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Growing Trend Helps Arms Go From Flab To Fab

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - We all have body parts we'd like to change or improve but, for those dealing with loose skin after a major weight loss, exercising it away is often not an option.

Now, there's a remedy for that thanks to a growing trend in plastic surgery which is giving some a chance to flaunt their arms.

From the White House to the red carpet, our obsession with arms has reached new heights and with the South Florida sunshine comes the pressure of sleeveless days year-round.

Vicky Campadanico is a beautiful, confident woman now. It may be hard to understand why she would ever feel self-conscious, but just a year and a half ago, she looked like a completely different person.

Her dream of being a performer seemed impossible with so much extra weight. So in college, when she hit 350 pounds, she underwent Gastric sleeve surgery, losing 200 pounds in the months that followed.

"Even after I lose the weight, I had bat wings. They were disgusting, really," said Campadanico.

It's a problem Aventura based plastic surgeon, Dr. Adam Rubenstein said is becoming more common.

"When you think about how many people are losing weight now through lap bands, gastric sleeves, gastric bypass and just exercise and diet, people are really thinking about their weight and dropping pounds. Well that comes along with baggage," said Dr. Rubenstein.

Upper arm lift procedures have sky-rocketed in the U.S. Statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show out of 2000, 300 women underwent the knife to fix their arms. In 2012, more than 15,000 did.

For women like Campadanico and Vanessa Bonamy, who also lost 200 pounds, that loose skin or "bat wings" as they're often called was removed with Brachioplasty, a surgery which requires an incision from the elbow to the arm pit, leaving a visible scar.

"For most patients it's a very worthwhile trade-off to have that thin scar, compared to the hanging skin, and they feel much more comfortable. They will trade that scar for what they had before any day," said Dr. Rubenstein.

The results are instant. The before and after pictures for Bonamy and Campadanico showed were dramatic.

For Bonamy, It meant getting her life back.

When she sees pictures of herself from then, what does she think?

"Who's that girl? I don't even know that girl," said Bonamy. "I look at her and she's smiling. The person I am today is living life."

And looking through old pictures with Campadanico, it's clear; her journey is just beginning.

"It's incredible, I'm so happy. I'm going to get really emotional," said Campadanico. "I'm so happy. I can walk into places and not feel like the world is looking at me."

Brachioplasty costs an average of $8000 and it's not for everyone. Liposuction is another option, but it's for less severe cases and not for removing loose skin.

Click here to watch the report.


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