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Who Is a Good Candidate for an Arm Lift?

Posted Apr 25, 2014 by Stephen Greenberg, MD

Manhattan Arm Lift CandidatesEven when someone engages in regular exercise and has achieved great muscle tone throughout the body, flabby upper arms can still be a problem. Not only does fat tend to accumulate in this area, but loose skin can also hang below one's triceps, throwing off the rest of the body's curvature. It can be difficult to reduce this excess fat and skin along the arms, leading concerned men and women to turn to plastic surgery.

If sagging upper arms prevent you from confidently showing them off, an arm lift may be able to help. With this effective body contouring procedure, patients can benefit from tighter, smoother curves that complement their physique. Refer to the information below to see if you may be a good candidate for an arm lift at our Manhattan or Long Island office.  

Arm Lift Candidates

The best candidates for an arm lift are those who have excess skin that hangs from their upper arms, with a minimal amount of fat. This is often due to weight loss, as lost fat leaves remaining skin with decreased elasticity. As patients age, they too suffer from inelastic skin that is less able to retain its shape. In other cases, patients may simply be genetically predisposed to looser skin or extra tissue in the area.

Because weight gain or weight loss can influence the shape of one's body and the amount of skin and fat present, candidates are encouraged to achieve their ideal weight before undergoing surgery. This will help the plastic surgeon produce results that best match the rest of a patient's body, and will prevent results from being lost to fluctuating weight. Likewise, good candidates should also realize that an arm lift - or any body contouring procedure, for that matter - is not a substitution for a healthy diet and exercise regimen.  

Arm Lift Treatment Options

Patients considering an arm lift must also determine which procedural method is best suited for their cosmetic goals. In general, there are two types of arm lift surgeries: 

  • Full arm lift: Conventionally, an arm lift utilizes an incision that runs from the armpit down to the elbow. Fatty tissue is contoured within the arm, and unwanted skin is removed. The remaining skin is then pulled taut and sutured in place, creating a slimmer and firmer upper arm. Due to the length of the incision, this procedure leaves a more noticeable scar, but is able to more effectively remove tissue. Patients with a large amount of extra skin will most likely require a full arm lift.  
  • Limited incision arm lift: Rather than extending an incision down the arm, a smaller incision is made within the armpit. From there, excess tissue is removed and remaining skin is pulled into a tighter position. This is best reserved for arms with a minimal to moderate amount of flabby tissue, but not those with a significant amount of hanging skin.

The type of arm lift therefore depends on multiple factors, including the amount of tissue to be removed, where the tissue is located, how dramatic a patient wishes the results to be, and what kind of scar a patient is willing to have afterward. By consulting your doctor, you can gain a clearer picture of which procedure will be most appropriate for you.

Arm Lift or Liposuction?

Oftentimes, patients who wish to tighten the contours of their upper arms also have deposits of fat in the same area. Because liposuction is better at removing and contouring fat than most other tools, a liposuction cannula is often used in tandem with an arm lift. This allows the surgeon to easily remove fat and create a smoother layer of tissue for the skin to adhere to. When arms appear more full than flabby due to subcutaneous fat, liposuction is especially necessary and may even be used in lieu of an arm lift altogether.

In other cases, however, liposuction may not be necessary. If an arm has little fat present and is primarily affected by loose skin, an arm lift alone can likely provide satisfactory results. This is often seen in patients who have lost a large degree of weight.

Learn More about Arm Lift Surgery

If you are interested in an arm lift or any other of our body contouring procedures, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Greenberg. By learning about your goals for treatment and evaluating the options available to you, we can help you have the safest and most satisfying plastic surgery experience.

Greenberg Cosmetic Surgery
Manhattan Office
461 Park Ave S
Manhattan, NY 10016
(212) 319-4999







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160 Crossways Park Dr
Woodbury, NY 11797
(516) 364-4200







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365 County Rd 39A  Ste 7
Southampton, NY 11968
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1599 NW 9th Avenue
Boca Raton, FL 33486
(561) 208-1080