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Arm Liposuction Incision Through the Arm?

I'm having an arm Liposuction in a couple of weeks, and I've been looking at before and after pictures and reading reviews. One thing I noticed is that most incisions are at or around the elbow area. My doctor said my incision will be through the armpit. Why did he choose that site? Will it make a difference in my results? I've had work done by him before so I trust his skill and experience, I'm just curious.

Doctor Answers 17

Access sites for liposuction

In order to get access to the arm for liposuction, we sometimes make incisions in the armpit and at the elbow. If a good result is obtained with just the armpit incision, then the elbow incision is spared. However, if extra sculpting is required then the elbow incision is made. The access incisions heal very well and are barely visible at about 1 year. Good luck!

That sounds even better


As plastic surgeons we are always looking for ways to hide scars. Although we like to leave our mark, we like it to be the result, not the scar. Your surgeon is likely choosing the least conspicuous location for your scar, through which he/she can provide you with the expected result. Good luck!

Both incisions are fine for arm liposuction

The choice of incisions depends on two things: surgeon's preference and patient indications.

If you have predominantly fat on the lower part of the upper arm, then an elbow only incision would work very well.

If the fat is mainly on the upper portion, then an armpit incision might be best.

However, if the fat is somewhat evenly distributed then both incisions might be needed. Keep in mind that these are very small incisions and do not usually draw attention.

Have faith in the surgeon you chose, and good luck with the procedure.

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon

Arm Liposuction incisions

The simple answer is that either the elbow or armpit, axillary, incision is acceptable and in the hands of a talented plastic surgeon you should get a great result. In general very small incisions are made in areas that tend to be less noticeable so that postoperative scarring is not a problem in the vast majority of patients

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Arm liposuction and insertion sites

Many doctors use an axillary (armpit) insertion site as well as the elbow. It improves the result when you can pass the liposuction cannula through different directions to attack the same spot. The axillary insertions site is well hidden.


Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

I think you have your answer

As you can see by all the well crafted answers so far, arm liposuction can be done through multiple different incisions.  The scars are not the issue at all, the real question is how well will your skin shrink after.  The skin of the inner arm is exceptionally thin and relatively poorly elastic.

Liposuction incisions

If your surgeon is experienced at liposuction, then it shouldn't make any difference where he makes the incision. I usually make the incision just above the elbow and after the incisions have healed they are almost unnoticeable.

Allen Clark III, MD
Montgomery Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Location of the incision is not important.

Hi. The incisions for liposuction of the arms are so tiny that scarring is really not an issue. The four key points in liposuction of the arms are:

1) Understand that most of the fat is in the back of the arm.

2) Achieve a smooth contour. It is not hard to get an irregularity or a dent in the arms. I personally use both incisions, because it is easier to get a smooth surface when you approach the treatment area from two different directions. I also use tiny cannulas (2.4 mm), for the same reason.

3) Don't overcorrect.

4) When all the desired fat has been suctioned out, the skin of the arms can be tightened by tunnelling with the cannula right under the skin.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Let your surgeon do it they way they are used to doing it.

It is best to let your surgeon do the surgery they way they normally do it. It is amazing to me that people come in a start asking the surgeon to do the surgery a different way than they are used to performing it. If you trust the surgeon, then it is best to rely on the skills and experience of the surgeon rather than dictating how they should perform the surgery. I don't go out to eat and tell the chef at the restaurant how to cook my meal, I don't go on an airplane and tell the pilot what altitude to fly, likewise, I would not start telling the surgeon how to perform the surgery. Hopefully this is understandable. Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Arm liposuction

Liposuction can be performed through multiple different access sites. No one incisions is the best. If your doctor feels that it can be accomplished successfully near your armpit than it should be OK.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

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.