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For many patients, especially women, the upper arms can be an area where unwanted fat tends to accumulate. Even patients who maintain healthy lifestyle habits with a balanced diet and regular exercise can see changes in their upper arms as they age. These changes can be due to the accumulation of stubborn fat, hormonal changes, genetics, a decrease in collagen and skin elasticity, or perhaps excess skin due to significant weight loss or successful bariatric surgery. Whatever the reason, flabby arms or “bat wings” can be a point of frustration for many patients. Arm fat and excess skin of the upper arms is one of the common conditions which patients consult Dr. Michele Green in her private, New York City, dermatology office.

Thankfully, new cosmetic dermatology procedures have provided an array of treatments that can help reduce fat in your upper arms with non-surgical body contouring. Non-invasive cosmetic procedures such as CoolSculpting (cryolipolysis) and Thermage (radiofrequency laser treatment) are commonly used to eliminate excess fat and tighten loose skin, respectively, helping patients look and feel their very best. These procedures are incredibly popular alternatives to invasive surgical procedures like body lifts or liposuction, as they can offer permanent body contouring improvement without the need for surgery with its attached risks and extensive recovery time.

If you’re looking to reduce the appearance of arm fat or sagging skin, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Michele Green in NYC is here to help. Through a combination of non-invasive body contouring procedures, Dr. Green can help produce permanent body contouring results without the need for a plastic surgeon. Whether it is loose skin, excess fat cells, arm fat, underarm fat, bra fat, or skin laxity and fat bulges in another area of the body. CoolSculpting and skin tightening lasers can help remove these areas of unwanted fat and provide effective and safe body sculpting without any recovery time.

coolsculpting arms 12 weeks

Where does arm fat come from? Is arm fat genetic?

Arm fat can be caused by a variety of different factors, including aging, hormonal changes and genetics. One hormone which has been associated with arm fat in women is the decrease in testosterone in the body, which also contributes to having an increased amount of loose skin. As testosterone helps to release fat from fat cells into the bloodstream, patients with lower testosterone levels often find that stubborn fat pockets develop in many areas of the body, including the arms. These fat cells, which can accumulate between the armpit and the elbow, often are difficult to target via traditional weight loss methods like diet and exercise.

Another aspect of flabby arms is a loss of skin elasticity that happens as a part of the natural aging process, with the loss of collagen and elastin. This aging process can lead to “bat wings” and loose skin–or a combination of excess skin and excess fat–that sags, making some patients feel as though they must limit movement or hide their upper arms in order to feel comfortable. As women age, there is an increase in total body mass, and the fat cells tend to increase significantly in the upper arms. Additionally, excess skin can occur after a large amount of weight loss, when excess skin and stubborn fat cells remain on the upper arms.

Genetics play a large role in the development of arm fat and the distribution of fat throughout the body in general. If you have a genetic predisposition to accumulate fat in the upper arms, you will see weight gain in that area. This makes it difficult to lose those pounds even with a healthy diet and daily exercise. Generally, women are more genetically predisposed to storing fat in the upper arms than men.

Where does armpit fat come from?

Armpit fat is a common and normal occurrence, and people of all sizes, weights, and ages can develop extra fat in the underarms. It happens in both men and women, but it is more common in women. Research has shown that the distribution of body fat is heavily affected by genetics, and women are more impacted by genetics in terms of body fat distribution than men. If you are overweight, the accumulation of excess fat can lead to subcutaneous fat depositing into the underarm area. Hormones also play a role in developing armpit fat because breast tissue is sensitive to hormonal changes. Changes in estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin can cause the breasts to swell, increasing the fat in between the breasts and the underarms.

How to remove fat from arms

One of the most exciting discoveries in cosmetic dermatology was that of permanent fat removal through the freezing of fat cells in the body. The most popular fat reduction technique for fat cell reduction, including arm fat, is that of cryolipolysis. Cryolipolysis was discovered by two Harvard medical researchers who observed that children would develop dimples in their cheeks after consuming ice pops. This indicated that fat cells freeze at a higher temperature than surrounding cells, laying the groundwork for CoolSculpting applicators. CoolSculpting can eliminate stubborn fat by freezing fat cells within the treatment area, allowing the body to permanently excrete these fat cells through the body’s own natural metabolic processes.

How to get rid of fat in the upper arms

There are a variety of different methods that can be used to enhance the look and feel of the upper arms. Non-surgical options are a great method to contour the upper arms without the need for invasive cosmetic surgery, and often offer permanent results. These methods include CoolSculpting for permanent fat removal, and Thermage for skin tightening. Fat can also be removed from the upper arms through surgical methods, though any surgical procedure would require general anesthesia, recovery time, and avoidance of strenuous activities for several weeks post-surgery.

Can you get rid of arm fat without surgery?

Non-surgical approaches to arm fat reduction have become a go-to for patients seeking improved contouring in the upper arms. Dr. Green is an expert in body contouring, and offers a variety of non-invasive cosmetic procedures, including dermal fillers, Botox, Kybella, CoolSculpting, Thermage, laser skin resurfacing, and more. When you work with Dr. Green, she will carefully evaluate your medical history, current skin condition, and individual desires to determine a treatment plan that will best fit your needs.

AH 61 4 month Before and After Coolsculpting CoolFit LT Inner Arm MGWatermark 1

CoolSculpting for non-invasive body contouring

CoolSculpting is one of the most popular options for upper arm fat reduction. It’s FDA-approved to remove fat cells in treatment areas all over the body, including the stomach, inner and outer thighs, knees, buttocks, bra fat, underarm, double chin, and upper arms. CoolSculpting is unique because it is a non-invasive fat reduction procedure which permanently eliminates fat cells from the body. Permanent fat removal in as little as one treatment, without the need for any recovery time? No wonder this procedure has had a continual increase in popularity over the past decade and is the number one non-surgical method of fat reduction in the United States!

The process for CoolSculpting is simple and convenient. First, you will consult with Dr. Green to develop a treatment plan, to determine if CoolSculpting is best for you. A CoolSculpting session typically takes from 35-60 minutes, during which area of the body is being treated and which applicator is needed to “freeze” the fat cells. The procedure is entirely painless and has no down time, and its accessibility makes it a perfect fat reduction treatment for those with busy lives. Results will continue to improve over the next several months as the body permanently metabolizes the destroyed fat cells.

It’s important to note that CoolSculpting is not intended as a substitute for weight loss, and that CoolSculpting is only recommend for patients who are within 30 lbs of their ideal weight. CoolSculpting is an excellent way to support patients who maintain a healthy lifestyle, but who struggle with stubborn fat accumulation in specific areas of the body. CoolSculpting will effectively target the various areas of fat bulges in the body from the privacy of Dr. Green’s boutique NYC dermatology office.

What is involved in Coolsculpting for arm fat?

At the consultation with Dr. Green, she will develop a treatment plan by discussing your goals, assessing your natural body shape and fat distribution in that area, and measuring the targeted areas to fit the different applicators. The CoolSculpting applicators range in size and shape to fit different areas of the body like the CoolFit for the upper arms and CoolCore for the abdomen. The area that will be treated is then marked and prepped with a pre-treatment skin wipe, then a gel pad is applied to the area to protect the skin. The vacuum applicator is then placed on the marked area that sucks the excess fat into the cooling panels to freeze the fat cells.

Each treatment ranges from 35 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes per applicator. During the first 10 minutes, you may experience pulling, mild pinching, intense cold, tingling, and cramping at the treatment site. These sensations subside as the treatment area becomes numb. After the time has elapsed, the applicator is detached and the area is massaged for 2 minutes to mechanically break up the treated fat cells and promote fat reduction. There is no downtime with CoolSculpting. You can resume your normal daily activities and exercise routine. The results can be visible within 3 to 4 months after the treatment.

Are there any side effects from CoolSculpting for arm fat?

Most patients have no side effects from CoolSculpting for fat cells in the arm. There are some common, mild side effects, which include bruising, tenderness, and swelling in the treated area. Some patients also experience some transient numbness in the treatment area, which can last for a few weeks, with the sensation returning on its own.

How much does arm fat removal cost for CoolSculpting?

The answer to how much CoolSculpting costs to get arm fat removed varies widely depending on the amount of arm fat, as well as the patient’s aesthetic goals, as well as the size of the treatment area. These factors all help to determine which CoolSculpting applicator will be most effective. In general, the CoolAdvantage or CoolPetite applicators are the best choice for upper arm fat reduction.  The price for CoolSculpting of the upper arms, will depend on the applicator used and number of treatments needed. Depending on the amount of excess fat in the treatment area, multiple CoolSculpting sessions may be needed. However, any fat reduction results are permanent, as those specific fat cells are unable to grow back.

coolsculpting arms 16 weeks

Thermage radiofrequency laser treatment for skin tightening

Thermage is an FDA-approved skin tightening treatment that relies on radiofrequency energy to heat the deeper layers of the dermis, in turn stimulating collagen and elastin production in the body. Thermage improves the elasticity of the skin, creating a non-invasive arm lift that does not require any plastic surgery or downtime. Thermage is an excellent option to reduce the appearance of loose skin, and is commonly combined with other body contouring treatments (such as CoolSculpting or Kybella) to create total-body rejuvenation.

Dr. Green utilizes the new Thermage FLX device to provide state of the art radiofreqency skin tightening. Thermage FLX builds upon the unique technology of Thermage, but offers a wider treatment tip and patented AccuREP™ technology to create a shorter, more precise, and more comfortable treatment experience. Thermage FLX treatment requires no downtime, increased collagen stimulation, and patients can resume normal activity directly after treatment.

How many laser sessions are needed to tighten loose skin on your arms?

The results of Thermage FLX treatment will be present immediately after treatment, but elastin and collagen production will continue for several months, providing maximum results about six months post-treatment. From that point onward, your Thermage FLX skin tightening results should last up to two years, depending on a patient’s skin condition. The majority of patients require only one Thermage FLX treatment session to see best results. However, some patients with moderate to severe skin laxity may require more than one session or return every year for increased skin rejuvenation.

Does fat removal laser work?

Laser fat reduction, also known as laser lipolysis, is a non-invasive procedure that permanently removes fat cells from the body. It is recommended for targeting small areas where the fat is resistant to healthy diet and daily exercise. The subcutaneous fat is removed using heat: the laser emits a specific wavelength that is delivered to the skin to heat the fatty tissues and damage the membranes of the fat cells. A cooling mechanism in the laser protects the skin from damage. SculpSure® is a laser lipolysis procedure FDA-approved for the abdomen and the flanks. The treatment is quick and relatively painless with feelings of warmth. The results are visible in about six weeks and the finals results are visible around twelve weeks. There is no downtime, and most people can resume normal daily activities the same day. Common mild side effects include soreness and redness at the treatment site. The results are permanent, but a healthy diet and daily exercise is highly recommended to maintain the positive results.

Arm Lift Surgery Options

When it comes to severe flabby arms or loos skin, arm lift surgeries may be right for you. Arm lift surgeries can be a good option for patients who have folds of excess skin under the arm, or for whom non-surgical fat reduction and skin tightening treatments are not an option.


Brachioplasty, also known as a surgical arm lift, is an arm lift surgery that is designed to improve the appearance of the underside of the upper arms. Over the past several years. the American society of plastic surgeons has reported an increased interest in brachioplasty surgery. During this procedure, a plastic surgeon will make incisions on the underside of the arm to remove excess skin and fat between the armpit and elbow. Then, the remaining skin is placed back over the treatment area to create a tighter, firmer look to the arms. In some cases, a surgical arm lift procedure is done through the use of sedation and local anesthesia, but most plastic surgeons will recommend general anesthesia.

After treatment, you may experience soreness, and will likely be prescribed over-the-counter pain medication during your recovery time. A significant amount of downtime is required after this procedure – about a month – during which time you will need to avoid any strenuous activities while the upper arms are healing. You will also need to use a compression garment around the arms after the surgery, to ensure healing and decrease swelling to the surgical area.

58yo female coolsculpting before after arms1 MGwatermark

What is involved in liposuction for arm fat removal?

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgical procedure to permanently remove stubborn excess fat. Liposuction for arm fat removal uses thin cannulas inserted under the skin through small incisions to suction the fat cells from the upper arms. Minimally invasive liposuction uses heat to promote tissue contraction under the skin for skin tightening results.

There are different types of liposuction procedures. In traditional liposuction, ideal for removing large areas of fat, the cannula is moved back and forth which can cause swelling and damage blood vessels. In tumescent liposuction, an anesthetic is injected into the tissue to stimulate vasoconstriction to reduce swelling and bruising. In ultrasound and laser-assisted liposuction, a small cannula is used to melt the fat. Laser-assisted liposuction is the only type that also firms the skin in the treatment area.

Liposuction, unless it is laser-assisted, does not tighten or remove the skin, so it is recommended for those with good skin laxity. If the arm skin does not bounce back after the excess fat is removed, liposuction can be combined with brachioplasty to achieve the desired results.

Which liposuction removes the most fat?

The most popular type of liposuction in the U.S. is tumescent liposuction due to its safety and efficacy. It is also less painful than traditional liposuction with a shorter downtime. Currently, the maximum fat extraction limit for liposuction is 6 to 8 pounds of fat; however, the plastic surgeon will determine how much fat should be removed based on the patient’s aesthetic goals and body mass index (BMI). Liposuction should be used for body contouring, not as a weight loss alternative. Removing the most fat in liposuction does not necessarily guarantee the best results. Removing a large amount of fat (over 5 liters) increases risk of complications.

Does fat redistribute after liposuction?

Research has shown that the fat cells removed during liposuction do not usually return to the treated areas or redistribute to untreated areas. Liposuction works to permanently remove fat cells in a localized area that is difficult to get rid of with diet and exercise. If the patient gains weight after liposuction, the remaining fat cells in the treated area expand, giving the appearance that the fat has shifted to other areas. Therefore, it is important to maintain body weight after liposuction to retain the best results. A healthy diet and daily exercise is key in maintaining results after liposuction.

Surgical Arm Lift vs. Liposuction

Though liposuction is the most common plastic surgery for fat removal, liposuction alone will not reduce the appearance of excess skin on the upper arms. In some cases, a surgical arm lift can be combined with liposuction to reduce the amount of stubborn fat in the upper arm, though for some patients, a surgical arm lift may be the only surgical procedure necessary. One of the downside of liposuction alone is that while it may remove the fat in the area, it can often leave an excess amount of hanging skin, and in a patient with poor skin turgor may make the area cosmetically worse.

A surgical arm lift is surgical procedure that’s often combined with a “mommy makeover,” which often includes a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, and other body contouring methods. However, the majority of patients prefer non-invasive body contouring, as non-surgical methods require little to no downtime and can create incredible body contouring results.

coolsculpting arms 8 weeks

How much does arm fat removal surgery cost?

The answer to how much does it cost to get fat removed from your arms via surgical methods will vary depending on the selected surgery and the treatment area itself. However, arm lift procedures typically cost upwards of $10,000, which is a considerable expense. Non-invasive body contouring methods like CoolSculpting and Thermage offer our patients long lasting results without the need for recovery time, surgical risks, or excessive costs.

Can arm fat be reduced naturally?

Flabby arms can be toned via muscle-building exercises, weight training, and changes in diet to a certain extent but, ultimately, patients with a considerable amount of excess fat or loose skin will not see this dissipate purely through natural means. For patients who struggle with flabby arms, non-surgical treatment options like CoolSculpting and Thermage can offer proven results without the need for cosmetic surgery, general anesthesia, or downtime.

Can arm fat be reduced naturally?

By engaging in exercises that target the primary muscle groups of the arms, such as the biceps and triceps, you may find that you’re able to achieve a certain amount of upper arm contouring. In general, weight lifting exercises are more likely to create contouring results than cardio workouts, which is more appropriate for all-over weight loss. You might try to incorporate bicep curls or overhead tricep extensions to improve muscle mass in the arms, potentially reducing the appearance of arm fat. However, the majority of our patients find that flabby arms often require non-invasive cosmetic treatment in order to truly achieve their desired results.

Can arm fat be toned?

Upper arm fat can be toned through exercise involving cardio and muscle building, as well as a healthy diet. Push-ups, tricep dips, and bicep curls are some of the most popular upper-arm toning workouts. Arm fat can also be removed surgically through liposuction, and flabby arms can be corrected via brachioplasty. There are non-invasive cosmetic lasers like Thermage® that uses radio frequency (RF) to tighten the skin and address skin laxity, leading to a more toned arms.

Preventing the development of flabby arms early on is important. Sun damage is the main cause for premature aging of the skin because ultraviolet (UV) rays cause free radical damage and oxidative stress on the skin. Be sure to apply sunscreen with SPF 50 on the areas not protected by clothing, like your arms, even on cloudy days. Sunscreens should be broad-spectrum to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and drink adequate amount of water to stay hydrated. Exercising is important for your body’s overall health as well as preventing arm fat from developing or worsening.

How do I get started with fat removal and skin tightening of my arms today?

If you’re frustrated by the appearance of flabby arms or arm fat, there are finally non-surgical solutions to help. Dr. Michele Green is an expert in non-invasive body contouring and was one of the first dermatologist in NYC to incorporate CoolSculpting and Thermage FLX into her private boutique New York office. Dr. Green is an internally renown board-certified cosmetic dermatologist who has been practicing for over 25 years and is at the forefront of the best cosmetic laser treatments, Botox, Thermage, and CoolSculpting on the Upper East side of Manhattan. Please contact our office today, either online, or call us at 212-535-3088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Green and develop your custom-tailored treatment for fat reduction and skin tightening of your upper arms.

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