Scarring from Body Lift

I have excess skin due to massive weight loss and it is recommended that I get a body lift. I did not have any surgeries, but was on medication for obesity and am insulin resistant. I am concerned about scarring on my arms. Any advice on what I can expect regarding scarring?

Doctor Answers 28

Scarring with a Body lift

Thank you for your question.   Scarring is a common concern with any plastic surgery procedure.   In order to provide an improved contour and shape, a scar will be necessary.   

In areas such as the arms, scars are difficult to hide.   This is where before/after photos and a discussion of realistic expectations with your surgeon are of utmost importance.  

I would not recommend surgery to your arms, unless you clearly feel the benefits of skin removal outweigh your concerns of scarring.    In many cases, these issues make more sense over time.   You may want to consider addressing the other areas first, and then see how you feel about your arms at the end.  I imagine you will think differently after seeing the changes elsewhere.

I wish you a safe recovery and fantastic result.

Dr. Gill

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Scarring with a Body Lift

Scaring can be a concern for patients but incisions can be strategically placed to blend in with the body’s natural folds or by clothing. The length of the incision will vary depending upon the location and the amount of fat being removed from the arms. I would recommend scheduling a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss your cosmetic concerns and options.

Scott Chapin, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews


He has a very legitimate concern regarding scarring on the upper extremities.  In my experience the brachioplasty incision is the most likely incision to form was called hypertrophic scarring.  This can be thickened painful and/or itching.  We can certainly do some things in the immediate postoperative period to help improve the likelihood of this not occurring.  But I do quote my patients approximately a 30% chance of thickening scars.  Most patients depending on the amount of skin that is sagging and requiring removal would trade the scarring for the skin laxity

Scarring is multivariable

Dear Charina:
Scarring is multivariable. It depends on your skin color, maximum weight loss, age, and genetics, to name just a few. Other factors that impact your scar include the surgical technique, tension of the wound and sutures used. Postoperative events that can positively impact scars and make them look better include application of compression, application of silicon strips, and application of scar creams containing silicon. Scars can also be revised if they are unacceptable though this has been extremely rare in my practice. If scars need to be revised, they can perhaps be lasered, or even the scar directly excised. Arm scars usually are well-tolerated amongst my weight loss patients. Almost all of my patients would rather get rid of the excess skin inside of their arms and live with the scar than forever live with the excess skin trapped at the arms.
Body lift scars around the center of your abdomen, hips and buttocks also heal very well. Again, very few of my body lift patients have needed scar revisions, but the options mentioned above are available should it be necessary.
Please view link for more pictures of arm lifts and body lifts.
Thank you,
Dr.J Timothy Katzen, M.D.

Body Lift Scarring

It's not unusual for patients to be concerned about scarring following massive weight loss surgery. It's safe to say that it's impossible to perform this type of surgery without scarring. These operations trade stretch marks, loose skin, and weakened muscles for a scar that's, hopefully, well positioned. The patient's unique anatomy will have a profound impact upon scar placement. Each patient is unique and it's, therefore, essential to have good communication between the patient and surgeon. I find it very helpful to perform pre-operative markings to minimize confusion regarding incision placement.

Even when extreme care is taken, wound healing problems may still occur. It's important to realize that wound healing is a dynamic process which varies from patient to patient. For these reasons, scars may take over a year to reach maturity. When scars are less than optimal, scar revision may be necessary and this usually results in a satisfied patient.

Lower Bodylift Scar

The lower bodylift surgery is essentially an abdominoplasty scar in the front, plus the same type of scar in the lower back.  The surgery is circumferential (Tummy tuck in the front, thighlift on the sides and buttocklift in the back) and the scar is placed as low as possible to anatomically best contour the body, while keeping the eventual scar hidden in bikini bottoms or underwear. Dr. B

Ramin Behmand, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews


Congratulations on your weight loss!  I recommend all of my weight loss patients achieve their goal weight before having any cosmetic procedure.  Significant weight changes can alter the results of your body contouring procedure and increase the risk of needing additional procedures at some point.  In regards to your question about scarring, unfortunately with any surgery there is going to be scar.  How that scar will look over time depends on your body.  For my arm lift patients I place the incision along the natural crease of the inner arm to help hide the incision.  If down the road you are not happy with the scar a scar revision might be a possibility down the road.  However, I recommend my patients wait at least 6 months before having a scar revision.  I also make sure that my patients understand that even after a scar revision there will still be scar.  The goal for a scar revision is to make the scar less visible and more pleasing to the eye not to remove it completely.  Be sure to research only board certified plastic surgeons with experience treating massive weight loss patients.

Be well and good luck!


Scars after a body lift

The scar following a body lift typically goes all the way around the body at the top of the hips, pubic hair line and top of the buttock.  An arm lift is also called a brachioplasty.  It involves a scar that runs along the inside of the arm from elbow to arm pit. 

Arm lifting and scars

You are smart to be concerned about the scars associate with this procedure- they do tend to spread  or experience pigment change. Scar revision surgery is often necessary/helpful.  Planning of the excision is critical- the resulting scar should be as hidden as possible. Personally, I think this scar is least visible when it ends up on the inferior (bottom) of the arm as opposed to the bicipital groove (between the biceps and triceps muscles).

Only you can determine if the improvement of the contour of the arms is worth the trade-off of the scar  In your case.

I hope this helps.

Body Lift

Plastic surgery after weight loss is a tread off between scar versus contour improvement.  I have done many lower and total body lift surgeries and virtually all patients have been very happy with their decision.  However, you need to select a plastic surgeon who specializes in this filed since your results ultimately depends on the selected surgeon.  Below is a link of before and after pictures of my body lift patients.

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.