Arm lifts become more popular and they're not cheap

April 29, 2013 1:52:59 PM PDT
Americans had more than 10 million cosmetic procedures last year.

That's according to a new report and the fasting growing type of plastic surgery, arm lifts.

"I said no! I don't think so!"

Dorothy was not willing to give up the tank tops and spaghetti strap dresses.

"That's the way I was tagged here buy the old lady clothes," she said.

A year and half ago she had an arm lift, technically called a Brachioplasty. It's a surgical procedure where doctors remove the extra under-arm skin and fat.

Over the last decade the number of arm lift procedures has skyrocketed.

From about 300 women in the year 2,000 to 15,000 women in 2012, an increase of more than 4000% percent.

So why the dramatic increase? A recent poll shows a new focus on celebrities with toned arms. And more people are having weight loss surgery- leaving excess skin that can only be surgically removed.

It may also be more popular now because new techniques allow you to get good results with less of a scar.

The typical scar is not subtle, it goes from the armpit to the elbow. Manhattan plastic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Reed pioneered a new method with a smaller scar in the armpit.

First he removes about five inches of skin.

"You remove it and as you pull it together in the armpit the skin of the arm comes up and it tightens it and it's a long lasting operation," said Dr. Reed.

But the surgery will not work for everyone and like most cosmetic procedures and it's not covered by insurance.

And there are risks of infection, nerve damage, or just a bad result that looks worse than before. Dorothy says she knew the risks going in and has this advice.

"If anybody is considered the surgery make sure you're doing it for yourself," she said.

Surgery should never be the first solution.

This surgery is not cheap, the national average is about $4,000 and in Manhattan it's $10,000.