Health & wellness

Daily Dose

Plastic surgery on saggy upper arms has jumped

A spate of news stories last week touted a hot trend in plastic surgery: upper arm lifts to reduce the sag and wag of extra tissue and skin.

The number of arm lifts has skyrocketed over the past 13 years, from just 300 women in 2000 to 15,000 who had the procedure last year, according to a report released last Monday by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The society says the trend is “fueled, in part, by sleeveless fashions for women and more focus on strong-armed celebrities.”

But it’s also resulting from more people having excess skin on their arms after losing 100 pounds or more following weight-loss surgery, said Knoxville, Tenn., plastic surgeon Dr. David Reath, in an interview with USA Today. Skin that’s stretched from excess fat often doesn’t bounce back after weight loss, so a $5,000 procedure called brachioplasty can be performed to slice away the extra skin. It does, though, leave a long scar on the back of the arms — from elbow to armpit.


Sagging skin and arm tissue can also be inherited and often occurs as we age because of the long-term effects of gravity.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Some women also have liposuction to remove excess fat from their arms.

These procedures, though, still won’t yield Michelle Obama’s arms unless women actually exercise.