Addressing the upper arm wobble
More women are seeing their plastic surgeons for brachioplasty, according to recent statistics.
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) statistics from 2015 show demand for the surgical batwing solution rose 929.7% in the last two decades — nearly 26,000 upper arm lifts were performed in 2015, compared to 2,516 in 1997. According to 2015 statistics by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there was a nearly 5,000% change in the number of upper arm lifts from 2000 to 2015 — from 338 in 2000 to 17,099 in 2015.
Treatments for addressing the under arm wobble range from traditional and mini brachioplasty to liposuction and, more recently, use of devices, such as the ThermiTight (Almirall Company).
Seattle, Wash., plastic surgeon Richard Baxter, M.D., tells Cosmetic Surgery Times that traditional brachioplasty offers a sure-fire way to fix the cosmetic concern. And the scar that results — spanning the elbow to armpit — fades with time and is a tradeoff for optimal results.
“Brachioplasty is still the best option for many patients, depending on age and prior weight loss. The newer devices work best on younger patients and those with less excess skin,” Dr. Baxter says.
Liposuction is a good option for reshaping the arms, but only on patients with firm skin. Liposuction on arms with skin that has lost its elasticity can leave the arms looking deflated, Dr. Baxter says.
But Boca Raton, Fla., plastic surgeon Jason Pozner, M.D., says he’s doing fewer brachioplasties because many patients are unwilling to undergo the traditional surgical approach.
“For the massive weight loss patients, [we] still need traditional brachioplasty,” Dr. Pozner says. “But for younger patients with a little fat and laxity, either liposuction plus [ThermiTight] or laser lipo is best. Sometimes, these tightening devices are combined with mini brachioplasty.”
To minimize the brachioplasty scar’s appearance, Dr. Baxter recommends focusing on scar placement and using silicone taping. Dr. Pozner says he uses the laser post-surgery to minimize scars.