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Arm Fat / Bat Wings

For many, the fat that resides in the upper arm is hard to remove through diet and exercise alone, due to genetics and hormones. The situation can be made worse as excess skin becomes a part of the problem.

Arm Slimming, Sculpting, & Toning with Cosmetic Treatments

Dr. Renata Wix-Harris is a cosmetic physician at our practice who specializes in minimally invasive treatments – and in this video she walks us through the best options for arm slimming and toning that avoid plastic surgery (and general anesthesia). These tend to be the most popular treatment options at our practice.

However, we do have a board certified plastic surgeon on staff, Dr. Joseph Fodero, who performs arm lift surgery and liposuction.

While most physicians at our practice do offer arm services of some kind, because these 2 doctors offer the widest array of arm lifting, tightening, and fat reduction services, we do suggest your consultation be with one of them.

If you’ve got a lot of loose skin and/or stubborn fat on your arms, you might have given up on wearing sleeveless or even short-sleeved tops. Perhaps you have a whole wardrobe full of cardigans and jackets to pop on top of sleeveless outfits, or maybe you only buy flutter-sleeved tops because they don’t constrict the arm. Or maybe it’s that you don’t feel comfortable in the dress you want to wear to that big wedding this year.

Whatever your struggle with your arms, we understand – and we can help.

Top Asked Questions

  • What's the fastest way to reduce arm fat?
    The fastest way to remove fat and be ready to show off your arms is laser liposuction performed under local anesthesia, but you may not need surgery to reach your goals.
  • What's the quickest way to tighten loose arm skin?
    The quickest way to tighten loose arm skin is going to be exilis ultra, though it may not work for all patients and the results are not as long-lasting as some other options.
  • What causes bat wings?
    All of us lose collagen in our skin as we age - and for women, hormonal changes in our 40's and beyond can cause our our upper arms to really bear the brunt of this change earlier than skin in other parts of our body, even when there isn't excess fat or a lack of muscle tone. Those of us who might have had large weight fluctuations can damage the skin by stretching and breaking the collagen layer. Stretch marks are the very visible sign this has happened, but it doesn't have to get to that extreme to damage the collagen layer below.
  • Why can't I lose the fat on my upper arm?
    Some people are genetically predisposed to having more fat in their arms than others. If you are a healthy weight and your arms are disproportionate to your frame, this may be the case for you. The good news is that you can change your shape with cosmetic procedures, and create results that last a lifetime!
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About Arm Fat

The fat that resides in the upper arms can be difficult to combat with only diet and exercise, because there is often either a genetic and/or hormonal component that makes it very difficult for your body to shed this fat.

Arm fat is a common concern for many people, affecting both men and women, but typically the underlying cause of excess arm fat is different in men than in women.

What Causes Arm Fat?

Arm fat can be caused by a variety of factors and can leave men and women feeling dissatisfied with their bodies. This problem area is common and is rarely affected by diet and exercise, no matter how significant. Although it may be thought that a high caloric intake causes this fat, there are a few different causes for these unwanted fatty cells. These causes include:

For men, excess skin is less commonly part of the problem. Typically, men who complain of excess fat in their arms are bothered by a disproportionately large arm that is made of both muscle and fat. When the fat is removed, an athletic, strong arm is revealed. Skin damage is less common in men, although it can occur due to weight fluctuations or advanced age. For the most part, though, men require very little skin repair and more attention to sculpting detail.

Women often call their upper arms “bat wings” as they age. This descriptive name refers to the way that the upper arm skin thins and sags as a woman ages, creating a jiggly, loose “wing of skin (and sometimes fat) that droops down the back of the arm. This happens for all women with time, as hormonal changes thin the skin, and while it can be combatted with treatments that strengthen the underlying support structure of this skin – the collagen and elastin bundles that form a fibrous web at the base layers of the skin – any amount of excess fat in the upper arm, for a woman, will speed up this process of skin thinning and sagging. So it is critical to remove excess fat from this area quickly, and typically fat removal is paired with skin repair, for the best results.

Treatment Options for Removing Arm Fat and Tightening Loose Arm Skin

  • Minimally Invasive Surgery Under Local Anesthesia
  • Liposuction provides the most precise and profound results for removing arm fat. Unlike traditional liposuction, these liposuction treatments are minimally invasive and performed under local anesthesia (that’s right – no general anesthesia). This makes for a treatment that is safer, quicker, gentler, and more affordable. Plus the recovery is much shorter using these techniques. During these procedures, fat cells are removed from the upper arms through a micro-cannula to safely and effectively slim and sculpt the arms.

    Vaser Liposuction Under Local Anesthesia

    Vaser Ultrasonic Liposuction, commonly known as Vaser Lipo, is a breakthrough in fat removal technology. This treatment provides incredible results with minimal downtime. Through the use of ultrasonic sound waves, the fat cells are targeted and broken down to allow for quick and efficient extraction, without damage to the surrounding tissues. This makes for an incredibly gentle and effective procedure for removing fat from the arm.

    Smartlipo Laser Liposuction for Removing Excess Fat and Tightening Loose Skin on the Arms

    Smartlipo offers a unique advantage for treating the arms – it has an under-the-skin laser skin tightening treatment. Rather than using columns of laser energy shot through the skin to collagen layers below, this laser is run underneath the skin, targeting only the collagen layer, but treating it completely. This produces incredible skin tightening and firming. This laser treatment is performed after the fat is removed using micro-cannula technology. This one-two punch makes Smartlipo particularly effective at not only slimming and sculpting but also tightening and toning the arms.

    ThermiTight for Tightening Loose Arm Skin

    ThermiTight uses radiofrequency heat to treat the collagen bundles from underneath the skin, creating a shrink-wrap-like effect. This creates not only a profound tightening effect, but also firms and tones the skin. Unlike arm lift surgery (also called “brachioplasty”), this procedure does not leave large scars behind. Instead, very small insertion points are well-hidden as the scars heal. The recovery is also much, much shorter and easier with these treatments than with an arm lift surgery. These two are the treatment of choice for women with elbow wrinkles and crepey skin concerns as well.

  • Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Arms
  • CoolSculpting and SculpSure for Removing Excess Fat from the Arms

    CoolSculpting and SculpSure are non-invasive (no needles and no surgery) fat reduction treatments that can be used to target excess fat on the upper arms. Each of these treatments takes advantage of the extreme sensitivity of fat cells compared to other cells and tissues surrounding them. CoolSculpting uses a special process called cryolypolisis to freeze the fat cells, and SculpSure uses a specific wavelength of laser to melt the fat cells – each without causing any damage or disruption to surrounding tissues, and without the need for injections or surgery. Once fat cells have been treated with either CoolSculpting or SculpSure, you can expect up to 20-25% of the fat cells in that area to be destroyed and removed by the body’s natural self-cleaning systems in the weeks that follow. Because these treatments do not effectively remove all of the fat cells in a single treatment, most patients choose to undergo 2-3 treatments, spaced 4-6 weeks apart. Full results are seen around 12 weeks after the last treatment. This no downtime with either of these treatments, and they are non-invasive, so there’s no risk of scarring or anesthesia required.

    Exilis Ultra 360 for Tightening and Toning the Arms

    Exilis Ultra 360 is the new and improved Exilis system that now includes Ultrasonic tightening and fat cell reduction, in addition to radiofrequency tightening. It is an FDA cleared treatment for fat reduction and to provide tightening of the skin in a noninvasive, comfortable treatment. Our experience tells us Exilis is much better at tightening and toning the skin than it is at removing fat, so we tend to tell patients to think of circumferential reduction as an added bonus. It is, however, very effective at tightening the skin. It’s also one of the most affordable of the treatments we offer. Depending on the particular case, patients typically undergo a series of three to six treatments scheduled two weeks apart to receive optimal results.

  • Surgery for Removing Fat & Loose Skin
  • Arm Lift Surgery with Liposuction

    For those with moderate to significant sagging skin, and arm lift surgery offers the best and most complete result. This is often combined with liposuction, as there is usually at least some excess fat to be removed.
    This procedure is performed under general anesthesia by our board certified plastic surgeon, who has been performing bracchioplasty (arm lift surgery) for over 23 years now, and has worked on many very complex cases.
    This is an invasive surgery performed under general anesthesia, with expected scarring. But for a patient who hates their arms, it’s life-changingly good.

    View More Arm Fat / Bat Wing Before and Afters

    More Before & Afters

    Why Choose Reflections in New Jersey for Your Arm Sculpting Procedure

    Our Cosmetic Physicians offer patients a variety of cutting-edge surgical and nonsurgical treatments to choose from. Our Cosmetic Physicians are dedicated to providing you with honest answers about which treatments will help you achieve the results you’re seeking while fitting your budget and lifestyle. If you want to avoid surgery, scars, and downtime – we can help you do that. If you want a single procedure that completely reshapes your body – we can help you do that. If you want something affordable that makes you feel more confident in tank tops – we can help you do that. We know no two patients are the same, so we have collected the latest technologies and best doctors in one practice to allow us to offer the best treatment options to each patient. Learn more about the physicians that make up the award-winning team at Reflections Center.

    Schedule Your Consultation Today

    The first step is to schedule your consultation with one of our Cosmetic Physicians to discuss your treatment options for your arms. If you’re ready to learn about which options are best for you, we encourage you to contact us today. Existing patients can give our office a call, and new patients are encouraged to reach out using our online form.

    Good Candidates for Arm Fat Removal and/or Skin Tightening

    The patients who undergo one of our treatments should be near their goal weight and be holding steady at that weight over time, because weight fluctuations can negatively impact the results we achieve for your arms.

    Each arm treatment we offer has individual candidacy requirements, which will be something that the doctor goes over in detail during your consultation.

    When it comes to getting confident about your arms, the first step is to schedule a consultation. Consultations with our cosmetic physicians are free, with the exception of our plastic surgeon, so you may wish to start with a Dr. Wix-Harris if you are considering any treatment options beyond an arm lift surgery. If you are only interested in a full arm lift surgery, you should see Dr. Fodero, our plastic surgeon, as he’s the only one who performs those.

    During this appointment, the cosmetic physician will be able to assess your anatomy, discuss your goals and desires, and review your medical history, to select the best set of options for you. Together, you’ll make a treatment plan that will fit your desires for lifestyle (time off work, quickness of result), budget, anesthesia, scar minimization, and results.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Arm Fat Removal & Bat Wings (Loose Skin on the Arms)

    • What can I do about fine lines on the back of my arms?

      As we age or go through hormonal fluctuations (pregnancy, birth control, menopause, certain disease states, etc.), our skin takes a beating as women, because a drop in estrogen is a drop in collagen production for us.

      Many women find that as their estrogen drops in their 50s and beyond, that they develop a series of very fine lines at the back of their arms, just above their elbows. This is skin that has lost its elasticity and firmness due to a lack of collagen.
      Most people aren’t going to have this surgically removed, though you could. Instead, we’ve found you can stimulate the body to regrow the collagen in this area with biostimulatory fillers. These seem to work particularly well for areas with this very thin skin. Of course, lasers, microneedling, RF Microneedling, Ultherapy, Thermage, Sofwave, ThermiTight, and all of the other wonderful collagen-inducing technologies at our disposal would work in this area as well – but we’ve found these injections are able to be targeted to a specific area with precision, are relatively affordable and easy to have done (no downtime, no numbing, very rarely any swelling or redness), and that makes it an easy choice for this area.

    • Why are my arms fatter than my body?

      Some people have genetic predisposition to carry fat in their arms, just like some women tend to carry weight in their hips more than their abdomen. You might just be predisposed to carrying more fat in your arms. Liposuction is a great option for people who naturally carry more fat in their arms and who want a different proportion to their body.

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    Medical Director at Reflections Center | + posts

    Dr. Mitchell Chasin founded Reflections Center for skin & body as a place where physicians specializing in cosmetic medicine could focus on helping empower patients to feel their most beautiful. Dr. Chasin believes strongly that the best cosmetic physicians are those who are dedicated to mastering their craft through continuing education and collaboration with the industry’s top doctors.