Arm Lifts Are The New Plastic Surgery Trend

They're 4,000 percent more popular than they were in 2000. Yes, 4,000 percent.


Lots of people want arms like this. Photo via Shutterstock

Summer is on its way, and with it come tank tops, bathing suits, and sleeveless dresses. It’s enough to make anyone squeeze in a few extra bicep curls at the gym, but many women aren’t stopping there—they’re going under the knife, too.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 15,000 women got arm lifts last year, which works out to a 4,000 percent increase over the numbers from 2000. Dr. Michael Yaremchuk, a Boston plastic surgeon, says the facelift-like procedure, which removes excess skin from the upper arms, is growing in popularity in his practice as well. Yaremchuk explains that most people getting the surgery are women, most of whom have either lost massive amounts of weight and have extra skin or whose skin has lost elasticity as they age. “It’s mostly so that they can wear clothes that they either couldn’t wear or were relatively embarrassed to wear before,” he says. “Overall they’re pretty fit.”

And though he notes that the procedure, like all surgeries, is invasive and requires an incision from the armpit to the elbow, Yaremchuck says the arm lift doesn’t come with an especially long healing time. “You can go about your business in about a week, 10 days,” he explains. “It’s not terribly traumatic to your body.”

As for why there’s a sudden focus on arms, Yaremchuk says increased media attention is largely to thank for the uptick in procedures, though he notes that he’s been doing the operation for years even though it was relatively low-profile. “In the past, people didn’t know that it was an option,” Yaremchuk says. “People really were thinking more in terms of having tummy tucks and what have you and didn’t realize that you could have other areas of your body where you have extra skin removed. And so once the word gets out, then people tend to look for it.”

And despite what you may have seen splashed across the Internet, Yaremchuk says our buff first lady has had little to do with the popularity of the arm lift. “I think that’s just a headline,” he says. “No one’s told me they want to look like Michelle Obama or commented on her arms.”