How Visible Are Arm Lift Scars?

How Visible Are Arm Lift Scars?

People who’ve lost significant weight often have loose, sagging skin, especially on the upper arms. The ageing process can also lead to sagging skin on the upper arms. ‘Bingo wings’, as they are often referred to, can make you self-conscious about wearing short-sleeved clothes in public. Surgery is effective at addressing “bingo wings”. It’s normal to worry about arm lift scars; here’s what you need to know. 

What is An Arm Lift and What Does It Involve?

An arm lift or brachioplasty is a cosmetic procedure that helps eliminate excess skin and fat on the upper arms, usually between the elbow and the armpit. The saggy skin develops primarily due to the ageing process or after significant weight loss. The procedure helps contour the arms by removing bingo wings and tightening the skin to produce a more toned look. 

Often an arm lift will be combined with liposuction to remove excess fat and tighten the skin. Depending on how much fat and excess skin need removal, the surgeon can take three approaches:

  • A mini arm lift involves making a vertical incision along the underarm. It is ideal for people with mild skin laxity. 
  • An upper arm lift involves a horizontal incision extending between the elbow and the underarm. It is recommended for patients with mild to moderate skin sagging. 
  • An extended arm lift involves the surgeon making an incision that runs beyond the elbow to the chest. The procedure is ideal for those with severe skin sagging in the whole arm, usually due to significant weight loss. 

How Visible are Brachioplasty Scars?

The scar’s appearance will depend on the extent of the procedure and the amount of loose skin. Usually, when a traditional arm lift is involved where the surgeon needs to remove excess skin from the entire arm, it’s impossible to perform it without leaving scars. 

Plastic surgeons use advanced techniques to minimise the visibility of the scar. Your surgeon may make the incision between your biceps and triceps muscles, usually on the inside of your upper arm, so the scar remains hidden most of the time. However, the scar will be visible when you raise your arms above your head. 

In the case of excess saggy skin on the trunk, the surgeon will perform an extended arm lift where the scar is placed in the groove between your triceps and biceps but extends to the armpit. The scar will be longer but well hidden in the armpit. If you only have excess skin where the arm meets the trunk but not on the arm itself, the surgeon will hide the scar within the armpit. You won’t have a scar along your arm’s length. 

How Can You Minimise the Appearance of Arm Lift Scars?

After the procedure, you will have sutures running the entire length of your arm from your elbow to the armpit. The area will look red, swollen and raised. As time goes on, the scar will fade, flatten and become less visible. Usually, arm lift scars begin fading after one year. The good news is that you can take measures to minimise the appearance of scars. 

Follow Your Surgeon’s Post-Operative Instructions 

How your scar looks years down the line is determined by what you do immediately after surgery. Your surgeon will send you home with instructions on how to care for the wound as you recover. Follow them to minimise your risk of infection and other complications that could lead to worse scarring. 

Topical Scar Treatments 

You can use topical creams and lotions to lessen the appearance of arm lift scars. Your plastic surgeon will advise on what will work best for your case. Some of the topical treatments include silicone strips and scar cream.  


Microneedling is an effective treatment for wrinkles, large pores, stretch marks and scars. The treatment helps jump-start collagen production in the body resulting in flatter and softer scars. 

If you’ve lost significant weight or the effects of ageing are already taking a toll and have left you with sagging skin, an arm lift can help tone your body for a more youthful appearance. Book an appointment today at the Harley Clinic to discuss your treatment options.

In the meantime, consider checking out our ultimate guide on Plastic Surgery Statistics to learn what is new in the world of cosmetic surgery. 

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