American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

New techniques, technologies credited with soaring arm lift rates

Plastic surgeons have always responded to the needs, wants and desires of the public for cosmetic treatments, and the newest trend in beautification of the upper arms is no different. New technologies and techniques have made it more reasonable to treat heavy upper arms, which have driven many patients crazy for years. It is no surprise that procedures to reshape the upper arms have increased over the past 10 years since the science and technology have finally come together to meet this demand.

Diet, exercise and for some, gastric bypass surgery, are transforming us into better physical shape than ever before and we want to show it off. Why not? Look good, feel better. But for some, areas of excess skin and fat resist all efforts of diet and exercise.

No doubt that celebrity hard-bodies and fitness gurus inspire us all to be the best that we can be, but in the past when it came to upper arm reshaping, unsightly arm scars precluded many from having surgery. The patients who undergo massive weight loss have hanging "bat wings" and gladly trade this off for an inner arm scar. Gastric bypass has increased the number of patients like this in the past decade, but I have also seen many more patients, from teens to the elderly, who take charge of their lives and lose massive amounts of weight through diet and exercise alone. It's definitely a phenomenal trend. Combine this with today's barbed suture technology, fractional laser treatments, silicone-gel sheeting and other scar management treatments and you now have a greater population of patients getting better results from brachioplasty (arm lift) than ever before.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There were always so many patients with full, fatty, "pudgy" arms that were not candidates for brachioplasty and would be turned down for surgery. They can now have fat removal via improved liposuction techniques including traditional hand-held, power-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, laser-assisted and nonsurgical techniques that involve "fat freezing" or "thermal melting". These reduce fat and all give some degree of skin tightening.

It's no secret that the "Holy Grail" of plastic surgery has been to find ways to tighten skin without cutting it off and today's energy-based devices are getting better by the minute. So by combining new methods of fat removal and skin tightening technologies, we can offer more patients, better results with less down time and minimal to no scarring.

The ASPS annual statistics showing the exponential growth of upper arm lifts definitely reflect the result of this "perfect storm" of new technologies/techniques and patient demand.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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