I had upper arm surgery 3 weeks ago and it is puckered below the wound on the R arm. Can time help?

I am leaving the US for 2 months and do not want to bother my surgeon if this is just a case of time

Doctor Answers 8

Brachioplasty and arm scars

It takes up to 18 months to see the maximal improvement of your scar.  It is normal to have some puckering at the end of the incision and along the incision where the deep (dermal) sutures are placed.  As the sutures dissolve then this puckering usually improves.  Massaging the incision a couple of times per day can help with speeding up the process.  It takes about 3-4 months for most dissolvable (deep) sutures to dissolve by the process of hydrolysis.  If you have any major concerns, then you should contact your surgeon, but the puckering will improve with time.

Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews


Keep in contact with your PS even by email. Massage will help and the bulky ends of the scars that are often called dog ears will improve with time. It can take 12-18 months for scars to settle but you are best to keep in touch with your PS.

Gary L. Ross, MBChB, FRCS
Manchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 168 reviews

Puckering around the incision after brachioplasty

Hi - thanks for your question. Any post-surgical incision can have puckering, and especially in the arm where the skin is thinner, this can readily happen. Fortunately the puckering rarely persists after 4-6 weeks, sometimes a little longer. Check with your surgeon regarding when he/she recommends you start scar massage, as this can help. Also, sometimes the puckering is due to the sutures, and these are often absorbable, so you'll notice an improvement as the sutures dissolve. 

Tracy Kayan, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Scarring after brachioplasty

Since it has only been three weeks after your arm surgery observation and treatment of the scar with silicone strips and pressure therapy will be your best friend.  Over 90% of puckering alleviates with observation. In my practice, we also perform laser resurfacing to help eradicate scars. We perform this at no additional charge. Alternatively, we are very excited to perform no incision arm lift surgery using SmartLipo 

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews


It is not uncommon to have this in the early stage of healing.  Time and scar massage will help. 

Follow closely with your surgeon leading up to your departure. 

Best of luck

J. Brad Turner, MD
Lexington Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

I had upper arm surgery 3 weeks ago and it is puckered

This soon after surgery, it is always a good idea to check in with your surgeon before a long trip, especially out of the country and away from normal access to health care. This could be an actual visit with your surgeon, or even simply a quick phone call for your surgeon to hear about your progress, make sure there is nothing concerning, and answer your questions. You should never feel like you are bothering your surgeon when you have questions or concerns; this is true any time, but especially this early and before a trip.

As far as puckering and whether time will help -- for body procedures like an arm lift, I generally tell my patients to give it at least 3 to 6 months before evaluating results and thinking about revisions. Even then, scars may continue to mature as long as a year or more. Often, time does help as your body heals. But even in situations where time does not or will not help, it is generally a good idea to wait 3 to 6 months before considering any revisions.

Specifically regarding puckering -- it is difficult to tell without a photo what kind of puckering you are referring to. However, there are certainly some forms of puckering that is "normal" at 3 weeks and that should resolve. And puckering that is not normal and doesn't resolve is often relatively easy to revise at a later time.

Johnny T. Chang, MD
Los Altos Plastic Surgeon

Arm surgery

All surgeries need time to settle and heal.  Close follow up with your plastic surgeon weeks before you leave is recommended.

Harry T. Haramis, MD, FACS
Montclair Plastic Surgeon
3.7 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Puckering around arm following brachioplasty

It is still early days. The puckering should improve with time. Keep on the massage therapy and if you have an
arm garment that should come in handy too.

Ivo Gwanmesia, FRCS(Plast)
London Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 32 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.