Women are opting for surgery to get arms like Michelle Obama's


Published May 2, 2013 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons released its latest cosmetic and reconstructive surgery statistics Monday.

Many of the trends were familiar. In all, the group reported, Americans underwent 1.6 million cosmetic surgeries, including face-lifts, liposuction and rhinoplasty; 13 million minimally invasive procedures (think Botox injections) and 5.6 million reconstructive procedures (including tumor removal and scar revision). People in the U.S. spent $11 billion on the cosmetic procedures alone.

Once again, for the seventh year in a row, breast augmentation was the most popular form of cosmetic surgery, with 286,000 operations performed. Botox treatments reached an all-time high of 6.1 million injections. Ninety-one percent of cosmetic procedures were in women.

But the society chose to highlight one procedure that is less familiar: the upper arm-lift. In 2012, 15,457 patients, 98 percent of them women, spent a total of $61 million to have liposuction on their arms, or what’s known as a brachioplasty (a surgery that involves making an incision from the armpit to the elbow, usually along the back of the arm, to remove excess skin). The number of procedures was up 4,378 percent since 2000.

In a statement, the ASPS said that doctors didn’t point to a single reason for the increase, but took note of poll data indicating that women “are paying closer attention to the arms of female celebrities” including Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore and Kelly Ripa. The most-admired arms of all? Those of first lady Michelle Obama.

— By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times