What to Do with "Bunching" of the Skin After Arm Surgery? (photo)

It looks like a pulled thread. and is slightly raised...During my 6 week follow up my PS said it would go away, but it doesn't appear that's going to happen. Looks like a trip out of state to have it repaired, any advise?

Doctor Answers 11

Scar following arm lift

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Hi AZDee. Csarring after arm lift is unfortunately not uncommon. At this point in time I would suggest waiting anywhere from 3-9 months to see what happens. In the interim I would use massaging techniques and silicone patches to try break down the scar. Unfortunately the pattern of scarring that you have may not respond to conservative care and may require revision surgery. One of the reasons why I place my scars posteriorly is to try to prevent such scarring. The drawback to a posterior incision however is it can be seen from the back. Try to be patient as I previously said and give it time to settle down.

San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

What to Do with "Bunching" of the Skin After Arm Surgery?

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Thank you for the question and pictures. Your concerns are understandable. The “band” that you demonstrate is a result of the arm lifting procedure. Because of the skin removed during the procedure there is tension in the area of banding when your arm is flexed. At this point, I would not suggest surgical intervention; I would agree with your plastic surgeon that ongoing time and possibly massage of the relatively tight area may be helpful.

Best wishes.

Post-op scar pulling may cause skin folds after brachioplasty

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It looks like the longitudinal scar is starting to pull and may be pulling on the adjacent skin, which is folding.  It's like pulling up a balloon shade in how that folds with the scar being the rope of the shade.  If this is worse than the first few weeks, some aggressive scar massage to get some stretch of the scar to release this tethering.  If it is better than it was there is a good chance this will improve as it matures.  Your scar looks a bit wide and pink-red, so some BBL/IPL may decrease the redness and soften the scar by decreasing its circulation.  

Myles Goldflies, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Arm lift

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Hard to tell from this picture but it does look like it is early in your healing process. Waiting a few more months and trying some scar therapy should help smooth things out


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I would talk to your PS about scar massage therapy as much of this well get better with time.  Best wishes.

Scarring after arm lift

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Hi. Whenever a large amount of excess skin is removed, from arm, thigh or any part of the body for that .matter, there is always going to be a bit of 'bunching' of skin at the two ends of the scar. This is to avoid the ends of the scar sticking out (known as a 'dog ear' or standing cone). This bunching up settles with time, but may take months depending on how much skin was removed. If the scar has not flattened after 12 months, a small scar revision may be needed.

Anindya Lahiri, FRCS (Plast)
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon

Scars tend to look their worse at 6-8 weeks

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Hello AZDEE,

Your scar will likely improve with time.  Scars usually look their worse around this time and he better with time.  Massage. Time, and silicone tape might help.  I would definitely way longer to assess the final appearance of your arm lift incisions.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Lines and wrinkles after arm lift.

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Hello and thanks for your post. If you're out from surgery less than a year, it might not be a good idea to do a revision on the scar at this point. You should talk to your PS about any other modalities to use on the skin before then. Best wishes, Dr. Aldo.

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 216 reviews

What to Do with "Bunching" of the Skin After Arm Surgery?

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           It would be helpful to examine you and see preoperative photos.  At 6 weeks you will still have remodeling that will occur for another couple of months or so.  Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of body contouring procedures each year.  Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Scarring Following Brachioplasty

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Unfortunately, gathering of the wound margins can sometimes occur when patients have large amounts of skin removed during brachioplasty. This bunching occurs when surgeons intentionally avoid extending the incision beyond the axilla and elbow to avoid secondary complications.

Although these scars can be very noticeable in the immediate post-operative period, they tend to improve with the passage of time. It's important to understand that wound healing is a dynamic process that continues for over 12 to 18 months following surgery. During this time, wounds remodel and scars soften and lose their redness.

This process can be facilitated with a variety of maneuvers designed to avoid tension on the wound closure. Examples include steristrips, silicone sheeting and compression garments. Massage with a variety of topical agents has also been shown to be helpful. Rarely, if these steps are unsuccessful, secondary scar revision may be necessary.

If you're concerned about scarring following brachioplasty, you should contact your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your concerns.

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.