The Challenges of Upper Arm Liposuction

Posted By on Sep 26, 2017 in Liposuction | 0 comments

Upper arm liposuction can result in a leaner, more contoured appearance when performed on the “right” candidate. Nonetheless, it entails profound understanding of aesthetically pleasing arm and its anatomy as well.


Dr. Tarick Smiley, one of the leading Los Angeles plastic surgeons, explains the challenges of upper arm liposuction, which must be recognized beforehand to deliver feminine and aesthetically pleasing arms. (Note: The procedure is almost an exclusive procedure for female patients.)


upper arm liposuction

Dr. Smiley places the incision in the elbow to access the heavy fat deposit that causes the posterior surface of the upper arm to sag.

  • Identifying the ideal candidates.


Not everyone with “thick” upper arms is a good candidate for the surgery. As with any body contouring, it is only reserved for healthy, normal weight patients with realistic goals and expectations.


The quality of skin is another critical factor that identifies good candidates. During physical evaluation, the patient is asked to extend her arms horizontally or with the elbows bent to determine the location of fat deposits and the degree of tissue laxity. If the “sag” is less than or equal to the thickness of the subcutaneous tissue layer (the layer beneath the skin’s dermis and epidermis), satisfactory results are most likely achieved.


Skin shrinkage can also be assessed by asking the patient to contract her triceps and biceps simultaneously. In general, younger people who have not experienced large weight fluctuations and do not have sun-damaged skin are good candidates for upper arm liposuction.


Meanwhile, patients with too much fat in the anterior surface of the upper arm are often considered poor candidates since this fat distribution is linked to obesity. Also, individuals with significant skin laxity cannot achieve good results from liposuction unless combined with standard arm lift (brachioplasty).


  • Understanding the quintessential elements of an attractive feminine arm.


While most people agree that the aesthetic arm has an overall lean appearance, there must remain minimal convexity of the posterior (between the arm and elbow) and the anterior surface as well. Hence, Dr. Smiley says that over-liposuction must be avoided to prevent unnatural contour or too muscular appearance.


The superficial fat layer of the upper arm is circumferential and therefore smooth results are generally achieved when most of the circumference or at least 75 percent of its surface is treated by liposuction cannula. Nonetheless, the medial or inner aspect of the arm is prone to sag due to its thin skin and thus it requires less aggressive removal compared to the posterior surface.


  • Hiding the scars.


Due to the circumferential distribution of superficial fat, most patients need incisions both in their armpit and elbow, which are notably small and thus expected to fade into the background. In general, the scars are barely visible after 6-18 months.

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