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Turning 55 – have sagging arms – what can I do?

Question posted by Susan from Toronto

I’m a woman turning 55, and I have sagging skin on the underside of my arms.

Other than exercise – what procedure options can I do to get rid of the sagging skin under my upper arms?

woman holding sagging arm skin

Doctor's Response

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2 thoughts on “Turning 55 – have sagging arms – what can I do?

  • Dear Susan,

    Sagging soft tissue of the arms is a very common aesthetic concern of patients in their 40s, 50s and 60s.  The sagging skin can be intrinsic as a result of hereditary lack of Elastin and Collagen or more developmental and part of the aging process or more commonly from weight loss/weight gain and loss of elasticity with age.  Regardless, sagging arms that have decreased elasticity if modest in nature can be treated with heating techniques both under the skin using radio frequency electrical energy and on top of the skin using bulk heating skin tighteners.  If the degree of laxity of the upper arm is minimal to moderate and there is very little fat these techniques can result in a reasonably pleasing contour improvement.  Treatments generally require less than an hour and between four and eight will be required once weekly.  Maintenance treatments once every three months to sustain this improvement would be required.  The benefits of this non-surgical arm reduction and tightening technique are there are no risks with the disadvantages being that the results are minimal to moderate and suited for mild upper arm laxity and require maintenance treatments.

    If there’s more significant upper arm laxity and subcutaneous fat this fat can be removed through advanced liposuction techniques such as Smartlipo, BodyTite, or Vaser Lipo which are energy assisted lipo techniques that emit energy into the fat, liquefy the fat for easy removal and lead to external skin contraction.  Sometimes this is all that is required to get the necessary contraction and direct under the skin heating techniques such as devices such as FaceTite, or ThermiRF can be used to get additional tightening of the skin and this can be followed with a fractional resurfacing technique using products like Fraxel, Fractora, other fractional needle techniques or even bulk heating or RF devices such as Thermage, Forma or Venus Freeze.

    For extremely loose sagging upper arm flesh and excisional treatment called a brachioplasty arm lift might be required where skin and extra fat is removed from the upper inner arm incision that is hidden between the biceps muscle and the brachialis muscles and extends from the armpit down towards the elbow.  In most normal circumstances with the arm not lifted much beyond 90 degrees the side of the body the scar is almost never visible.  It is important that all patients embark upon this have good scar healing tendencies and no history of hypertrophic scars. The options as you see can be quite varied and depend on your clinical examination and the degree of elasticity and subcutaneous fat.  I would suggest a consultation with two or three plastic surgeons with significant experience doing upper arm contouring both surgical and non-surgical.

    Best of luck.

    To find out more, please review our armlift page

    To schedule a consultation please call SpaMedica at (416)
    922-2868 or visit our website at
    and fill out an online e-mail consultation request form.

    R. Stephen Mulholland, M.D.

    Certified Plastic Surgeon

    Yorkville, Toronto

  • Exercise is certainly an important component of good health, but it will never tone up your skin. At 55, liposuction may still be an option, but a brachioplasty is likely necessary. This involves an incision along the armpit crease and at least part-way down the arm. If you have very loose skin, the scar will be well worth the improved skin tone.

Additional Information

Laser Skin Resurfacing (Skin Resurfacing and Fractional Resurfacing)

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