How to Correct Poor Mini Arm Lift Results?

I had a mini arm lift and now have a web between the chest and upper arm! Not only was the procedure ineffective, the skin pulls between the side of the chest wall and arm to create a web when the arm is raised. It is also uncomfortable as it pulls. Can this be corrected with a full brachioplasty? If not, what can be done to correct this?

Doctor Answers 13

Mini Arm Lift V.S. Full Arm lift (brachioplasty)

Hi,  Based on your description, this will require a combination of procedures,

  • Full arm lift or Brachioplasty,
  • Reconstruction of the axilla (armpit by rearranging tissues such as Z plasty)
  • Bringing tissues form the arm to correct the webbing and tissue pulling

Hope this was helpful.

Dr. Sajjadian

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

Management Of Axillary Webbing

Surgery performed near joint surfaces should always be approached with extreme caution. Procedures in this area can lead to scarring across joints and this can result in limited range of motion.

Under these circumstances, conversion of your mini arm lift to a full arm lift might significantly improve your aesthetic result. This procedure has the potential to address excess skin in multiple dimensions. Unfortunately, this maneuver would have no impact upon your axillary webbing.

When this situation arises, a variety of treatment options are available to treat this deformity. In most cases, local rearrangement of tissue is necessary to remove the axillary scar web. In the majority of cases, this is accomplished with a procedure known as a z-plasty.

Patients who have axillary webbing following brachioplasty should consult their plastic surgeon. Their surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses this anatomic deformity and ultimately improves range of motion.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Revision of an arm lift surgery

Really, I would need to see you or your photos to tell you exactly what's happened, and how to fix it.  You may need a scar revision with a Z-plasty, or you might need a full brachioplasty.  Overall, I'm not a fan of the short-scar brachioplasty operation - it's rare to see a good result with it, as it only treats the upper third of the arm.


All the best,

Thomas Fiala, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 79 reviews


I am not a big fan of a mini-brachioplasty.  Most patietns are better off with a full brachioplasty except that they do not want the long incision.  Without an exam I do not know what to suggest to you.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Mini-brachioplasty like most "mini" operations are usually disappointing.

It sounds like a mini-brachioplasty was not the right choice of procedure for your problem (I am presuming much here).  Like most "mini" operations, only the occasional patient is a good candidate.  Revisit your surgeon and discuss a solution.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Mini-Brachioplasty: Not the Magic Bullet

Based upon your description of the outcome of your surgery, a Full Brachioplasty, rather than a Mini Brachioplasty was the procedure of choice for you. A Mini-Brachioplasty is best used when the upper 1/3 of the upper arm has skin laxity limited to the long axis (shoulder to elbow distance) of the arm. It is a procedure that reduces excess skin in only one dimension, even when combined with liposuction. Only a Full Brachioplasty combined with liposuction can deduce both the diameter (size of the arm to fit into a short sleeve shirt) and shorten the length of the hanging upper arm skin: A 3-D Sculpting of the Upper Arm.

Treatments for the webbing of the under arm scar such as Z-Plasty Scar Revision and Kenalog (steroid injections) are stop gap treatments until you can proceed with a surgical revision to a Full Brachioplasty. Discuss your problems and concerns with your Plastic Surgeon so that she/he can help you achieve the outcome that you desire.

Christopher D. Prevel, MD (retired)
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Mini Brachioplasty

Liposuction of the arms may be combined with a mini brachioplasty (mini arm lift). The purpose of the mini arm lift is to tighten the skin of the inner one third of the arm. A relatively small group of patients are candidates for this procedure. The formation of bands in the armpit and upper lateral chest is relatively frequent in the early post-operative period, as is a limited range of motion. I generally recommend starting range of motion exercises and message about 3 weeks post-operatively. This can be supplemented with physical therapy, ultrasound treatments, and micro injection of  an anti-inflammatory steroid (Kenalog). The bands generally resolve with this conservative treatment. If there is persistent limitation in the range of motion, or webbing in the axilla, a release of the scar in the form of a Z-plasty may be in order. If there is still a great deal of skin laxity, a full brachioplasty may be required. Discuss your concerns with your Plastic surgeon. I hope this helps.

Andrew T. Lyos, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Mini-procedures often mean mini-results

It sounds like you would benefit from a full brachioplasty.  Many women don't want the long scar associated with this surgery, though, so the surgeon compromises and does a "mini" version of the brachioplasty.  Most women are NOT great candidates for a mini-brachioplasty, though, just has most women aren't great candidates for mini-tummy tuck, etc.  Have the procedure that will give you the results you want--don't compromise.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Mini Brachioplasty vs Full Brachioplasty

Different options are available for you.  Either a scar contracture release can be performed like a z plasty or the surgery can be converted to a full brachioplasty which will improve the results of the skin tightening in the arm even more.

Hope that helps.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Mini arm lift revisions are problems

The mini arm lift is a good procedure for a small subset of woman with arm laxity limited to the upper 1/3 of the upper arm. It tough to make recommendations based on your description alone- but if you feel that the 'band' limits your arm mobility, then a local tissue rearrangement flap like a Z-plasty might be able to lengthen the scar across the armpit area.

Scott C. Sattler, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 65 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.