The Surgeon Minute

Upper Arm Tightening Without Scars

Upper Arm Tightening Without Scars

The upper arms are a source of anxiety for so many would-be patients. Women in particular are bothered by excess fat underneath the tricep and around the bra line. Stored fat in this area is common, thanks to the extra estrogen in the female body, but it can make a patient feel self-conscious – especially in the kind of revealing clothing that many want to wear during the summer months.

Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Cooper lives in Jupiter, Florida where it is warm all year round. In the past, patients would come in complaining about their arms and he didn’t have a lot to offer them other than a surgical arm lift. Today, however, Dr. Cooper employs a combination of liposuction and radio frequency energy to re-contour the upper arms without leaving any scar.

Upper Arm Tightening Options

The upper arms can be a problem area for both men and women. The issue with the arms, however, is that they have historically been a difficult area to treat. “I can’t tell you how many times I would see somebody for upper arms [and have to tell the patient]m ‘I don’t have anything for you’,” admits Dr. Cooper. The reason is that the only arm tightening procedure was a surgical arm lift. And though extremely effective, it leaves one of the largest scars in plastic surgery.

Dr. Cooper lives and works in South Florida where women are constantly in tank tops, sundresses and bathing suits — clothing that leaves the upper arms exposed. Visible scars were simply not a viable solution for most patients. Now, however, he employs a combination procedure that includes liposuction and ThermiTight, a radiofrequency (RF) device that tightens the skin without surgery.

Are You a Candidate for Arm Lift or Combination Upper Arm Tightening?

“Patient selection is very important,” explains Dr. Cooper. If someone has lost a massive amount of weight, either on their own or with bariatric surgery, he or she is probably going to have a large amount of excess skin in the upper arm area. This is someone who is not an ideal candidate for this combination procedure. This kind of patient is suited for a surgical arm lift. Many are still weighed down by sometimes pounds of excess skin so the visible scar is an acceptable trade off for slim arms.

Hanging arm skin.

Most regular patients typically just have a little bit of fullness in the under area of the upper arm and/or around the bra line in the front and back. They don’t like how they look in evening clothes; they go to events “and they’re telling me that they are photoshopping their arms because they don’t like how their arms look,” shares Dr. Cooper. For them, this combination procedure is perfect.

Liposuction & ThermiTight for Upper Arm Tightening 

Dr. Cooper starts with a little bit of liposuction close up to the arm pit area on the underside of the arm. This addresses the dreaded “bat wings.” Then, he will move to the front of the body where some patients have what looks like a third, or fourth, boob. Last, he will slim down the bra roll in the back. His goal is to “sort of clean out and contour the arms,” so that when the patient is wearing a tank top or evening gown where the arm is exposed, it looks better.

ThermiTight for arm contouring.

Once the fat is removed, Dr. Cooper tightens up the skin using the ThermiTight RF probe underneath the skin to:

  • heat up the dermis
  • promote collagen production
  • tighten the skin

It takes about a month for patients to see their results and about 3 months for these results to be fully revealed.

Good for Both Men & Women

The combination of liposuction and ThermiTight is good for both men and women. The majority of the patients that Dr. Cooper sees are women simply due to the area where he lives and the clothing options. That said, men can also be annoyed by excess fat on the upper arms that seems resistant to diet and exercise. The combination procedure is great because it doesn’t require a lot of downtime.

“It’s really been a fantastic addition to our practice,” says Dr. Cooper/ “[It] is one of those great sort of value procedures where there is a lot of pleasure derived from a relatively small area that’s been hard to get and hard to improve for a very long time.”

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