In 2012, over 15,000 upper arm lifts were performed across the U.S., an increase from just 300 in 2000, according to the report released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
An upper arm lift, commonly known as brachioplasty, is a surgical procedure that changes the shape of the under part of the upper arm - from the underarm region to the elbow.
Weight gain and loss, growing older, and even heredity can result in the upper arm sagging or drooping in appearance. Exercise can strengthen and improve the muscle tone of the upper arm, however, it cannot treat excess skin that has lost elasticity or weakened tissues and fat deposits in the arm.
ASPS President Gregory Evans, MD, explained:
"Women are paying more attention to their arms in general and are becoming more aware of options to treat this area. For some women, the arms have always been a troublesome area and, along with proper diet and exercise, liposuction can help refine them. Others may opt for a brachioplasty when there is a fair amount of loose skin present with minimal elasticity."
Doctors point out that there is not one reason for the recent the rise, except that women are now paying attention to the arms of female celebrities more. According to a recent poll, women desired the arms of first lady Michelle Obama, followed by actress Jennifer Aniston.
An upper arm lift generally costs between $6,000 and $8,000. One drawback to the procedure is that it leaves a scar on the upper arm.
ASPS Public Education Committee Chair David Reath, MD, based in Knoxville, Tenn. explained, "It's a trade off. We get rid of the skin, but we leave a scar. So, as long as there's enough improvement to be made in the shape of the arm to justify the scar, then it's a great procedure."
The procedure that documented the greatest reduction between 2011 and 2012 was butt lifts. Buttock implant procedures fell 25%, while buttock lifts decreased 36%.
The report also revealed that among men, chest reduction procedures became more popular. The increase was just 4%, but the rise was seen across all age groups - a surprising find, according to the authors.
The most prevalent surgical procedure performed in 2012 was breast augmentation, however, the total number of breast augmentation procedures fell by 7%. Liposuction also documented a decline in 2012.
The ASPS' report from last year suggested that plastic surgeries were still on the rise despite a slow growing economy. The report documented 13.8 million plastic surgery procedures performed in 2011, an increase of 5% from 2010.
Written by Kelly Fitzgerald