Liposuction of the arms alone may be inadequate for aesthet- ic improvement because of skin laxity. Radiofrequency-assisted liposuction (RFAL) and aggressive super cial liposuction (SupL) have been described to stimulate soft tissue retraction to improve results. We compare the tech- niques and describe a classi cation scheme that factors skin laxity, skin quality, and Fitzpatrick type to provide treatment recommendations.
Ten consecutive female patients underwent RFAL of 1 arm and SupL on the contralateral arm. All patients had Fitzpatrick skin types of III, IV, or V with an average body mass index of 26.0. Using uorescent tattooing, key points on the arm skin were measured preoperatively and postoperatively to indicate changes in surface area.
There were no complications in the group, and all patients re- ported satisfaction with the aesthetic results. All patients showed reduc- tion of measured skin surface areas and skin distances postoperatively. At 1 year, the measured surface area reductions on the anterior arms averaged 15.0% for RFAL and 10.9% for SupL on the anterior arm skin. Posteriorly, RFAL showed 13.1% reduction and SupL 8.1% reduction in the surface areas at 1 year. Linear reduction for RFAL averaged 22.6% and 17.8% for SupL 1 year postoperatively anteriorly.
Both RFAL and SupL of the arms showed quanti able and sustained reductions in skin surface. Good contour and soft tissue contrac- tion were achieved with both techniques but RFAL with its safety features presents an alternative to SupL, which has a higher complication rate, risk for contour deformities, and steeper learning curve.