What You Need to Know About Arm and Back Lipo

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A woman flexing her arm in front of a white background.

What is Arm and Back Lipo?

Arm and back lipo, also referred to as liposuction of the arms and back, is a body contouring procedure that removes excess fat to refine the shape and profile of the upper arms, back, and sometimes chest or flank areas. It works by suctioning out deep, localized fat deposits through small incisions in the treatment zones.

This type of liposuction shapes the arms, back, and nearby areas by:

  • Reducing overall fat bulges and thickness
  • Creating more defined contours and muscularity
  • Smoothing bumpy or uneven fat distribution
  • Refining overall proportions for better balance and symmetry

Arm and back lipo provides permanent results as long as patients maintain a stable weight. It is not considered a weight loss solution, but rather a body contouring treatment for problem zones. The best candidates have good skin elasticity and localized fat deposits in these areas.

How Does Arm and Back Liposuction Work?

During an arm and back lipo procedure, a thin tube called a cannula will be inserted through the incision sites to dislodge and suction out excess fat using a surgical vacuum pump. Local or general anesthesia is used to keep the patient comfortable throughout.

Here is a step-by-step overview of how the procedure works:

Markings and Photos

The surgeon will first mark the areas for fat removal and take pre-op photos for reference.


Options include local, regional nerve blocks, IV sedation or general anesthesia depending on extent.


Small 0.5 – 2 cm incisions are made near the treatment zones to insert the cannula.

Fat Removal

The surgeon moves the cannula under the skin to break up and suction out fat deposits.

Additional Passes

More passes may be made through different access points to further contour and refine shape.

Closing Incisions

The tiny incisions are closed up with sutures or surgical tape.

See Results

As swelling resolves over a few weeks, the refined contours and profile improvements become visible.

The procedure time ranges from 1-3 hours depending on the number of areas treated. Many patients return home the same day. 

What is the Recovery Time for Arm Liposuction?

Recovery time varies based on the extent of the procedure, but most patients can expect:

  • First 1-2 weeks – Significant swelling, bruising, moderate pain and discomfort. Avoid strenuous activity.
  • 2-4 weeks – Gradual subsiding of swelling. Bruising fades. Discomfort manages with medication. Can resume light activity.
  • 1-3 months – Residual swelling resolves. See final contour improvements. OK for normal exercise.

Some tips for smoothly recovering from arm lipo include:

Following all post-op instructions from your plastic surgeon is key to minimizing risks and achieving the best possible outcome.

What Are the Expected Results of Back Lipo?

Back liposuction aims to remove localized fat deposits along the upper, mid and lower back regions. Common problem areas treated include:

  • Bra rolls – bulges along the band of a bra
  • Mid back fullness or ‘back fat’ above jeans/pants
  • Upper back fat affecting the contour of the shoulders and neckline
  • Lower back bulges and rolls above the buttocks

When performed correctly on the right candidate, expected results from back lipo include:

  • Smoother upper and mid back contour without bulges or back rolls
  • Improved shape and definition along the bra line
  • Better proportion between mid and lower back and the buttocks area
  • A more streamlined silhouette from behind

The fat removal achieves permanent body contouring improvement as long as your weight remains stable. However, the aging process and weight fluctuations can still alter your shape over time.

What is the Cost of Arm and Back Lipo?

A surgeon is using a syringe to inject a patient's arm.

Like any cosmetic surgery, the cost of arm and back liposuction can vary based on several factors. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average fees for liposuction are:

  • Surgeon’s fee: $2700
  • Anesthesia fee: $800 – $1500
  • Facility fee: $700 – $1500

So you can expect to pay between $4,000 – $6,000 on average for arm and back lipo. However, many variables affect the overall price, such as:

  • Number of areas being treated – arms only, back only or both
  • Extent of correction needed – small or large volume of fat to remove
  • Surgeon’s experience and reputation – highly skilled surgeons often charge more
  • Geographic location – costs are higher in major metro areas

Some additional costs may include pre-op lab tests, compression garments for recovery, and post-op appointments. Many plastic surgeons offer financing plans to break the cost into more affordable monthly installments.

Are There Any Risks Involved with Lipo on Arms and Back?

Arm and back liposuction is considered a safe procedure when performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon. However, as with any surgery, some risks and side effects can occur. These may include:

  • Swelling, bruising, pain – Temporary and generally manageable
  • Numbness – Due to nerve impacts. Usually resolves over weeks.
  • Bleeding, fluid buildup – Uncommon. May require follow-up procedures.
  • Infection – Rare with proper incision care. Resolves with antibiotics.
  • Uneven results, contour irregularities – Can sometimes require a revision.
  • Skin looseness – More common with too much fat removal. Improves over months.

Choosing a reputable surgeon and accredited surgical facility with a proven safety record can help minimize risks. Be sure to follow all pre- and post-op instructions carefully for optimal healing.

How Long Does the Effect of Arm Lipo Last?

The fat removal results achieved from well-performed arm liposuction are considered permanent, as the number of fat cells in the treated areas are reduced. However, substantial weight gain or loss, aging, pregnancy, and other factors can influence how long the improved contours last.

To help maintain your arm lipo results long-term:

  • Maintain a stable body weight close to what it was at the time of your procedure
  • Follow a healthy diet and active lifestyle
  • Allow your body ample time to fully heal before attempting to lose weight
  • Be aware that skin laxity from aging may still impact arm appearance over years

With proper care, most patients enjoy lasting results from arm lipo for many years. But some fat return is always possible if you experience significant weight gain that impacts the treated areas.

Is Lipo on Arms Worth It?

Whether arm liposuction is “worth it” depends on your specific trouble spots, goals, and expectations. For those struggling with small but disproportionately bulky arms, lipo can provide significant improvements not achievable through diet and exercise alone.

Benefits of arm lipo for the right candidates include:

  • Up to 3 inch reduction in arm circumference
  • Elimination of stubborn fat pockets
  • More defined, toned shape
  • Proportional slimming based on unique contours
  • Permanent fat cell reduction if weight stable
  • Boosted confidence in sleeveless tops

However, the moderate cost, recovery downtime, and potential side effects make it worth carefully evaluating if the projected improvements are worth the tradeoffs. Having realistic expectations of the procedure’s capabilities and limitations is key.

How Long Do Arms Hurt After Lipo?

It is normal for the arms to be tender, bruised, and moderately painful after liposuction. The intensity of arm lipo pain varies based on factors like:

  • Number of treatment areas
  • Amount of fat removed
  • Pain tolerance

With appropriate pain medication, most patients describe the pain as manageable. Here is a general timeline of what to expect:

Time After SurgeryExpected Pain and Symptoms
First 1-3 daysMore intense pain, swollen, numbness, bruising
First weekDiscomfort, soreness, reduced range of motion
2-3 weeksMild residual achiness, bruises fade
1-2 monthsArms feel closer to normal

Avoid lifting, straining the arms, and strenuous exercise for at least 4-6 weeks after arm lipo. 

What Causes Upper Arm and Back Fat?

Several factors can contribute to excess fat developing in the upper arms and back region:

  • Genetics – We inherit our body type and areas prone to store fat from our parents.
  • Weight gain – Added pounds settle in genetically predisposed problem zones.
  • Aging – As we age, fat distribution often shifts and collagen/elastin decline.
  • Pregnancy – Hormonal changes and baby weight can enlarge arm and back size.
  • Menopause – Fat storage patterns change after menopause, often to the arms and back.
  • Lifestyle – Lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, alcohol, and smoking habits.

While spot reduction through targeted exercise isn’t possible, overall healthy lifestyle habits can help manage arm and back fat to a degree. But problem areas unresponsive to diet and exercise may benefit from liposuction for more significant improvement.

How to Sleep After Arm Lipo?

Getting quality rest is an important part of the arm lipo recovery process. Here are tips for sleeping comfortably after your procedure:

  • Sleep elevated on 2-3 pillows to reduce swelling
  • Avoid sleeping on your side – keep arms extended
  • Use pillows for arm support and to prevent rolling
  • Take pain medication before bed for more restful sleep
  • Wear any compression garment as directed
  • Use ice packs on treated areas to soothe discomfort
  • Keep a stack of extra pillows handy to adjust as needed

Light sleeping medications or natural remedies like chamomile tea can also help relax the body for restful sleep after lipo.

Why is My Back Itchy After Liposuction?

Itching is common after liposuction as your skin adapts to change and the swelling and healing process occurs under the surface. Causes of a post-lipo itchy back include:

  • Temporary numbness in the treatment areas
  • Nerves regenerating as they reconnect in new areas
  • Fluid and inflammation as part of the healing response
  • Compression from garments rubbing on skin

To help relieve itching:

  • Moisturize with a gentle, fragrance-free lotion
  • Avoid scratching as it can damage skin and scars
  • Use OTC hydrocortisone cream to calm itch
  • Take antihistamines if severe itching persists
  • Use cool compresses to soothe skin

See your surgeon if itching is severe or accompanied by signs of infection like oozing or redness.

Get the Sculpted Arms and Contoured Back You’ve Always Dreamed Of With Arm and Back Liposuction

Arm Lipo before and after photos.

As an esteemed plastic surgeon in both cosmetic and craniofacial surgery, Dr. Darren M. Smith has the specialized skill and artistic eye to help patients achieve their ideal silhouette. He has performed thousands of successful body contouring procedures over his distinguished career.

Arm and back liposuction is one of Dr. Smith’s specialties. His experienced surgical team uses advanced techniques to remove unwanted fat and sculpt your arms and back to perfection. Each body is unique, which is why he takes a personalized approach to give you the precise results you want.