Liposuction (Arms)

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What is Liposuction of the arms?

Liposuction of the arms removes deposits of excess fat from the arms with specialized surgical suctioning equipment.

How is it done?

Treatment time will vary depending on the size of the area and the amount of fat being removed, but generally takes between one and two hours. Liposuction may be performed under a local anesthesia, which numbs the affected areas, usually combined with intravenous sedation. For more extensive procedures, a general anesthesia may be used.  During the procedure the surgeon will insert a narrow tube called a cannula through a tiny incision, typically near the elbow or in the armpit crease. The cannula is pushed and pulled through the fat layer breaking up the fat cells ad suctioning them out. Surgeons may use a “dry” technique, a “tumescent” technique (that introduces large amounts of fluid to the area being worked on). After surgery, you will be required to wear pressure bandages on your arms to cut down on swelling. 

Why is it done?

Liposuction of the arms gives added contour and definition to the arms. The procedure may also be part of an operation to treat lipomas (benign, non-cancerous tumors of fat).

Risks & complications

Complications specific to liposuction are infrequent and usually minor. However, as with any surgery, there are risks, including the possibility of:
  • Bleeding under the skin (hematoma) after the surgery
  • Lumpy red scars
  • Infection requiring antibiotic treatment
  • Irregularities in skin contour
  • Permanent changes to the color of skin and some loss of normal feeling in those areas
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Allergic reaction in some patients to fluid used in tumescent liposuction
  • Reaction to the anesthesia
There may be significant bruising and swelling which may take several months to settle completely.

Risks can be reduced by following the surgeon's instructions before and after surgery. The FAQ question "What are the risks of plastic and cosmetic surgery?" has additional details on risks and how to minimize them.

Alternatives

The surgeon may discuss alternative approaches to the liposuction. However, the main alternative to liposuction is to leave the fat deposits as they are. Diet and exercise regimens may be of benefit in the overall reduction of excess fat.  Direct removal of excess skin may be needed in addition to liposuction treatment in some patients. [Arm Lift]

Candidate eligibility

The best candidates for liposuction are individuals of relatively normal weight who have excess fat in particular areas. Having firm, elastic skin will result in a better final result. The surgeon will make the final determination of each patient’s eligibility for the procedure after an examination and consultation with the patient. Patients with bleeding disorders or underlying severe medical problems may not be eligible for liposuction surgery.
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