1. Brachioplasty, which combines surgical skin excision with RF tightening and liposuction, is the most complete correction.
  2. RFAL or J Plasma plus liposuction is a good solution for those needing moderate correction, and for patients hoping to avoid a long incision.
  3. Halo resurfacing, IPL for pigmentation, and microneedling with DefenAge offer improvement for skin quality in the upper and lower arms and hands.

Arm Contouring

Real Patient Story

This 67-year-old was very fit but found that no amount of diet and exercise could improve her large and flabby upper arms. Because she had disproportionately large upper arms with quite a bit of excess skin, she opted for surgical skin excision combined with liposuction and RF assisted skin tightening.

arm contouring

Above, 67-year-old before treatment. Below, her result 6 weeks following brachioplasty with RF-assisted liposuction and skin tightening.

View Additional Arm Contouring Before & Afters in Our Gallery

Unattractive upper arms are a common concern, especially during middle age. Some women have disproportionately large upper arms, while others dislike the way their skin hangs and jiggles during arm motion. Younger women may be troubled by excess fat that looks unsightly when wearing a sleeveless blouse or swimsuit. Excess upper arm skin is also a common problem following weight loss. There are several arm contouring methods of treating upper arm laxity, excess fat, or skin quality concerns.

We are happy to be able to provide a full range of solutions, including surgical brachioplasty, minimally invasive RF-assisted skin tightening, and resurfacing, IPL, and microneedling for improvement in sun-damaged or crepey arm skin.

I’d like to fix my arms but I don’t want a long scar that will show in sleeveless clothing.

If the amount your skin needs to shrinking is about 30% or less, Dr. Duncan may be able to treat you with radiofrequency-assisted liposuction and skin tightening. She is internationally known for this procedure and was recently on an ASPS panel as the minimally invasive expert. During your consultation she will measure the amount of pendulosity of your skin and will assess the ability of your soft tissue to contract without cutting out any skin. Down time is minimal with this procedure; you will need to wear a compression garment, but may return to work within 48 hours.

What about my arm skin quality? I spent time in the sun when I was younger, now the skin is wrinkly and discolored.

Dr. Duncan has pioneered a treatment utilizing microneedling plus topical dermaceuticals that gives a remarkable result. Three treatments one month apart are needed in order to optimize outcome. The use of thermal devices such as Halo or RF needling can create even more improvement. Down time ranges from an hour to a day. Treatment of brown spots with our favorite IPL device can create a smoother tone to pigmented, sun damaged skin. If your goal is to be able to show your arms in clothing, these options are helpful and cost effective.

Recovery time and results. How to choose a procedure.

Brachioplasty is needed if  you have 2 inches or more of pendulous hanging skin with your arm extended. This procedure involves cutting out extra skin. It leaves a carefully placed scar that is hard to see unless your arm is lifted overhead. This procedures gives the best correction, especially in patients who have had massive weight loss. Recovery is about a week, but we recommend wearing a compression garment for several weeks in order to minimize scarring.
RF assisted liposuction utilizes the Inmode BodyTite device or J Plasma, or a combination. It is chosen if pendulous skin measures two inches or less. In this procedure, tumescent fluid is infused and some liposuction is performed. Dr. Duncan uses a circumferential technique to tighten the skin around the entire arm. This helps to avoid wrinkly skin at the base of the arm.  A compression garment is worn for several weeks, but patients can return to work within a couple of days.

Why would regular liposuction not work since it costs less?

Dr. Duncan did research on this topic and found that traditional suction assisted lipectomy (SAL) could generate skin shrinkage of about 8% at one year postop as measured with a Canfield Vectra computerized system. Laser assisted liposuction can shrink skin about 13-17%. She chooses radiofrequency as an energy source, because skin tightening using this device measured 36% at one year postop. Most patients need more than just a minor amount of skin tightening.

Patients seek Dr. Duncan’s skills for arm contouring due to the variety of options available. A personalized approach is the key to a successful outcome. The first step is a consultation with our patient care coordinator. Options for improvement of the arms will be reviewed, and approximate costs are discussed. Best results are obtained when the approach is team one—postop activity moderation and following up with the surgeon will optimize the results.

Schedule Your Consultation

Dr. Duncan’s artistic style results in dramatic, yet natural improvements. She works with each individual patient to create a personalized treatment plan based on his or her unique situation and desired goals. We would love to speak with you about achieving the best version of yourself. Call Plastic Surgical Associates in Fort Collins today at 970.493.7445 or click the button below to request a consultation. You can also email us any inquiries at info@drdianeduncan.com.

Contact Our Office

Diane Duncan, M.D., FACS

Award-winning plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Diane Duncan, MD, FACS has been recognized both regionally and globally for over 30 years. Read More