For many women, the upper arms can be a major source of insecurity. Sagging skin, loss of tone, and excess fat in the upper arms, medically termed “bat wings”, can make the prospect of going sleeveless unappealing. But there is a solution – brachioplasty. This arm lift surgery trims away excess skin and fat to restore a smooth, toned contour to the upper arms.
However, improvement comes at the price of scarring along the inner arm from elbow to armpit. Here’s what to expect when it comes to brachioplasty scars.
How does a 1 year arm lift scar look like?
One year post-op, the scar from a brachioplasty procedure has typically faded to a barely noticeable thin white line. A study in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found that on average, brachioplasty scars measured just 2.2 mm in width at one year post-op. At the 1 year mark, the scar is often pale, flattened, and about 2-3 mm wide. Some patients may have a pencil-thin, faintly visible scar after 1 year.
But keep in mind, the scar is still maturing at this point and continues to refine and improve up to 2 years as collagen remodeling occurs. Overall, brachioplasty scars become progressively thinner and less apparent over time. But factors like skin type, age, and genetics impact the long-term scar appearance.
What is brachioplasty scar revision?
Scar revision is a procedure to improve the appearance of scars from brachioplasty. It is typically done at least one year after the initial surgery to allow the scar to fully heal. Scar revision techniques include laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, scar excision, cortisone injections, and other methods to reduce visible scarring.
Scar revision can minimize thick, raised scars, and lighten or smooth out darkened or uneven scars. But only small problematic portions of the scar may need revision rather than the entire length. Discuss scar revision options with your plastic surgeon if you are concerned with the scar’s appearance.
How to care for scar from brachioplasty?
Proper care after brachioplasty can help minimize scarring:
- Gentle daily moisturizing for 6-12 months helps scars heal smoothly and fade over time
- Silicone scar sheets worn regularly can flatten and soften the scar
- Avoid direct sun exposure on the fresh scar for at least 12 months
- Massage the scar with lotion using firm pressure to prevent contracture
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions for scar care and check in on the healing progress
What does an arm lift scar under armpit look like?
For a complete brachioplasty procedure, the scar extends into the armpit crease. This allows for excision of excess skin and fat closest to the underarm area that commonly forms “bat wings”. The scar curves up from the elbow and into the inner fold of the armpit, following the natural contours of the arm.
When standing naturally with arms at your sides, the scar along the armpit is fairly well hidden and not very noticeable. However, with arms lifted it becomes more visible. The scar tissue under the arm may feel numb or tender for many months after surgery as nerve endings regenerate.
A full arm lift may have the incision extend even further into the armpit to address laxity in the uppermost portion of the arm.
How to hide arm lift scars?
Although brachioplasty scars fade significantly, some patients wish to conceal the remaining evidence of surgery. Here are a few techniques to minimize the visibility of arm lift scars:
- Use makeup products like concealers and foundation matched to your skin tone to camouflage the scar
- Wear clothes with sleeves that cover the upper arm and scar when desired
- Consider tattooing over the scar once fully healed, using ink that matches your complexion
- Use over-the-counter topical scar creams containing ingredients like silicone or vitamin E
- Apply sunscreen regularly to prevent hyperpigmentation if the scar must be exposed
- Try self-adhesive bandages that match skin tone to conceal scar
What is the best treatment for arm tuck scar?
If brachioplasty scars become raised, thickened, or discolored, there are treatments that can improve their appearance:
- Cortisone injections treat scar inflammation and reduce thickness
- Laser resurfacing smoothes texture and blends color for flatter, whiter scars
- Dermabrasion evens out the surface of rough, uneven scars
- Microneedling and radiation therapy can improve scar discoloration
- Discuss options with your doctor to find the best solution for your scar concerns
How long does an arm lift scar take to heal?
Arm lift scars go through several healing phases:
- Initially scars will be sutured and extremely delicate for 2-3 weeks post-surgery
- Scars remain reddish and may be slightly raised for a few months as collagen remodeling begins
- Moderate activity should be avoided for 6 weeks post-op to protect the incisions while they heal
- Scars gradually flatten and fade over the next year as they continue to mature
- Full maturation takes up to 2 years, with scars getting thinner and whiter over time
- Individual factors affect healing – older patients may need more time for scars to improve
|Initial healing||2-3 weeks||Scars sutured, extremely delicate|
|Early remodeling||3-6 months||Scars reddish, may be slightly raised|
|Maturation||6 months – 1 year||Scars flatten and start to fade in color|
|Late remodeling||1-2 years||Scars continue to refine an|
Some degree of scarring is unavoidable with brachioplasty. But scars do fade significantly over time with proper wound care, sun protection, and scar treatments as needed.
Work closely with your plastic surgeon to understand and optimize the incisions to reduce visible scarring. While the scars may never disappear entirely, the dramatically improved arm contours are often a worthwhile trade-off.
Achieve Sleek, Toned Arms with Brachioplasty in NYC
As an expert plastic surgeon dual board-certified in aesthetic and craniofacial surgery, Dr. Darren Smith understands the precision artistry and skill involved in brachioplasty procedures. He has helped hundreds of patients sculpt beautifully contoured arms they can finally feel confident about.
During a brachioplasty, excess skin and fat is removed from the upper arms through carefully planned incisions. This allows the remaining skin to be tightened for smoother, firmer, and more toned arms. While some visible scarring will result, Dr. Smith utilizes meticulous techniques to minimize this.
The benefits you’ll receive from brachioplasty include:
- A slimmer, more sculpted arm profile
- Smoother skin without looseness or sagging
- Improved ability to wear short sleeves and sleeveless tops
- A boost in confidence and self-assurance
- Long-lasting, natural-looking results
Dr. Smith customizes every brachioplasty to match each patient’s unique goals. He’ll work with you to determine the optimal approach, whether that’s a mini-brachioplasty concentrating on the upper arms or a complete brachioplasty extending down to the elbows.