision is made near the area
from which the fat is to be removed; and a specially
designed surgical tube, called a cannula, is placed
through the incision into the fat. The cannula is attached
by flexible tubing to a vacuum pump that removes the
fat by suction as the cannula is manipulated beneath
the skin. Compared to other conventional liposuction
techniques, the tumescent technique is more precise
and accurate. This procedure minimizes blood loss, removes
more fat and has a faster recovery time.
A relatively new method, ultrasound-assisted liposuction
(UAL), uses sound waves to liquefy the fat after the
injection of fluids. UAL minimizes trauma, bruising
and blood loss. UAL is particularly useful on fibrous
areas of the body.
How long does an arm liposuction take?
Arm liposuction generally takes one to two hours to
What type of anesthesia is used?
Arm liposuction is usually performed using local anesthesia
along with a light sedative to make you feel drowsy
and relaxed. General anesthesia may also be used, causing
you to be asleep during the whole procedure.
Where is the procedure performed?
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis,
in the surgeon's office-based surgical suite, an outpatient
surgical facility, or hospital.
When can I return home and
resume normal activities?
There is no hospital stay required and normal activities
may be resumed in approximately one week.
How do I prepare for arm liposuction procedure?
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will
discuss the changes that you would like to make to your
appearance. Since the appearance of your arms is a matter
of personal perception and preference, you will need
to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon can
determine the appropriate alternatives. You also should
make arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive
you to and from your procedure and to assist you with
your daily activities during your recovery period.
Prior to your surgical procedure, the surgeon will
perform a complete health history and physical examination
to evaluate your overall weight, your skin and muscle
tone and the overall distribution of fat deposits. In
particular your surgeon will ask you about any problems
you have had with high blood pressure, blood clotting
or a tendency to develop large scars.
Knowledge of your allergies, medications and previous
surgeries should be brought to your surgeon's attention
at this time. Specific instructions to assist you in
preparing for this procedure will be given to you after
the health history and physical is complete. Depending
on your individual health status, the instructions may
include guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake,
smoking and which medications to take or avoid. Your
experience will be much smoother if you remain compliant
with your surgeon's instructions.
What precautions are necessary during recovery?
Most of the bruising and swelling should subside within
three weeks. Compression bands must be worn for several
weeks to ensure the shape of your arms. Please ask your
surgeon for after care instructions specific to your
case, as these will assist you during your recovery
What are the possible complications after
After surgery, some patients experience dimpling, lumpiness,
numbness, scarring, discoloration, or sagging skin in
the treated area. Follow-up surgery may be needed to
correct these problems. UAL liposuction may cause friction
burns to the skin or to the internal organs.
More serious complications include blood clots, infection,
excessive fluid loss leading to shock, fluid build-up
in the lungs, and drug overdose. The removal of large
amounts of fat, multiple procedures, and the use of
general anesthesia is associated with increased risks
of serious complications. It is always important to
be informed about the possible complications before
any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may
have with your surgeon.
What results can I expect after arm liposuction?
Your arm may be stiff and sore for a few days, and
you may experience some pain, burning, swelling, bleeding
or temporary numbness. If necessary, your surgeon can
prescribe medication to relieve this initial discomfort.
Your surgeon may prescribe an antibiotic ointment to
prevent infection at the incision sites. Your stitches
will be removed in a week to 10 days, unless they dissolve
on their own. You will be fitted with a compression
band to cut down on swelling and to hold your arm in
its new shape until the tissues have adjusted.
Since the normal aging process affects the firmness
and elasticity of the skin, older patients may not experience
results as dramatic as those typically achieved in younger
patients. Although liposuction cannot alter skin quality
or muscle tone, and should not be a substitute for regular
exercise and a balanced diet, your arm will always be
slimmer than it was prior to this procedure.
Arm liposuction is often performed in conjunction with
an arm lift to achieve the most desirable results. Most
people are pleased with the new contour of their arm
and often feel a boost in energy and self-confidence.
Choosing the right surgeon
To obtain further information regarding arm liposuction,
we advise you to consult with a qualified and experienced
board-certified plastic surgeon. Regardless of the type
of procedure you are considering, it is crucial to choose
the right surgeon for your individual goals. To receive
a complimentary consultation with a specialist in your
area, simply fill out our Online Referral
Form or call Toll Free 800.449.1884.