Arm Lifts Grow In Popularity – From USA Today

From today’s USA Today:

“Arm lifts” have become one of the fastest-growing varieties of plastic surgery, a new study shows.

More than 15,000 women underwent an arm lift in 2012, an increase of more than 4,000% since 2000, according to a report out Monday from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The popularity of the procedures isn’t driven by a desire to look as good as Michelle Obama does in a sleeveless sheath.

Instead, the surgeries are growing because more people are losing massive amounts of weight, usually through obesity surgery, says David Reath, a plastic surgeon in Knoxville, Tenn., and chairman of the public education committee for the plastic surgeon society.

About 200,000 Americans a year undergo some kind of weight-loss procedure, such as gastric bypass, says Jack Fisher, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, from Nashville.

While surgery can help people lose weight and fat, it doesn’t decrease the amount of skin, Reath says. People who lose 100 pounds or more can be left with a lot of extra skin.

“Once skin is stretched out, it becomes like a broken rubber band,” Fisher says. “Even when you lose weight, the skin doesn’t go back to its normal shape.”

The number of cosmetic surgeries increased by 3% last year, to nearly 1.7 million,  according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. When non-surgical options such as botox injections are included, Americans had more than 10 million cosmetic procedures last year.

Arm lifts aren’t for everyone.

The surgeries can cost $5,000 or more out-of-pocket, Fisher says. And they leave patients with a scar that stretches from their elbow to their armpit.

The problem with the arm lift (aka brachioplasty) is that it leaves a long scar that extends from elbow to armpit.  The scar is visible when you wave at someone and lift your arm up.  For this reason, it’s usually reserved for people with a lot of excess skin, such as massive weight loss patients.  It’s typically combined with liposuction for an optimal result.

For the rest of the USA Today article, click HERE.

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Posted in: Plastic Surgery News


  1. As with any excisional body contouring, the scar is alway the trade off. Whether it’s a mastopexy,abdominoplasty, or brachioplasty the scar is the trade off for improved body contour. If done correctly, the brachioplasty scar just like the medial thigh lift scar can be quite acceptable particularly if performed by a plastic surgeon who does these procedures frequently. My patients are typically elated by the significant contour improvement and are quite accepting of the scars. As you have reiterated time and time again, patients need to do their homework in choosing a surgeon to assure that their realistic expectations are fulfilled. For me, what is worse than the scar is a patient who was sold on a procedure that clearly was destined to fail by a surgeon who obviously did not know what he/ she was doing.

    Comment by Dr Hainer on May 1, 2013 at 3:10 am

  2. I totally agree. I couldn’t imagine the disaster that could occur if you get a poorly-trained, cosmetic doctor performing a brachioplasty.

    Comment by Editor on May 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm

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