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Arm Lift Incision Location?

I gather that the incision for a brachioplasty can be along the inner arm, or on the back of the arm. If the latter, is the incision dead centre down the back of the arm, or at the junction of the inner arm and the back of the arm?

Doctor Answers 19

Arm lift incision location?

In performing a brachioplasty an incision is made on the inside of the arm extending from the elbow into the armpit. Sometimes it is necessary to extend the incision further into the armpit and sometimes past it. Utilizing this incision excess skin is removed and the wound is closed. It is very important to position the scar properly so that it is concealed as much as possible. A well-placed incision should result in a scar that is only visible when the arms are raised. This operation is normally performed as an outpatient. It is very important for the surgeon to discuss the resultant scar thoroughly with the patient preoperatively. Very commonly this scar takes a longer time to undergo the full healing and maturation process. Maturation refers to the process whereby the scar becomes less apparent. Brachioplasty scars commonly take up to 2 years to fully mature. Immediately after the operation compressive Ace wraps are placed from the fingers up to the armpit. These can normally be removed within 24-48 hours postoperatively. Elastic compression sleeves commonly worn by athletes can be purchased relatively inexpensively at any sporting good store. Many patients wear these for up for up to 2 weeks postoperatively. No vigorous activity or strenuous activity is recommended for 3 weeks postoperatively. Complications following a well planned and well executed brachioplasty are uncommon. They may include however wound infection or wound breakdown. Is very important to follow the directions of your surgeon postoperatively to ensure the best result.


Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Incision for Brachioplasty Surgery Made From Elbow to Axilla

                  When patients undergo brachioplasty surgery, an incision is made from the elbow to the axilla. Through this incision excess skin and fat can be removed in both the transverse and vertical dimensions of the upper arm. The exact placement of the incision is dependent upon several variables.

                  In the majority of cases, the incision is placed on the inner arm between the biceps and triceps muscles. In this position the scars are well hidden when the arms are at the patient’s side. When patients raise their arms, the scars become more noticeable.

                  Occasionally, patients prefer scars that are more posteriorly located. In this position, scars don’t tend to spread as much, because the skin is thicker in this location. When a posterior approach is utilized, the incision location is determined by the patient’s unique anatomy.

                  It’s important to understand that scarring is inevitable with this procedure, irregardless of the incision placement. The most important variable in scar formation is the patients wound healing biology. This varies from patient to patient and for this reason incision placement needs to be individualized.

                  If you’re considering brachioplasty, it’s important to discuss these issues with a board certified plastic surgeon before proceeding. This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plant that addresses these issues.

Incision Placement Choices for Arm Lift/Brachioplasty Surgery

Procedure Description
Incisions are placed in a inside location on the underside of the arms (the part of the arm that is against the body with the arms hanging at their side), between the armpit and the elbow.  General anesthesia is usually used for this procedure.  The length and location of the scar is dependent on the location of the unwanted and excess soft tissue. The unwanted skin is removed to reveal the arm’s natural shape.  In many cases, liposuction is used to remove excess fat to enhance the natural contour of the arm.

If there is limited fat and loose skin close to the arm pit then a short scar technique leaving the final scar in the arm pit may be possible.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

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Armlift incision location

Thank you for your question.

Brachioplasty (arm reduction surgery) can remove excess tissue and reduce the circumference of the upper arm. Surgical correction depends on the amount of extra skin and how loose the supporting tissues have become. Extra skin is removed from incisions along the inner arm. The incision must be placed where the tissue can be best tightened but the incision must be well hidden as well.  Usually, the incision along the inner aspect of the arm is better hidden than posteriorly.

Best Wishes!

Armlift incisions

You are correct in that the incision can be placed along the inner aspect of the arm or posteriorly.   The posterior incision will be noticeable when a person is standing behind you. 

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Armlift- Two different incision locations.

The location of the scar depends on the skin laxity. Small skin excisions may allow for the scar to be located in the armpit. For larger reductions a longitudinal scar will be located at the junction of the inner arm and back of the arm, which will make it less visible then dead centre down the back of the arm.

Robert Sleightholm, MD
Brampton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Arm lift

Typically the incision placement depends on the type of arm lift that you are having.   Limited arm lift incisions will be placed within the arm pit.  For extended arm lift, the incision is placed at the inner surface or back surface, or sometimes in between the inner and back surface.  The latter is the one that I most prefer personally.  You can get more information about this on my website with many before and after pictures.

Arm lift incision placement - Where is the scar for an arm lift

I perform many arm lift procedures and have not found one particular method that fits every size and shape of the arm.  Specifically, I have a patient extend and drop down their arms to locate the precise longitudinal plane in which to place all the surgical incisions.  This minimizes scarring after surgery. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Incisions for Arm Lifts

While an arm lift (brachioplasty) can be an excellent procedure to recontour the arm and remove those unwanted "bat wings" it certainly does not come without a price....a scar. Only very few patients are candidates for simply liposuction only.  The scars for an arm lift are best located on the inner aspect of the arm, just below the biceps muscle groove. This is performed in this location so that it is concealed when you have your arms to your sides.  Incisions placed on the back of the arm are visible at all times and should be avoided.  Be sure to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Arm lift scar position

For a long-scar arm lift, I place the scar in the groove just beneath the biceps muscle on the inside of the arm. Its hidden during most body positions. Scar on the back of the arm look terrible and are always visible. View the photos on our website for more detail.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.