In life, we are constantly striving to look our best. Yet, as we age, fat naturally accumulates around our arms and can be extremely challenging to get rid of. That being said, there are many reasons to love an arm lift! First, it can help you get rid of fat and skin in your upper arms so that you can confidently show off those sleeveless tops and dresses. But did you know there are two different types of arm lifts? If you’re curious about which procedure is right for you, read on as we break down each option: CoolSculpting vs. Brachioplasty.

What Is CoolSculpting?

CoolSculpting is an FDA-cleared non-surgical procedure that freezes and destroys fat cells. It works by targeting specific areas of the body where you want to reduce stubborn fat. Since the procedure is non-invasive, there is minimal downtime after the treatment. It’s also quick—each session takes about 30 minutes or less depending on the treatment area(s).

With CoolSculpting, you can expect to lose anywhere from 18-25% fat in one treatment session. However, it takes several weeks for your body to get rid of the dead fat cells. So, don’t expect an instant change in appearance right after your session. It usually takes about three months of consistent CoolSculpting sessions for people to see significant results.

This painless procedure is ideal for those who want to improve the look of their arms without going under the knife. However, while CoolSculpting boasts plentiful benefits, the treatment isn’t suitable for everyone. After evaluating your body, a specialist will let you know whether you’re a good fit for CoolSculpting during your initial consultation.

How Does Brachioplasty Differ from CoolSculpting?

Brachioplasty and CoolSculpting are two different procedures used to address concerns with the appearance of the arms. Unlike CoolSculpting, which is non-invasive, Brachioplasty is a surgical upper arm lift procedure. This cosmetic surgery reduces excess skin and fat from the upper arm. It also eliminates loose skin while tightening the arm’s shape. Since the procedure requires incisions, you may end up with some scars. But if you have a lot of excess skin, then Brachioplasty may be more effective than CoolSculpting.

Brachioplasty is more expensive than CoolSculpting for several reasons. First, there are the anesthesia fees. Surgery requires a higher level of expertise, so there’s a cost built into that. Finally, the cost may be higher if you need post-operative care.

What Happens During an Arm Lift?

The arm lift procedure varies depending on if you choose CoolSculpting or Brachioplasty.

CoolSculpting: How It Works

CoolSculpting is a relatively straightforward procedure. It’s a “lunchtime” treatment, which means you can schedule sessions during a lunch break on any workday. A specialist will put a gel pad and applicator on your treatment site during the treatment. The applicator delivers controlled cooling to the stubborn fat. The provider moves the device over your skin during the cooling session while the applicator works magic. A great perk of CoolSculpting is it is a targeted treatment. This means surrounding tissues around the treatment site remain unharmed. For the arms, one CoolSculpting session is usually enough to see results. However, depending on your unique case, you may need more. Your provider will let you know during your consultation how many to expect.

Another advantage of Coolsculpting is that it can treat multiple areas of the body simultaneously in a single treatment session. “DualSculpting” involves utilizing two machines at the same time. Dual applicators are placed on multiple targeted areas and deliver precise cooling to reduce fat cells at once, saving time.

Understanding Brachioplasty

Brachioplasty is either performed at an outpatient surgical facility or a local hospital. Brachioplasty patients can expect general anesthesia, so they are asleep and pain-free during the surgery. Once the anesthesia kicks in, the surgeon creates small incisions in the armpit to remove excess fat and reposition the remaining tissue. Your arm lift incisions are placed inconspicuously along the inner arms to address any skin laxity. Loose skin is then re-draped and trimmed to improve tightness. Tightening the muscles and skin gives a more toned appearance than simply removing excess fat and skin. At the end of the procedure, the surgeon uses stitches to close the incisions. You’ll leave with the treatment area covered with a bandage.

A benefit of Brachioplasty is that it can remove excess skin that contributes to drooping in the arm area. By addressing sagging skin that forms because of aging or weight loss, Brachioplasty successfully improves the appearance of “bat wings”.

After Brachioplasty, you may need to take time off work to let your body heal from the invasive surgery. It’s normal to experience soreness, bruising, and swelling after the procedure. These effects should pass on their own after several days. But plan to take it easy for a week or two after this arm lift procedure.

Should I Get CoolSculpting or a Brachioplasty?

It depends. Before deciding on a treatment, it’s crucial to consider your cosmetic goals. Do you want an arm lift but don’t want to commit to a cosmetic surgery? Coolsculpting is a great non-surgical alternative to consider. Coolsculpting can provide long-lasting results that are noticeable within 1 to 3 months of your initial treatment session. On average, clinical studies found that cryolipolysis reduces subcutaneous fat at the treatment area by up to 25%* after one treatment. You can get right back to work and resume daily activities after your session. However, while CoolSculpting is an effective, non-surgical way to sculpt your arms and destroy stubborn arm fat, it is not for every patient.

Leaning toward CoolSculpting? Keep these considerations in mind:

  • The ideal CoolSculpting arm candidate is a healthy, active adult who struggles with diet and exercise-resistant arm fat.

  • Ideal candidates will have at least an inch of “pinchable” subcutaneous fat (not just skin).

  • Results develop slowly, over the course of three weeks to three months. You will need 3-6 months before your “ideal timeframe” to see results.

  • CoolSculpting is not a weight-loss treatment. Having realistic expectations about what a fat reduction treatment can achieve is essential.

  • Additional factors that determine candidacy include body size and shape, aesthetic goals, and desired treatment areas.

The best way to determine if you are an ideal CoolSculpting candidate is to schedule a complimentary consultation with Concierge Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery. During your visit, our CoolSculpting specialist evaluates your body while understanding your aesthetic body goals. If you are the right CoolSculpting candidate, we will create a treatment plan that achieves lean, sculpted arms.

On the other hand, do you have too much excess skin that CoolSculpting alone can’t fix? Look into Brachioplasty.

It’s worth noting that Brachioplasty candidates may also benefit from CoolSculpting to shrink excess fat in their arms before undergoing surgery. Find out what your body needs by consulting a reputable arm lift provider like Concierge Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery.

Leaning toward Brachioplasty? Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Ideal candidates are healthy women and men between the ages of 18 and 65 who aren't planning to have children within the next year or so.

  • Having realistic expectations is key. Ask your provider for before and after photos, so you can get an idea of what you can expect before committing to the surgery.

  • The procedure usually takes one hour per side and requires local anesthesia, so you can rest comfortably during the procedure.

  • You can return home after the procedure, but unlike CoolSculpting, there is a recovery time. Follow your surgeon's aftercare instructions to ensure optimal results and minimal discomfort.


CoolSculpting can be a helpful treatment to do before Brachioplasty surgery. CoolSculpting can enhance the final surgical results of Brachioplasty by reducing excess fat in the arm area before surgery. CoolSculpting also provides a more precise contouring effect, allowing the surgeon to achieve better outcomes during the arm lift procedure. Additionally, CoolSculpting helps spot treat stubborn fat areas to further accentuate muscle tone in the upper and lower arms.

Overall, CoolSculpting improves patient satisfaction by helping individuals achieve their desired arm shape. As a result, this can boost patient confidence and improve body image. This can have a positive impact on overall satisfaction with the Brachioplasty surgery outcomes.

Get an Arm Lift in Chicago, IL

Selecting an experienced provider is crucial, regardless of which arm lift procedure you choose. Both CoolSculpting and Brachioplasty are technique-sensitive procedures. So, you’ll want a board-certified plastic surgeon who provides both treatments and has extensive experience performing them.

There are many options available when it comes to surgery. But your choice should always have the best results in mind for you and your body. Concierge Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery offers both CoolSculpting and Brachioplasty arm lifts in Chicago, IL.

Not sure which is better for you? We’d love to help steer your decision-making process. Call 312-255-1495 to schedule a free consultation today! Let’s discuss your aesthetic goals, budget, and expectations. From there, we can determine which procedure best suits your needs and create an appropriate treatment plan.

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