Flabby Upper Arms Due to Body Type, Age or Weight Loss May Need More than Diet and Exercise to Tone

Many Women Seeking Toned Arms as the Weather Heats Up May Find Benefit in Plastic Surgery Options

May 21, 2013, 12:11 ET from New York Group for Plastic Surgery

TARRYTOWN, N.Y., May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Body type, age or significant weight loss can prevent some women from achieving tight and toned upper arms despite diligent efforts with diet and exercise, but relatively simple surgical options may offer an alternative.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130521/NY18209)

"Working out and watching calorie intake is the first and optimal course of action to tone and strengthen the upper arms, but sometimes even consistent weight-lifting and arm-targeted exercises help only minimally or not at all," according to Nebil Bill Aydin, M.D, assistant professor of Surgery at the New York Medical College, attending surgeon at the Westchester Medical Center, and a Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon with the New York Group for Plastic Surgery.

"In some cases substantial weight loss, such as achieved with bariatric surgery, leaves an abundance of excess, loose skin on the upper arms," Dr. Aydin added.  "For others, the 'wings' of fat and skin that develop with age are a result of genetics or having a particular body type."

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) recently reported that about 15,500 arm lift procedures were performed in 2012. Women sought 98 percent of these procedures, with arm lifts most common among women over age 40.

Procedures for Upper Arm Slackness Resistant to Diet and Exercise
Many women develop upper arm slackness because the skin between the shoulder and elbow is thin and loses elasticity over time. The combination of fat and loose skin creates the appearance of under arm "wings." When consistent exercise doesn't help, plastic surgery can offer an option for tighter, toned upper arms that for most patients will be permanent.

Many women are candidates for an arm lift using a minimally invasive procedure called Smartlipo. A cannula, or thin tube, inserted through tiny incisions into the upper arm uses a laser to loosen and "melt" fat, which is then suctioned out.  The laser also helps the skin to maximally retract, or tighten, after the liposuction is complete. Any remaining incision scars are barely noticeable.

Some women simply have too much excess under arm skin, either from substantial weight loss or if they are above age 60, for Smartlipo to provide optimal results.  A more effective option is direct excision, or removal, of excess skin and fat in a surgical procedure called brachioplasty. The benefit with brachioplasty is that the upper arms become quite tight, while the drawback is a scar that extends from the elbow to the armpit on the inside of the arms. However, the scar typically fades significantly in six months if properly cared for post-surgery.

"I've had patients who couldn't wear sleeveless tops or bathing suits because they were so self-conscious about the lax skin and excess fat in their upper arms, which is frustrating and life-limiting for them," said Dr. Aydin.  "Just gaining upper arm tone can provide an incredible boost in self-esteem and confidence. Certainly diet and an exercise plan that includes a focus on arm muscles are the ideal paths to upper arm toning, but for some women plastic surgery is the only way to overcome nature and be able to confidently bare their upper arms."

About the New York Group for Plastic Surgery
The New York Group for Plastic Surgery is comprised of highly trained reconstructive and plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and recognized for their specialized medical and cosmetic surgical skills and personalized patient care.  The New York Group for Plastic Surgery serves patients from communities in the entire Hudson River Valley, New York City, Northern New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and Western Connecticut, as well as patients who travel from across the United States and internationally for their expertise.

Andrea Ziltzer
AZ Healthcare Communications

SOURCE New York Group for Plastic Surgery