Summary: When it’s hot, it can be difficult to wear sleeves. So it’s not surprising that, when it comes to an arm lift Chicago, IL, is a popular place for the procedure. And while we’re used to thinking of brachioplasty (the scientific name for an arm lift) in those terms, it also has some applications when it comes to body contouring after extreme weight loss. When combined with liposuction, a new study suggests, brachioplasty can be exceptionally effective and safe, and leads to very high patient satisfaction. Sometimes we forget about the arms during body contouring—but short sleeves are incredibly common, and patients who feel they need to hide their arms are definitely in for a treat.

Finishing Your Weight Loss Journey

Weight loss can be a long journey. Sometimes we lose weight for aesthetic reasons—we want to look better. Sometimes we lose weight for health reasons—we want to feel better and live longer. Often, that weight loss journey is assisted (after all, diet and exercise simply aren’t going to be effective enough, quickly enough, for everybody, and we could all use a little help). This assistance comes often in the form of surgery—and there are several surgeries available to help men and women lose weight, including gastric bypass surgery. Altogether, these procedures are called bariatric procedure, and while they aren’t risk free or a guarantee of success, they have a pretty good track record helping people lose weight.

But just because you lose weight doesn’t mean you will suddenly have the body you’ve always wanted. If you’re losing weight for aesthetic reasons, you should know that this is only a first step. If you’re losing weight for health reasons, you don’t necessarily need to move forward, but the option to focus on getting the look you want is now available to you. Indeed, previous research has suggested that body sculpting after bariatric surgery can lead to better long-term results. In other words, those who have body sculpting after their bariatric surgery are more likely to keep the weight off for a longer period of time. In this way, body sculpting surgery after bariatric surgery definitely seems like a wise investment (though an investment it is, as body sculpting is not always covered by insurance—nor, for that matter, is bariatric surgery).

Unfinished Business and Plastic Surgery

Because of the way that bariatric surgery affects the body, those who lose weight will often be left with a great deal of excess tissue. As we age, our skin loses elasticity, which means that your skin doesn’t bounce back quite as easily—meaning that it’s likely the excess skin in these cases will not bounce back. Many patients who have successfully lost a great deal of weight choose to undergo a procedure called a lower body lift. During this procedure, your plastic surgeon will make a long incision along your waist line (in an area generally hidden by bathing suits). After the incision is made, excess tissue will be removed, and the remaining skin will be pulled firmly to produce a smooth effect. This is usually a pretty intense surgery, and it can take a lengthy recovery period, but it’s also immensely satisfying, according to most patients who elect to undergo the surgery. In many ways, it can finally feel like the weight loss journey is complete.

From Lower Body Lifts to Arm Lifts

But lower body lifts focus on, obviously, the lower body—meaning everything below the waist. If you’re concerned about your stomach, you can get a tummy tuck (a much less invasive procedure). But not everyone stores fat in the same way, which means that not everyone is dealing with the same excess skin. And sometimes that skin can be highly problematic in areas that we’re not using to thinking about weight loss. In this case, I’m talking about the arms.

Recent research was published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery that suggests an effective way to get a slimmer look in the arms after weight loss is through liposuction and brachioplasty (otherwise known as an arm lift). The reason for this study in the first place is pretty straightforward: sometimes when you lose weight, you don’t lose weight in your arms. This can be problematic for those patients who are seeking a slimmer look but can’t get their arms to conform. According to the study, liposuction-assisted brachioplasty is a safe and effective procedure that produces excellent results and satisfied patients (more so than some other procedures).

Liposuction Assisted Brachioplasty

Brachioplasties are generally performed when there is a good deal of excess skin in the arms (creating that “flag” look that some people seem to dislike). During this procedure, as with other body contouring procedures, a small incision is made (usually near the armpit to keep it well hidden) and excess skin is removed. Liposuction does not usually accompany this procedure, but the research suggests it certainly can—and that it’s a benefit when it does. After all, if there are lingering fat deposits in the arm, they can be especially difficult to remove. And liposuction is certainly good at removing such fatty deposits—those that are immune from diet and exercise. So it seems reasonable, then, that combining the two can produce great results. The liposuction eliminates unwanted fat and the arm lift eliminates unwanted skin.

In the end, this may be a small part of completing your weight loss journey. Or it may play no part at all. It mostly depends on you and on what’s important to you. Any type of surgery comes with inherent risks. That said, these procedures are low on complications and high on satisfaction. So if your arms are bothering you after an otherwise wildly (or mildly) successful weight loss journey, liposuction assisted brachioplasty may be the way to go.