Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in elbow lift surgery. In reading online one of the surgeons on there said: “Realize that a scar on the elbow does not heal very well. The scars tend to go wide as the area bends so much and separates the scar.” Is this true even if I take say a month and don’t bend my arm all the way? Another wrote: “I have found a combination of Sculptra and radiofrequency treatments like Venus legacy and Thermage help increase the tightening in this area. Fractional laser like Fraxel added, can help increase collagen as well.”
What’s your experience been with those modalities?
A:The key to a successful elbow lift is ultimately how the scar does as one does not want to tradeoff one aesthetic problem for another. The key to a limited width elbow scar from a lift is the zone of excision, where it is placed and how much is removed. This is determining by preoperative markings with the elbow in BOTH extended and 90 degree flexed positions. If the surgeon only takes into consideration the amount of tissue removed in the extended position, it will be too much and a wide scar will result. It is first marked in the extended arm position and then checked and reduced in the flexed position so not too much skin is removed and tension is placed on the wound closure. This is a basic plastic surgery concept but often overlooked. The name of the game is maximal skin removal with the best scar result. In aesthetic surgery the scar result takes precedence over the maximum skin removed.
For excess skin around the knees, and any joint for that matter, non-surgical modalities will be only of benefit to the provider of them. While most of these non-surgical treatments are largely harmless, only surgical excision can really get rid of loose skin just above the elbow
Dr. Barry Eppley