Arm liposuction surgery can provide impressive results when two key variables are present: strict patient selection and meticulous surgical execution.
Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley has recently posted a series of videos on Snapchat to demonstrate arm liposuction as part of a rather extensive body contouring surgery that also involved the patient’s anterior abdomen, flanks, lower back, bra rolls, and inner thigh.
Strict patient selection, which is primarily based on physical exam, is the first step to ensure impressive results from surgery. One of the objectives is to assess skin elasticity and its ability to snap back once the excess fat has been removed with the use of liposuction cannula.
During physical exam, the thickness of the hanging skin relative to the upper arm base is assessed, often with the “pinch” method in which the patient’s arm is extended horizontally while pinching the base of the upper arm skin right beneath the muscles. If the skin does not touch the evaluator’s palm, she is most likely a good candidate for a liposuction-alone surgery.
Meanwhile, patients with significant tissue laxity manifested by large or thick hanging skin are poor candidates for liposuction-alone surgery unless a concomitant arm lift is performed as well; this uses a long incision extending between the armpit and elbow, usually on the inside of the upper arm, to achieve a smoother, more athletic appearance.
To further guarantee satisfying results from arm liposuction surgery, Dr. Smiley highlights the importance of understanding what constitute a nice-looking feminine arm. After all, this is almost an exclusive procedure for women.
While most people appreciate a relatively slender arm, a slight convexity (fullness) along the posterior surface between the armpit and elbow contributes to a youthful and feminine appearance. It should be noted that this area is highly susceptible to heavy fat deposit and aging, leading to a varying degree of ptosis (sagging or even bat-wing “deformity”).
To preserve minimal convexity to the posterior surface of the upper arm, liposuction should not be done too aggressively that the contour becomes emaciated or too muscular. Furthermore, preserving a thin layer of fat beneath the skin will ensure a smooth surface.
The patient shown in the videos had about 450 cc of fat removed on each arm. While it may sound a lot, smooth and natural-looking results are to be expected because she has good skin shrinkage.
To further ensure smooth results, Dr. Smiley placed two liposuction incisions that were eminently small and thus expected to fade into imperceptible scars. The first one was placed on the outward-facing surface of the arm (near the armpit) and the other one was positioned right next to the elbow.
The celebrity plastic surgeon said it is important to use incision for each treatment area to achieve smooth results and to preserve the natural contours and valleys of the feminine arm.