New Techniques and Devices Revolutionize the Arm Lift





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Published on Apr 3, 2019

Dr. John Cook discusses two very new and hot devices that finally have solved the arm lift scar - laser liposuction and BodyTite. Aging does not simply affect the skin and tissues of the face, but the body as well – including your arms. While plastic surgeons have long had a full toolbox of surgical and non-surgical procedures for addressing facial and body contouring issues, the arms have been another story.

A brachioplasty, or arm, lift has traditionally been the best option. It allows the surgeon to re-contour your arms, eliminating both loose skin and excess fat. However, it leaves a long, visible incision. For most patients, this kind of scar is a deal breaker, but innovation is the name of the game in plastic surgery.

A couple of new procedures have cropped up over the last several years that rejuvenate the arms without leaving a lengthy scar. Dr. John Q. Cook of Chicago, IL discusses these new arm techniques and why they are a total game changer for his practice.

“[The arms are] a part of plastic surgery that has evolved quite nicely in the last couple of years,” explains Dr. Cook. As time passes, the skin on the arm can get stretched out and hang down a bit, a condition often referred to as “bat wings.” There can also be some extra fat in certain areas of the arm. Many patients are incredibly self-conscious about their arms to the point where they won’t wear certain clothing. Until recently, the only real option for plastic surgeons the brachioplasty, or a surgical arm lift. This procedure, where a plastic surgeon cuts out a whole swatch of skin, removes fat and re-sculpts the arm, is incredibly effective. Even so, it comes at a price: “the price is a very long scar that is relatively conspicuous,” shares Dr. Cook.

This rules out an arm lift for most patients with only mild to moderate looseness in the arms. However, if you are someone who has severe aging in the arms or who has undergone massive weight loss, a brachioplasty is still going to be the procedure of choice. Luckily, there are some modifications to the arm lift that move the scar away from its traditional location in the groove of the bicep to a more discreet location, making it more palatable for many patients.

Many plastic surgeons have tried over the years to treat the arms with regular liposuction. Dr. Cook, however, has always stayed away from this procedure for the arms because he never liked the results. Yes, the surgeon can remove the fat, but afterwards, the patient is left with skin that can be even looser than before surgery. For most patients, this did not ultimately wind up being a good trade-off.

Now, in the era of new arm techniques, liposuction has become powerful thanks to a helpful non-surgical friend. The two treatments Dr. Cook uses quite frequently in his practice:

laser liposuction (SlimLipo®)
SlimLipo is a very specific type of liposuction in which a small probe is inserted beneath the skin to emit laser energy. It consists of two different wavelengths of light. One of these wavelengths is excellent at melting fat while the other tightens not the skin, but the little structures that run from the muscles all the way up to the skin. Once the laser portion of the procedure is done, a surgeon will use a cannula, or hollow metal tube, to remove the melted fat.


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