Excess fat in the arms area can be removed with liposuction. In certain cases, liposuction alone can be enough to thin down the arms, that is if there is no significant excess skin and if skin has good elasticity. In that case, only two almost invisible micro incisions are made. However, in the vast majority of the cases, excess skin is problematic and needs to be removed to achieve a satisfactory result.
In that case, an incision, and therefore a scar, is necessary. It can be axillary only, which means it is located in the underarms and very discreet. This axillary or transaxillary incision is possible when excess skin is small. If excess skin is significant, an incision will be made in the inner side of the arm, from the underarm to the elbow. Generally, this scar is very thin.
There are three ways to trim down excess tissue in the arms area, whether it is only excess fat, excess fat and skin or only excess skin :
- Arm liposuction (when there is no excess skin)
- Arm liposuction and skin removal with a horizontal axillary incision (moderate excess skin and fat)
- Arm liposuction and skin removal with an incision along the inner side of the arm (significant excess skin)
For patients with only excess fat and good skin quality, fat is removed with liposuction through two incisions of a few millimeters. When skin has lost elasticity, fat removal tends to create excess skin since it cannot retract on its own after liposuction (skin retracts properly when it has good elasticity), therefore skin removal is necessary. When a significant amount of skin is removed through an incision in the underarm during arm lift surgery, there is a risk of seeing the scar moving out of the underarm or expanding, which is why a longitudinal incision is also necessary with the first one. This second incision extends more or less from the underarm to the elbow. This is the optimal way to achieve a concentric arm ‘reduction’. This technique creates a scar, but it is discreet and fades pretty well after a couple of months.
The last case is when the patient presents with excess skin in the arms with no excess fat. This can be addressed with skin removal only, with one or both of the incisions mentioned earlier.