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Lifting Arms – Saying  “Good Bye”  to Betty

20 years ago when I was doing my training in Alabama a patient came in to get rid of her “Hey Bettys.”  She explained that the “Hey Betty” phenomena as when you wave to your neighbor Betty across the fence and the arms themselves just keep on waving.

Well the best solution 20 years ago and still today to get rid of the “Hey Betty” is an arm lift.  There are number of patients that actually can get a nice result from liposuction alone.  These patients are generally a bit younger, with pretty good skin tone.

To a plastic surgeon good skin tone means no stretch marks, little to no sun damage and the skin feels pretty thick, not like crepe paper.  For patients with less than ideal skin tone and too much looseness or too much fat, we often need to add removal of skin to the liposuction procedure.

The degree of looseness of the skin and where it is located determine where the scar will be and how long it will be.  We have refined our techniques through the years and the placement of the scar a bit better to improve the outcomes but one drawback is the need for a scar.  It is an important conversation to have with your surgeon about the tradeoff and whether it might be worth it for you or not.

New devices that promise to tighten the skin and shrink it down still remain mostly just promises.  They may work a little, but usually not enough to make a significant improvement.

Perhaps not such a crazy coincidence, but just in the middle of composing this blog, I got called away for a consultation for a patient who wants to have some back and thigh contouring – and she was so excited about how well her arm lift from 8 weeks ago is healing and how tight her arms are.  Later, I was discussing with her the tradeoffs of the scars for a back lift and she again pointed to her arm lift scars and said she didn’t have any concern about the scarring given how well she was healing.  Indeed she looks great and for her the decision was worth it.

- Dr. P


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