It’s not all Michelle Obama’s fault for having great guns. Actresses Demi Moore and Jennifer Aniston also have what Florida wrestling star Hulk Hogan likes to call “pythons.” The celebrity status of these muscular, taught-armed women has inspired a kind of prestige imitation among thousands of women who would like to lose the flab around the biceps and elbows.
The procedure is known as brachioplasty, an upper arm lift procedure that requires making an incision in the arm pit down to the elbow to allow for the removal of excess skin often left hanging following extreme weight loss. That the number of women having the procedure done has skyrocketed over the past 12 years would be an understatement. In 2000, there were only around 300 upper arm lifts performed in the U.S. In 2012, and for reasons as yet unknown, 15,457 procedures were done – a whopping 4,378% increase in upper arm lifts over the past decade, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Women who have experienced significant weight loss – more than 100 pounds on average – opted for surgery to remove the excess residual arm flab. Strangely, diet and exercise trends in favor of extreme weight loss appear to run counter to the prevailing trend toward extreme obesity in the U.S.
In a recent poll of 1,219 U.S. women, the ASPS also found that celebrity status was a motivating factor in women who chose the upper arm lift procedure. Most of these women were age 40 and older.
America, in many ways, has become a land of extremes. Extreme behavior, extreme addiction, extreme expectations. Extreme weight gain and extreme weight loss to improve one’s appearance sometimes accompany an unhealthy orientation toward “self-centeredness” and, by contrast, “other-centeredness.”
It’s not a bad thing to have role models and even to imitate them if the reason is sound and the end product is positive. If you opt for an upper arm lift procedure, do it because you really need it and because it’s necessary to restore physical symmetry and balance following healthy weight loss.
Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein is a dual board certified facial plastic surgeon in New York with offices located at 200 Stony Brook Court, Suite 2, Newburgh, N.Y. Call 845-863-1772 for a consultation.