How do I get rid of arm fat?
This was the complaint when I asked my patient what I could do to help her today. My patient was a lovely, attractive woman. But she couldn’t find clothing that fit. She hated wearing anything sleeveless because of how her arms looked. But finding sleeves that fit was tricky too. And forget about wearing a blazer or any kind of jacket with fitted sleeves. The question she had was: What is the best way to get rid of arm fat?
The upper arm is a common problem area.
Excess skin and fat over the back of the arm tend to become more noticeable with aging. Remember those “batwings” you heard your mom refer to when you were a kid? Better check in the mirror, because those puppies sneak up on you. Weight loss also creates excess skin over this area, and the skin doesn’t always shrink up with time. The solution depends on the problem: is there excess skin, excess fat under the skin, or a combination of both?
Just loose skin.
For excess skin, a brachioplasty (arm lift) is the best solution. For more information, check out my previous blog post on brachioplasty. But in the Cliff Notes version, excess skin is removed through an incision on the inside of the upper arm. The scar may be shorter if there is limited excess skin, but usually the scar extends all the way to the elbow. I’ve even extended the scar halfway down the forearm in patients with after massive weight loss. The recovery time is about a month. During that period you’ll wear a compression garment to help decrease swelling.
Just extra fat.
Liposuction is hands down the most effective way to get rid of arm fat. This is performed through small incisions near the elbow. Liposuction is outpatient surgery, and you can even have it while awake (i.e. no general anesthesia). Similar to an arm lift, after lipo you will need to wear a compression garment for several weeks to decrease swelling and help your skin retract.
CoolSculpt is another option to get rid of arm fat. CoolSculpting won’t remove as much fat as liposuction, but its totally noninvasive. We perform CoolSculpting right in the office, and there is no downtime at all.
If you’ve got loose skin and extra fat.
For a combination of both loose skin and excess fat, we need to address both issues. This means liposuction and an arm lift at the same time. The recovery is very similar to what you would have with just an arm lift, though you may have a little extra swelling. This was the best approach for the patient I saw in my office, and she has a fantastic result. Best of all? She was thrilled that she was able to wear shirts with fitted sleeves for the first time ever, and her arms finally matched up with the rest of her body.
Check out more before and after photos on my website.
Dr. Greer is a Plastic Surgeon who practices in Cleveland, OH. Her passion is helping moms regain self-confidence by getting rid of sagginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat. Read more about her at www.greerplastics.com.