Total Lipedema Care


While the loose skin on the upper arms is known to be unattractive, it can also be symptomatic of an underlying genetic, hormonal issue known as lipedema.



While the loose skin on the upper arms is known to be unattractive, it can also be symptomatic of an underlying genetic, hormonal issue known as lipedema. In Beverly Hills, CA at Total Lipedema Care (TLC), our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Jaime S. Schwartz, is very experienced in identifying lipedema and treating it with surgical skin tightening and fat removal methods. Never heard of this condition? You are not alone. Many people who have lipedema go undiagnosed or dismissed by other doctors as being overweight or obese. Unfortunately, this is a disservice to about 30% of the people with lipedema. The fluctuations of fat gained and lost or varying levels of swelling takes its toll on the upper arm skin. Lipedema dramatically changes the appearance, texture, mobility, and vascular health of the arm. If you would like to learn more about how brachioplasty can prevent or reduce swelling in your arms from lipedema when all other medical interventions have failed, please call and schedule a consultation at Total Lipedema Care in Beverly Hills, CA.


Did you know that both men and women can have lipedema of the arms, but it is more likely to be found in women? One in nine women has lipedema, whether it is diagnosed or not. This is a rare adipose disorder — not a consequence of overeating and poor lifestyle choices. Young adults with hanging upper arm skin may wonder what is so different about their skin that makes it droop at such an early age. Even with fluctuations in weight, the upper arm skin inflamed with lipedema will rapidly lose its ability to sustain elasticity. The lower part of the arm may also show the characteristics of this disorder. Just like the feet, however, the hands are unaffected. There may be a “cuff” of fat that stops at the wrist when the lower arm is heavy, and a “blousing” appearance to the fat at the elbow where fat accumulates and bulges over the joint as well. Surgical candidates for lipedema of the arms may need a surgical intervention because of the pain associated with this disorder, as well as the needed improvements to the lymphatic and vascular system being taxed with blockages of fat.


You will be expected to keep your surgical incisions clean, bandaged, and wrapped with compression garments after you are released from surgery to complete your recovery at home. During the first two weeks, you will need lots of rest with arm elevation. Follow all of Dr. Schwartz’s orders and especially allow yourself time to heal. You use your arms for everything so you should ease your way back into a normal routine. A suture removal appointment will be set approximately ten days after surgery. Compression garments should be worn at all times. For at least a month (4 – 5 weeks), all exercise should be avoided with the exception of taking short walks. If you develop excessive swelling, uncontrolled bleeding, hematoma (fluid buildup), infection, loss of feeling in the arms or hands, or heavy scarring, please call our office for assistance.
After your surgery, topical ointments to assist in scar healing will be recommended along with other tips for scar care management. Dr. Schwartz also recommends you avoid sun exposure during the first year to protect the incisions from any additional discoloration. Most patients believe the benefits of relieving the symptoms of lipedema outweigh the appearance of scars.


A lymphatic sparing arm lift for lipedema can be combined with other procedures, such as tummy tucks, breast reductions, and thigh lifts — if Dr. Schwartz decides it is safe. A lipedema arm lift is performed with TIVA, a total intravenous anesthesia protocol of the Schwartz Rapid Recuperation™. Your surgery may take 2 – 3 hours to complete while you sleep. If fat is to be removed from the arm, the reduction will take place before the skin excision. Dr. Schwartz will use water-assisted liposuction to gently withdraw the fat from the area. Just like a cosmetic arm lift, the incision will be placed from the elbow to all the way to the underarm. Then, Dr. Schwartz will take off the redundant skin and make every effort to ensure that your incisions are small and as inconspicuous as possible. However, it will most likely leave a visible scar. Once the skin is tightened, it will be sutured back into place, bandaged, and wrapped in a compression garment.


While there is no cure for lipedema, Dr. Schwartz will do his best to help you navigate your treatment with dignity and respect on the course of your treatments. Lipedema of the arms, which is very noticeable, can be mentally and physically challenging (not to mention, painful). Left untreated, your health will only get worse and progress to the next stage. In advanced stages, it can become very difficult to see results from treatment. If you would like to know more about lipedema, please call and schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz today. He is an excellent surgeon who will walk you through the diagnostic process all the way to your Schwartz Rapid Recuperation period. Our medical team will help you determine if the symptomatic fat in your upper arms is lipedema. Let TLC be your resource for this challenging condition.