Armpit fat, also known as axillary fat, is a collection of fat separate from the rest of the breast. The fat looks like a small pooch next to the armpit. Axillary fat may occur in women who have normal breast size and body weight. Just like love handles or “saddle bag” fat on the outer thighs, the stubborn pockets of underarm fat remain despite rigorous diet and exercise habits.
Most women complain of a bulge of fat that remains outside the bra or swimsuit. Some women with extra armpit fat plan their whole wardrobe to cover up the fat. For instance, they avoid wearing tank tops, or buying nice lingerie with thin straps. Picking a swimsuit is difficult and wearing tightly fitted tops is impossible. Luckily, the treatment is relatively simple. Minimally invasive armpit liposuction removes the fat quickly and easily with little down time.
Armpit liposuction is performed in the operating room. Dr. Steven Holzman does not recommend using straight local anesthesia or “twilight sleep” anesthesia. Liposuction can be a fairly painful procedure, and Dr. Holzman believes that general anesthesia works best for even small liposuction surgeries.
Treating both armpits takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, and patients typically go home the same day. Recovery time should be relatively quick. Patients usually rest for 48 hours and avoid heavy lifting for 4 weeks. A compression bra is worn for comfort and to reduce swelling and bruising for 4-6 weeks. Dr. Holzman also recommends an Arnica montana supplement to further reduce post-operative bruising. Most patients return to light exercise and desk type jobs within 3-7 days.
A second procedure to reduce axillary fat is the brachioplasty, or arm lift. This surgery works best for women who have flabby upper arms with a fat pad that extends into the armpit, or axilla. A brachioplasty is a more involved surgery that uses a combination of excision and liposuction to remove fat and excess tissue from the upper arms and axillae. It is performed under general anesthesia and usually takes 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete. Compression garments are worn for 4-6 weeks and patients may not do any upper body exercise or lifting for that time.
For more information about your options for addressing unwanted fatty tissue on the arms or anywhere else on the body, please contact our practice to schedule a consultation.