Arm lifts on the rise in plastic surgery

By: NBC News Email
By: NBC News Email

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of brachioplasties -- surgeries to get rid of excess skin on the upper arms -- has skyrocketed over the past decade, up more than 4,000 percent.

Credit may go to the first lady of fitness and the toned arms on celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Madonna and Beyonce for an enormous jump in the number of women having plastic surgery to get rid of excess skin.

While the vision of Michelle Obama helped motivate her, Natalie Robinson should take all of the credit for diet and exercise changes that led to an astonishing 170 pound weight loss.

But with the fat gone she was left with extra skin hanging off her upper arms.

"I would be so happy to look in the mirror and see the smaller me, but then to look and see my arms, it just kind of put a damper on my spirits," Robinson says.

"Once you have that extra skin, it's there, and the only way to remove it is to surgically remove it," explains Dr. David Reath.

The brachioplasty does not tone muscle or replace exercise and it is not a weight-loss procedure.

"What we as plastic surgeons are doing is primarily dealing with the after-effects of weight loss," Dr. Reath explains.

Doctors cannot pinpoint a reason for the dramatic rise in brachioplasties, though a poll conducted for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons finds women are paying close attention to the arms of female celebrities.

One of the biggest drawbacks to the arm lift surgery is a large scar.

Brachioplasties run about $4,000.

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