Arm Lift Scarring?

My sister had an arm lift recently and she thought the incision was going to be in the middle arm. As it turns out the scar is on the back of her arm. Why do some doctors perfer to put the incision on the back rather than the inside of the arm. Is it better to do this as it achieves a better result or is it just an individual surgeons preference.

Doctor Answers 7

Arm lift scarring

I am of the opinion that the best scar placement is on the inside of the upper arm approximately two thirds of the way down from the top of the extended arm. In performing this procedure 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. 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.

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 112 reviews

Ideal Brachioplasty Incision

A nice cosmetic result following an arm lift procedure maybe achieved by removing excess arm skin, placing the incision in an inconspicuous location and avoiding significant tension upon skin closure. The exact location of the incision is based upon: surgeon and patient preference, how much excess arm skin exists preoperatively, quality and elasticity of skin, as well as the predominant location of the excess skin (closer to armpit versus elbow). Certain patients with less excess skin  located closer to their armpit, with good elasticity maybe candidates for a shorter incision whereas others may need a longer incision to achieve similar skin tightening. Its best to discuss incision placement and contemplated length with your surgeon prior to your arm lift. 

Jason S. Cooper, MD
Jupiter Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Extended Arm Lift Incision Placement

         The incision is typically placed on the inner aspect of the arm to hide the scar in casual activity.  A slightly posterior scar is a variation as well.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Location of upper arm scars in arm lift

The location of the scar is generally anywhere from mid inner arm when arms are held outstretched to the lower edge.  The goal is to get the excess skin off, restore a pleasing and balanced contour to the upper arm and have the scar heal nicely, being inconspicuous as possible.  Different doctors have different preferences and most will individualize to the patient.  Either way, it is preferable to not have the scar visible at all when the arms are hanging at the sides

Marialyn Sardo, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Arm incisions.

Great question. Over the years, I have switched to a more posterior approach because it seems to hide better and work better for most of my patients. Given that lots of my arm lift patients have lost a great deal of weight and have most of the excess in the back area, it makes sense for them to do it this way. I recommend that your sister review with the plastic surgeon the rationale for the posterior incision and I'm sure she will feel better. Good luck.

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 201 reviews

Armlift Incision Placement Varies

The most common location of the incision after an armlift is either inside the arm or the back of the arm.  It is patient and surgeon's preference.  My personal choice is the low-anterior incision as it is well hidden in the shadows of the arm and does a good job of correcting the elbow and armpit skin excess. Unfortunately, once the scar location choicec is made the result is permanent.  Advocates of the medial or low anterior placement point to the good scar quality and coverage when the arms are in the normal position at your sides. They also prefer this incision because the scar is not visible from behind with arms at the side as is common with the posterior incision.  Postop photos look better with the posterior incision, but there isn't much reason to place the scars there from a surgical standpoint.

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Arm Lifting ( Brachioplasty) Scars?

Thank you for the question.

You will find that there are very many different ways  that plastic surgeons do specific operations. Furthermore, the location of resulting scars after arm lifting surgery will vary from one practitioner to another. To complicate things even further, sometimes scars  end up in a location where the plastic surgeon was not planning/hoping the scar  would end up.

 In my practice, I try to have the arm lifting scar end up at the very bottom of the upper arm ( when the patient's arm is lifted perpendicular to her torso).  I think that this scar will be less visible than if it is placed in the “bicipital groove” between the biceps and triceps or on the back of the arm. Again, my goal is to have the scar not be visible from the front or back views when the patient's arms are by her sides.

 I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 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.