liposuction cosmetic surgery institute
Liposuction: New Hope For A New Figure Through The Art Of Body Contouring
By Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian, M.D.
Browse Chapters

Chapter XIII

Liposuction of the Arms

Everyone has at least one body part that bothers them, and on which they more or less have given up.

With Sally, it was her upper arms. When she wore long sleeves, she looked and felt fine. When she had a short-sleeved blouse on, she was not self-conscious, because her lower arms were trim. Even in the hottest weather, however, Sally was ashamed to wear a sleeveless dress or top because her upper arms drooped with flabby fat.

1. A common problem area is beneath the upper arm.

2. The pinch test shows the amount of fat accumulated.

Surprisingly, Sally was a swimmer. She spent several mornings a week in the health dub pool. While she broke no speed records, she consistently swam laps for as long as half an hour. Despite her frequent swimming, however, the unattractiveness of her upper arms gave her the appearance of a much older woman.

Before the advent of liposuction, traditional plastic surgery could have helped Sally by removing some of the excess fat in her upper arms. The "conventional" operation, however, often left extensive scars that were impossible to conceal if a man or woman wanted to wear sleeveless garments.

Sally had not considered liposuction of her arms when she first came to The Liposuction Institute to ask about the operation. She was more concerned with her thighs. During her initial physical examination, however, I realized that she could also easily benefit from liposuction of her arms. She was surprised and delighted to discuss the possibilities.

1. The Doctor shows the heavy deposit beneath arm of this patient.

2. The outer arm, too, shows fatty accumulation.

Despite the fact that liposuction of the arms may not seem as dramatic a surgery as the liposuction of the buttocks, thighs, or abdomen (in which a great deal more fat tissue is removed), it is an operation that many patients feel is rewarding.

Any man or woman who has consciously looked for clothing that conceals the arms will understand how miraculous it is to be able to wear bathing suits, tank tops, and sundresses without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.

Liposuction of the arms provides both cosmetic and physical benefits. Patients seem much more pleased with the way they look after the operation. The report that their arms feel lighter and easier to move. Blood circulation seems to improve.

How do doctors decide if liposuction is appropriate as a treatment for fatty deposits in the arms?

Generally, if a patient's arm has a lot of fat all the way around, then a standard liposuction procedure should be performed.

Before surgery, it is not always possible to predict the degree of shrinkage of the skin from liposuction of the arms. The experienced physician proceeds cautiously, knowing that this particular area of the body will be "on display" when sleeveless clothing is worn. Patients who have this particular surgery are followed closely afterwards. They are re-examined several months after the initial surgery. The advantage of liposuction is that any scarring is minimal. Incisions can almost be concealed within body folds.

Either general or local anesthesia is used, so that the patient can be comfortable and stable all during the surgery. One or two extremely small incisions 2 to 3 mm. long (about 1/8 inch) is often placed at a point near the elbow in the back part of the upper arm. The long cannula which is frequently used in this surgery can reach from elbow to shoulder. Fat found in the upper arm is usually rather loose, so it is easy to remove by means of liposuction.

Liposuction can be performed in both of your arms during a single session, so that your appearance will be symmetrical after the surgery. The amount of fatty tissue removed may vary between arms, because one arm is frequently more developed than the other. But rest assured that you will not look lopsided after liposuction.



1. Above, the doctor indicates the flabby deposit of fat on the underside of the patient's upper arm.

2. Below, after liposuction surgery, the patient's arm shows a much smoother contour.

While you are still on the operating table, your arms will be bandaged with an elastic wrap that reaches from your shoulder to your wrist. Your doctor may ask you to lie down most of the time on the day of surgery, keeping your arms raised and supported by pillows. You will be asked to move your hands and fingers frequently during this period.

Once you are at home, if the bandage becomes tight during swelling, call your doctor immediately, especially if you feel considerable pressure and discomfort. He or she will advise you on whether or not to loosen the elastic wrap. It is normal for your arms to swell slightly from the trauma of surgery, but that swelling will generally diminish by itself, without medication. if you have difficulty in moving your hands or fingers, or if your fingertips start to discolor, call your doctor at once.

There are only a few restrictions after surgery, and they should be easy to follow. You will want to avoid tight sleeves until the swelling has gone down and your arms have returned to "normal" size. It is not necessary to stay out of sunlight while you are recovering, but you should use a sunscreen that blocks many of the sun's rays. (Look for SPF 15 on the label.)

However, for at least two weeks after liposuction of your arms, don't use tanning lotions, and don't use a tanning parlor or tanning booth. You should wait until your bruises have faded, or your liposuction surgeon has specifically given approval.

Within two to three days after surgery, you will probably feel well enough to use your hands and arms rather freely, especially if you type or do clerical work. Your surgeon can give you specific instructions for resuming your normal routine, based on your particular job and its requirements. Massage and exercise, done as directed below, will help speed the time.

Most people find that liposuction of the arms is a simple operation with rapid healing. In most cases, the skin actually shrinks, so that you will not end up with loose, flabby pouches.

Sally was pleased with her liposuction results from her arm operations. "I'm not embarrassed at the health club any more," she says. "I even go into the whirlpool. And I'm going to the beach next weekend with a man I met at the club. I bought a new bathing suit and a sundress to wear. I don't feel self-conscious any more."

Unless your doctor advises you differently, you can begin massaging both your arms three days after surgery. Three different forms of massage can be used:

Stroking. With one hand, gently and lightly stroke the area between shoulder and elbow of the other arm. Do this for approximately three minutes, three times a day.

Rubbing. As a few days pass, and you feel more comfortable, increase the pressure until you are rubbing the arm from shoulder to elbow four to five minutes at a time, three times a day.

Squeezing. A gentle pinch/release squeeze, in which you hold the area between your thumb and forefinger for a few seconds, should be used. Be sure to cover the entire area between your shoulder and your elbow. Squeeze the shoulder-to-elbow area of each arm-gently-three times a day.

Exercises for the arms after liposuction surgery are divided into three sections: for the home, for a health club or gym, and additional exercises for men.

During these exercises, your goal is to gradually increase your range of motion. At first, after surgery, these exercises may seem stiff and uncomfortable, but as you repeat them day after day, they will become easier. You will be able to tolerate more weights. By four weeks after liposuction surgery, most patients find they are really able to carry a full load of weights as described below.

Start three days after surgery, or as advised by your physician.

The first three exercises are done with both arms at the same time.

1. Bend your elbows and touch your fingertips lightly to your shoulders. Slowly and gently, bring your arms downwards, stretching them towards the floor. Repeat this "downward stretch" exercise 10 times (one set). Do one set three times a day.

2. Bend your elbows and touch your fingertips lightly to your shoulders. Extend your arms outward, keeping them at shoulder height, if possible. Repeat this "horizontal stretch" exercise 10 times (one set). Do one set of 10 repetitions three times a day.

3. Bend your elbows and touch your fingertips lightly to your shoulders. Slowly and gently, extend your arms upward, behind your ears. Repeat this "upward stretch" exercise 10 times (one set). Do one set of 10 repetitions three times a day.copyright-dr.leon tcheupdjian/liposuction

After two weeks: Continue all the above exercises, and add:

4. Wear two- to three-pound wrist weights, or use a lightweight dumbbell. Using both arms at the same time, raise the dumbbell above your head, hold for a few seconds, and then lower your arms. One set equals 10 repetitions. Do a set three times a day.

5. Use wrist weights or hold a small dumbbell in each hand. Place hands behind your head. Raise your right hand as high as you can comfortably go, hold for a few seconds, and return hand to starting position. Repeat with your left hand. Continue, alternating hands, until you have done 10 repetitions, or one set. Do one set three times a day.

6. You can be seated during this exercise. Wearing two- to three-pound wrist weights, extend your arms downward at your sides. The inside of your elbows and the palms of your hands will be facing forward. Curl your fingers so they touch the inside palms.

Keeping your elbows stationary, bend your lower arms. Bring your hands up until the knuckles of your fingers touch your shoulders. Hold for a second or two. Then drop your hands back to the starting position. Ten repetitions (up-and-down counts as one repetition) equals one set. Do one set of these "biceps curls" three times a day. Both arms should move at the same time.

7. Triceps curl, with weights. Wear two- to three- pound wrist weights and extend your arms downwards. The backs of your wrists and hands are facing forward. Curl your fingers till they touch your palms. Now bend your elbows, bringing your hands to shoulder height. Hold for a few seconds, then return to starting position.

These exercises may be performed by men and women two weeks after liposuction surgery of the arms, unless your doctor advises you differently. Make sure you have discussed your plans for using the health club with your surgeon, and that you have his or her permission to do so. He or she will probably be delighted that you are eager to begin an exercise routine, and will encourage you to do so.

It is also an excellent idea to ask the health club fitness instructor to show you how to use any of the machines or equipment. Tell the instructor that you have had recent surgery, but that your doctor has given permission for health club exercise.

You will probably have best results if you do these health club exercises every other day. Again, your goal is to gradually increase your range of motion, rather than to be concerned with how much weight you can tolerate. While each individual case will vary, most patients find that by four weeks after surgery, they are able to work with their "pre-surgery" weight load.

These exercises are beneficial for both men and women. They can be continued long after surgery. In fact, I would encourage you to make them a permanent part of your comprehensive, long-range exercise program.

Before you begin "health club" exercises, always warm up first by stretching your arms. Use home exercises 1, 2, and 3 as warm-ups. Then:

1. While holding dumbbells or barbells, do a "biceps curl" as described in home exercise 6 above. However, there are two differences.

-Stand while doing the exercise

-Do one arm at a time, for 10 repetitions (up-and-down). Then do 10 repetitions with the other arm.

1. While holding dumbbells, sit down to do the exercise again, one arm at a time, for 10 repetitions. Concentrate on your performance.

2. Repeat the biceps curl exercise, using a bar and preacher bench. Do the exercise eight times. Both arms are done together.

3. Triceps "front pull downs" strengthen another major arm muscle found at the back of the arm.

Stand in front of the "pull down" machine, facing it. Grasp the bar, with the backs of your hands facing you. Keep your body steady, and your elbows dose to your sides. Push the bar down as far as you can, extending your arms. Then bring the bar up, so your hands are at shoulder height.

Down-and-up equals one repetition. One set is 10 repetitions. Do two sets.

1. Triceps "back pull downs" are another way of strengthening and firming up these important arm muscles.

Again, you will use the "pull down" machine. This time, however, you will stand with your back to the machine. Raise your hands and grasp the bar in an overhand grip. The backs of your hands will be on top of the bar.

Bend forward, and pull the bar over your head, extending your arms as far in front of you as they will comfortably go. You may find it is easier to put one foot slightly ahead of the other foot, so you keep your balance. Return the bar to its starting position.

Extend-and-return equals one repetition.

Ten repetitions equal one set. Do two sets.

Exercise for One Hand at a Time

6. Your final arm exercise in a health club or gym will be a pulley pullback.

This is an exercise for one hand at a time.

Face the low pulley. Bend forward, grasping the pulley with one hand.

Pull the weight by extending your elbow. Try to keep your body as still as possible, moving only your arm at the elbow. Return the pulley to its original position. Pull-and-return equals one repetition; ten repetitions equal one set, do one set for each arm.
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
Liposuction: New Hope For A New Figure Through The Art Of Body Contouring - By Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian, M.D.
ISBN 0-9621284-1-4 | Library of Congress registration #: 2-414-199
copyright © 1988-2006 Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian M.D.
Published by Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian M.D. 875 Rush Street Chicago, IL 60611

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any medium whatsoever, including photocopy or other electronic medium, without the express written permission of Dr. Leon Forrester Tcheupdjian M.D..