When the American Society of Plastic Surgeons released its annual cosmetic and reconstructive surgery statistics, there apparently was much there that we already expected.
Boob procedures were still the top surgery out there. Face lifts, liposuction, nose jobs… all expected.
One procedure, however, shot straight up – by almost 4,000 – yes, four thousand – percent:
But the society chose to highlight one procedure that is less familiar: the upper arm-lift. In 2012, 15,457 patients, 98% 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% since 2000, when only about 300 women opted for it, the group reported.
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.
Plastic surgeons emphasized that diet and exercise should be a part of a woman’s plan to tone her triceps, but that for many, getting the look they want proves impossible by those methods alone.
“We are genetically programmed to have different accumulations of fat in different areas, and for some women the arms can be a problem area,” said Dr. David Reath, chair of the ASPS Public Education Committee and a surgeon in Knoxville, Tenn.
He cautioned, however, that brachioplasty often leaves a visible scar — presenting a “trade-off” for women. [source]
Cosmetic procedures are interesting, to me, because they are very “present.” Not as in “a gift,” and not as in “very here.” I mean, they’re very “here and now.” People get lipo all the time, but wonder why the procedure doesn’t “last,” and have to go back and get it again. The same can be said for brachioplasty.
I know I haven’t talked much about loose or dangling skin – I don’t have much, but I’m very young and also very patient… also very cheap – but this, for some reason, shocked me. It also saddened me.
Lots of people wind up with loose skin for lots of reasons, but I’m wondering what these kinds of surgeries look like in real life – not just photos on the Internet – and how people keep themselves from losing the physique for which they went under the knife. If you don’t have muscle under all that skin, you’re not really getting those long-admired Obama arms and shoulder caps, are you? They might be petite, but are they toned? (And, is that what you truly wanted?)
And that’s what makes me a bit sad. Are you getting the full scope of advice on your physique and how to acquire and maintain the look you want without the surgery?* Are you a “repeat customer” who gets cosmetic surgery, winds up gaining weight back in the spot that was originally cut, and has to go back again? Have you ever sought out guidance for actual body management?
This isn’t an indictment of women who receive cosmetic surgery, truly. No one’s circumstances are the same, and I don’t have the time or brain space to judge everyone individually. This doesn’t change the fact that lots of people are unaware of how their daily habits affect their bodies physically, and if you care enough to go under the knife to change it but not enough to learn how to avoid having to go back, then what? There’s nothing more frustrating than talking to a client who saved up all her money for a breast reduction, only to find, a year later, that her breasts had grown back to their original size… something like an I cup.
So, while I’m glad that our FLOTUS is givin’ ’em all shoulders and people are swooning – especially since I’m half-way demoralized by the number of people describing FLObama as “stocky,” “manly,” or “muscular” like it’s a pejorative or something – I just want people to be future-focused when they do it.
What do you think?