If you receive an arm lift, do you have to get the long cut?

Doctor Answers 15

Brachioplasty scar.

Thanks for your question.  Unfortunately, in arm lift surgery the length of the scar is usually determined by the amount of loose skin. The more loose skin the usually the longer the scar. 

While there are short scar brachioplasties they tend to do little compared to the standard.  Be sure the operation is correct for you and one that you really want because it is one of the harder scars to predict and hide in plastic surgery.

I have attached a link as well.  Hope it is helpful.

Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

The length of a brachioplasty scar

In almost all situations, scar needs to go from the armpit elbow to achieve the best correction. There are other scar patterns, but these usually produce very mediocre results.

Ira H. Rex lll, MD
Fall River Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Long Cut for Arm Surgery?

Hello, Thank you for the question. This operation requires to make long cuts through the skin and, therefore, the patient will be left with long scars after the surgery. Scars may run from the armpit to the elbow.
There is quite a severe amount of pain and discomfort during the healing process which will require pain relief; recovery usually takes one to two weeks. Good Luck on your Upcoming Surgery!!!!!

Keith S. Berman, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Arm lift incision

Thanks for your question.  The incision that you will need will depend on how much excess skin that you have as well as the location of the excess skin.  For a mini-brachioplasty (arm lift), your incision can be placed in the underarm area only.  However, a majority of patients coming into my practice need the full incision that runs down the inside part of the upper arm and sometimes down onto the outside chest wall.  I recommend that you see a qualified plastic surgeon to figure out the best option for you.  Best of luck to you.  

Jeffrey G. Lind II, MD
The Woodlands General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Brachioplasty or arm lift incision

Thanks for the question.  The length and type of scar is predicated predominantly on the amount and degree of skin laxity in the upper arm.  The more excess skin, the longer the incision typically. Ultimately, a surgeon could give you an accurate prediction of the best incision for you based on your examination.  Good luck!

Charles Galanis, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews


If the loose skin and fat is along the whole upper arm then an excision of that area will usually result in a scar from the armpit to the elbow. If the loose area is only in the upper arm a shorter scar is possible. 

Richard Zienowicz, MD
Providence Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Arm lift scar

It really depends on how much extra tissue you have and how concerned you are with scarring versus contour.  A longer scar allows you to achieve a better contour, but some patients will sacrifice contour for a shorter scar that can be hidden in the underarm.  

B. Aviva Preminger, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Treatment of Each Patient is Different

The optimal choice in arm tightening procedures depends on the amount of fat in the upper arm and the amount of excess skin present.  Fatty arms may be bet treated with laser-assisted liposuction where the heat generated at the time of fat removal can tighten excess skin.  When there is more skin, a minimally-incision brachioplasty can be performed, removing a small amount of extra skin in the under arm, as well as the upper arm.  When there is excessive skin, a long-incision brachioplasty is the best way to get the best arm contour.  The scar is initially very visible, but with laser treatments, it becomes barely noticeable.

Marisa Lawrence, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Scar length

It does depend on the deformity.  If you have significant upper arm laxity, then...yes...I would suggest the full incision.

Think of it this way.  If you try to cut corners on the incision length, you could be left with an under-correction or a dog ear, which defeats the purpose of the intervention.

I would take a good look at what you want accomplished.  If it is a significant deformity, I find that patients are happier with the scar than a secondary aesthetic deformity.  If the deformity is really minor, you may want to rethink the intervention entirely.

Mark A. Brzezienski, MS, MD, FACS
Chattanooga Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Scar length for arm lift

The length of the scar will depend upon how much skin needs to be removed.  The greater the amount of loose skin, the longer the incision.  The length of incision best for you can be determined by a visit to a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for an evaluation.
While it is tempting to opt for a smaller scar, it is important to remember that you want to get the best results from your surgical efforts.  Smaller incisions will effect the extent of the result.

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 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.