Sleeveless Fashion, Surgical Solution

Survey reveals explosive growth in the popularity of upper-arm liposuction and brachioplasty among women.

Using data from an online poll by Harris Interactive conducted from March 28-April 1, 2013, among 1,219 women, aged 18 and older, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has determined upper-arm liposuction and brachioplasty (surgery that removes loose skin from the back of the arms, also called “arm lift”) among women has exploded. The number of women undergoing upper arm plastic surgeries grew 4,378% in slightly more than ten years. In 2000, approximately 300 women had upper arm lift procedures. Last year, more than 15,000 women did.

"Women are paying more attention to their arms in general and are becoming more aware of options to treat this area," said ASPS President Gregory Evans, MD. "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."

Why are women flocking to plastic surgeons for this procedure? Many women simply want to look better in sleeveless fashions, which have been popular for several years and will probably continue to be popular. Others admire the arms of celebrities like first lady Michelle Obama, Jennifer Aniston, and Kelly Ripa; they want their arms to look that good. Women who lose large amounts of weight, either through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, may want excess skin that has lost its elasticity removed.

Brachioplasty requires an elbow-to-armpit incision, usually on the back of the arm. A visible, permanent scar remains, and may be a concern for patients, so they need to understand the risks and benefits thoroughly. If excess skin is not a problem, liposuction is an alternative to brachioplasty.

For more statistics released today on trends in plastic surgery including gender, age, regional, national average fees and other breakouts, refer to the ASPS 2012 National Clearinghouse of Plastic Surgery Procedural Statistics report.