Saggy Arms: What’s the Cause, and Can the Flab Be Fixed?

Dr. Sacha Obaid, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Dallas, Plano, Southlake, and Nearby Fort Worth, Texas

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Many people, especially women, who store more fat in their upper arms than men, start to experience saggy arms as they age. Hormones are partly to blame, and diet and exercise can minimize excess fat in this area between your elbow and shoulder, but often it is not enough to make a significant difference.

If you feel self-conscious about the appearance of your upper arms, an arm lift (brachioplasty) may be an excellent option for you. This procedure has become more common; in fact, the number grew from about 300 procedures in the year 2000 to about 15,000 in 2012!

Why do arms become saggy?

The backs of the arms and triceps don’t get worked as much as other muscles. Genes are also a factor in how your body stores fat. If older women in your family experience saggy arms, chances are you might too. Losing weight quickly can also cause loose skin in this area, which tends to sag.

saggy armsThere are three common types of saggy arms:

  • Fat accumulates in the back of the arm due to weight gain or genes.
  • Extra skin sags – This is common in those who lose a lot of weight.
  • There is a combination of extra fat and extra skin, commonly due to age.

I don’t like my saggy arms!

Board-certified Dr. Sacha Obaid performs arm lifts that can help you feel more confident. Because of his expertise, Dr. Obaid was given the honor of describing his arm lift operation in the book Essentials of Plastic Surgery, which has become a how-to guide for plastic surgeons worldwide.

During an arm lift, Dr. Obaid trims away excess and stubborn deposits of fat. An arm lift also involves contouring the arm to create a more youthful appearance.

This surgery is offered in three different forms. Dr. Obaid will determine what’s best for you after a consultation:

  • A minimal incision arm lift done through a tiny incision in the armpit crease – The incision is well hidden; this procedure can give a great deal of lift to your arms.
  • A mini T-lift remains within the hair-bearing portions of the armpit –  Because of its minimal incisions, a noticeable change can be created in the arms.
  • A “longitudinal brachioplasty” – This involves an incision along the back of the arm. While the incision is longer than the other two options, it can provide an amazing transformation in the shape of the arm.

What is recovery like?

An arm lift is an outpatient procedure, so you can go home immediately afterwards. Results of the procedure can be seen right away, though you may experience swelling and bruising for a few days. Reaching above the head or lifting the arms should be avoided for several days.

What will my arm lift results look like?

Tightened and more youthful and attractive arms are typically the result of an arm lift. As long as your weight remains stable, your results should last for many years!

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