Doctors from the University of Florida have confirmed an infrared laser device is minimally effective in treating loose arm skin without surgery. The procedure is a milder but less effective alternative to arm lift surgery, they report.
There are many reasons why upper arm skin becomes loose. Fluctuations in weight, the processes of aging, and even hereditary factors can cause droopy, sagging skin in the arm, armpit, and chest. People with excess skin on their arms often feel embarrassed and hide their upper arms.
Brachioplasty, or the arm lift, is a popular surgery that removes this excess fat and skin and improves the appearance of upper arms. Fatty tissue is removed through liposuction and excess skin is removed. The remaining skin is then pulled tight and sutured together so that the arms appear leaner and smoother. As with all surgical procedures, some scarring may result, but patients typically find that the surgery is well worth it. Now it seems that there is a confirmed non-invasive alternative, but its effectiveness is limited.
Previous studies have shown that the infrared laser device, called the Cutera Titan, has been effective in tightening skin across the body. The light heats the dermis beneath the surface of the skin and contracts the collagen so that the skin tightens. However, the Titan had not been previously tested in the upper arm area, until a recent study published in Dermatologic Surgery explored the use of the device for treating loose arm skin.
Twenty women with loose arm skin underwent 2 treatments with the device, and outcomes were measured 3 months later. The study found that there was a marked decrease in arm circumference, and investigator and participant evaluations revealed some minimal improvement in skin tightness. However, blinded photographic assessments and spectrophotometric analysis showed no improvement.
The authors conclude that while the Titan is safe and well-tolerated, it is minimally effective in treating arm skin laxity. The arm lift remains the most effective option for patients who wish to tighten the appearance of their arms.