Written by Tianna Manon for Avima.com
If you’ve considered removing the fat along your armpits, liposuction may be the best route. Liposuction for the armpit area is growing quickly in popularity and the surgery is becoming more accessible.
In the procedure, surgeons remove or sculpt some of the fat around the armpit area, revealing a smoother look in strapless and thin, strappy tops, bras and dresses. It reduces the appearance of “bra bulge,” which can be extra fat, loose skin or breast tissue around the armpit. Liposuction and liposculpture target any fat there. While we typically think of women with this issue, men can face this as well, particularly those with gynecomastia– a breast tissue issue that can cause the area to expand.
Targeting fat in the underarms using liposuction is becoming more popular because the underarms are a fat source that’s not easily targeted through diet and exercise alone. While it doesn’t cause any serious medical concerns, for some it’s a source of insecurity.
“We do about a dozen of these surgeries per week,” said Dr. Cynthia Stewart, a Houston-based plastic surgeon. “It’s relatively easy and I think it’s a relief for women to know they’re not alone in not embracing their underarms so to speak. The bulge doesn’t pose a problem medically but if you don’t like it, it’s worth looking into its removal.”
Typically, anesthesia is used, although some surgeons perform it with just a sedative. It’s important to ensure that your surgeon is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons to do this treatment. Because it’s so easy, some physicians without a background in plastic surgery offer the service but experts say it’s always best to go with an actual plastic surgeon.
The procedure can take about two hours, with the surgeon making an incision in the crease of the armpit so it’s easily hidden. However, recovery can take much longer and largely depends on how much fat was removed and in which way. Most patients will need at least a few days before they can move their arms. For the first 48 hours, patients should avoid all exercise and unnecessary physical activity. There is also typically more pain for the first two days. Overall, patients are advised to not workout out for at least a week and to avoid arm-specific workouts for even longer– at least a month. Occasionally, some people need an additional procedure to remove any excess or baggy skin left after the liposuction.
The procedure is considered to be purely cosmetic, meaning most insurance companies won’t cover it. The average cost of using liposuction to remove bra bulge is $4,000 and some surgeons offer financing through their office to help patients afford the work.
Although liposuction for the underarms is growing in popularity, it wasn’t discussed much until Chrissy Teigen told Refinery29 that she got the procedure done when she was only 22-years-old. A decade later, she says she’s considering getting the work done again because the bulge has returned. She says getting the procedure made her feel more confident when wearing certain dresses and tops. She lost about an inch in each armpit.
Teigen proves that the bra bulge can happen to anyone. Although it’s more likely to affect busty or older women, almost anyone with underarms can see that unsightly bulge.
Bra bulge seems like a small issue but for women frustrated about the fat in their underarms, there are options. Liposuction can provide an easy and instant slimming effect, melting the fat in the armpits completely. Though it may return, it takes several years and healthy eating and exercise can improve the staying power of the results as well.