Is Smartlipo The Best Arm Liposuction Method?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in having my upper arms “done” by the best method. Another surgeon recommended Smart Lipo. I am researching the best method and am interested in a second opinion. I am 40 years old, not overweight and exercise daily. 

A: When it comes to your arms, you represent a classic ‘tweaner’, which is someone who has a plastic surgery problem that can not ideally be treated by  either of two different methods.

Your arm problem is not big enough with enough loose skin and fat to justify a formal armlift and its associated scar. No one really wants an armlift but it is the most effective arm reshaping procedure. (because it removes a lot of skin and fat)

Your arm problem is also too big, in my opinion, to have liposuction and GET THE RESULT THAT YOU REALLY WANT. It just isn’t effective enough to make a really big difference or have a dramatic reduction in arm size that any woman that I have ever seen with such arms really wants and hopes the liposuction procedure can achieve. But it is the only procedure that is justified (has no awful scars) and can make somewhat of a difference.

When it comes to liposuction, do not get caught up in all the hype about various liposuction technologies including Smartlipo. Despite widespread internet promulgation about its magical skin tightening properties, Smartlipo offers few if any advantages over any other liposuction method. (I can say this quite objectively since I have owned a Smartlipo device for years) Compared to the skin tightening you would need for your arms, no amount of fat melting and heating the tissues by a fiberoptic laser probe is going to make a big difference in the natural skin contraction that can occur with good skin elasticity. And unfortunately most upper arms that need to be made smaller do not have good skin quality over the back/triceps area.

In short, liposuction of your arms is the only reasonable treatment option. But the key to not being disappointed with the results from such a procedure is to have realistic expectations (modest not dramatic improvement) and choose a surgeon who has a lot of liposuction experience and not one based on a liposuction technology. At the end of the day, the most important predictor of success is the hands that is holding the device, not the device itself.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana