Arm Liposuction

E-MailE-Mail PrintPrint Share Text Size Down Text Size UpText Size

Individuals who have excess fat in the upper arm area and cannot attain their desired results with diet and exercise may undergo arm liposuction. Based on the amount of fat present, your cosmetic plastic surgeon can help create a personalized treatment plan.

For more detailed information about how this procedure may help you, we recommend that you consult a plastic surgeon who is board certified or has completed a residency program that includes instruction in this procedure.


*An average estimated cost for liposuction surgery in the upper arms ranges from $2,500 to $7,500.

More often women choose arm liposuction than men. Most of women, purely choose this procedure for cosmetic reasons.

Arm Liposuction is a procedure with Long-lasting results.









  1. What are some of the most common benefits of this procedure?
  2. How is arm liposuction performed?
  3. How long does the procedure take?
  4. Will I need to stay in a hospital?
  5. How much pain is there?
  6. What can I expect afterward?
  7. What is the recovery period like?
  8. What is the long-term outcome like for most people?
  9. How long do the results last?
  10. Ideal candidate:
  11. Other important information:
  12. Risks and limitations:


What are some of the most common benefits of arm liposuction?

Firm, trim arms create a more youthful look and can provide an incentive to exercise regularly to maintain fitness. After liposuction, patients who have been self-conscious about their heavy arms often feel more comfortable wearing a range of clothing styles, and they also find that clothes tend to fit them better.

Go to TOP

How is arm liposuction performed?

During the procedure, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the skin, typically near the elbow or in the armpit crease, and inserts a thin tube called a cannula into the fatty area. The cannula is used to break up the fat deposits and sculpt the area to the desired proportions. Unwanted fat is suctioned out with a high pressure vacuum, leaving the skin, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels intact.

In the super-wet technique, a saline solution containing a local anesthetic and adrenaline is injected into the area to be treated, which makes the fat deposits easier to break up and extract. This extra fluid also minimizes trauma to the surrounding tissue, reducing swelling and post-operative pain. The administration of adrenaline also decreases bleeding during surgery, further reducing risks.

The tumescent technique, in which even larger amounts of liquid solution are injected, has similar benefits.

A newer method, ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL), uses sound waves to liquefy the fat after the injection of fluids. Like the super-wet and tumescent techniques, UAL minimizes trauma, bruising, and blood loss. UAL is particularly useful on fibrous areas of the body.

An earlier method of liposuction, called dry liposuction because no liquefying agent was used, required general anesthesia. This technique is not in frequent use today.

The technique chosen for your operation will be determined by a combination of factors, including the precise area to be treated, the amount of fat to be removed, your surgeon's training and experience, and your preferences.

Go to TOP

How long does the procedure take?

Generally, the procedure takes from one to two hours. This may vary if you are undergoing other proceudres at the same time.

Go to TOP

Will I need to stay in a hospital?

If you have no medical problems, the procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis, either in your doctor's office or in an outpatient clinic. It may be performed under local anesthesia with light sedation, local anesthesia and deep sedation, or general anesthesia. The longer the procedure is expected to take, the more likely that general anesthesia will be recommended. You may be allowed to return home within a few hours of the surgery, and spend the night in the comfort of your own home. If you have other medical problems, concurrent procedures, or a lengthier procedure performed under general anesthesia, it may be necessary to spend the night in the hospital so your recovery process can be monitored by a medical staff.

Go to TOP

How much pain is there?

The procedure is most often done with a local anesthetic. In this case, the pain is minimal, although you may feel pressure, movement, or a vibrating sensation.

Go to TOP

What can I expect afterward?

Your arms may be stiff and sore for a few days, feeling like you have over-exercised. You may experience some pain, burning, swelling, or temporary numbness. If necessary, your doctor can prescribe medication to relieve this initial discomfort.

Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection at the incision sites. Your stitches will be removed in a week to 10 days, unless they dissolve on their own.

You may be fitted with compression bands to wear on your arms to cut down on swelling and to hold your arms in their new shape until the tissues have adjusted. It is important that you follow your doctor's aftercare instructions, including wearing these bands, for the best results.

Go to TOP

What is the recovery period like?

Most of the bruising and swelling should subside within three weeks. You should be able to return to work within a week, or within a few days if your work is fairly sedentary. Remember that you must wear the compression bands for several weeks after your surgery to ensure that your arms stay firmly shaped.

Go to TOP

What is the long-term outcome like for most people?

Most people are pleased with the new contour of their arms. They often report a boost in energy and self-confidence. Although liposuction cannot alter skin quality or muscle tone, and should not be a substitute for regular exercise and a balanced diet, your arms will always be slimmer than they would be if you hadn't had this procedure.

Even though the arm size has been reduced, there may be extra skin once the fat has been removed. Although wearing the compression bands will help to firm the area, this extra skin may sag, especially if your skin was not particularly elastic to begin with. It may be necessary to perform an armlift to correct this problem.

Go to TOP

How long do the results last?

The fat cells are permanently removed by liposuction, so you will not regain weight in that area. It is important to note, however, that arm liposuction does not guarantee that you won't gain weight or fat deposits in other areas of your body.

Go to TOP

Ideal candidate:

In general, the best candidates for arm liposuction:

  • Have specific fat pockets that are resistant to diet and exercise
  • Do not have frequent fluctuations in weight
  • Desire reshaping and not weight loss
  • Are psychologically stable
  • Do not smoke
  • Are well informed about the procedure
  • Are accepting of any limitations, as discussed with the surgeon.
  • Have realistic expectations about the outcome

The above is only a partial list of the criteria that your surgeon will consider in determining whether or not this procedure is appropriate for you.

Go to TOP

Other important information:

Since the normal aging process affects the firmness and elasticity of the skin, older patients may not achieve quite the same results as younger patients.

Go to TOP

Arm liposuction risks and limitations:

Although liposuction is the most commonly performed cosmetic plastic surgery procedure in the United States, and the majority of these operations are successful, there are risks and limitations, as with any surgery.

After surgery, some patients experience dimpling, lumpiness, numbness, scarring, discoloration, or sagging skin in the treated area. Follow-up surgery may be needed to correct these problems.

UAL liposuction may cause friction burns to the skin or to the internal organs.

More serious complications include blood clots, infection, excessive fluid loss leading to shock, fluid build-up in the lungs, and drug overdose. A combination of the following factors is associated with an increased risk of serious complications:

  • The removal of large amounts of fat
  • More than one procedure being performed at the same time
  • The use of general anesthesia

In order to minimize these risks, it is important that you follow all of your surgeon's instructions, both before and after surgery.

Go to TOP

The information on this web site is only intended as an introduction to this procedure and should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor as a guarantee of the result. The best method of determining your options is to consult qualified surgeons who are able to answer specific questions related to your situation.

*Disclaimer: Cost Source: Most surgeons offer convenient payments plans for this procedure. Cost does not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay, and other related expenses. Costs may vary depending the extensiveness of the procedure, location, and other factors. Costs are provided solely for research purposes. For specific estimates, please contact a qualified plastic surgeon. 

Back to Top

Close Real Stories

Tell Us Your Story!

iEnhance Real Stories follows the lives of young women and men who have taken the journey to improve their body, health and image through elective cosmetic and plastic surgery. All of our stories are hand-picked, so if you would like to be featured in an upcoming edition, simply fill out the form below and we will let you know when winners are chosen, Good Luck!

Plastic Surgery Studios Network ienhance Beauty Chat Blog iEnhance on Facebook iEnhance on Twitter