Last summer, when Kim Campbell put on her first sleeveless dress of the season, she noticed sagging and dimpling on her upper arms. “I tried firming creams, spent a lot of money and saw no results,’’ says the 52-year-old Astoria resident, who works in optical sales.
“I knew surgery left scars and I didn’t think anything else could be done, so I started wearing cardigans over everything.’’
But then Campbell heard about a new procedure performed by Upper East Side plastic surgeon Sharon Giese, in which Radiesse — a filler that’s injected into wrinkles — is used to stimulate collagen production to thicken crepey skin. She charges $1,250 for each injection, and says that one per arm is usually enough.
“I had lines above my elbow that [were] virtually gone after two weeks, and there [was] overall tightening,” says Campbell. “It’s been almost a year now; and when I look at old pictures I’m reminded of how much I hated my arms. Now I’m happy with them.”
To fight dreaded “batwings,” self-conscious women are increasingly turning to cosmetic procedures. Arm lifts, or brachioplasty, increased 13.5 percent between 2014 and 2015, according the to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Other batwing-busting treatments include injectables — such as Radiesse and a new filler called Sculptra — radio-frequency and ultrasound machines, and liposuction.
Upper-arm jiggle can hit hard in middle-age.
“The skin of the arms starts to loosen at around age 40 and can form a ‘batwing’ that gets progressively worse,” says Robert Jetter, a Park Avenue plastic surgeon who has added a second, optional step to his brachioplasty surgeries to help minimize scarring. He charges from $7,500 to $10,000 for the procedure.
“Sometimes there’s excess fat, and sometimes it’s just sagging skin,” he adds.
Radio-frequency was the method 47-year-old Upper East Sider Angela Eddie selected to improve her arms. A former investment banker who now works for an orthopedic surgeon, Eddie visited plastic surgeon Norman Rowe, who charges $9,000 for a series of six treatments meant to obliterate fat cells.
The radio-frequency machine “was a little uncomfortable, but not painful — like a warm rubber band snapping on my skin,” she says. “I’m a big skeptic, but this really worked. My arms look thinner and the skin is tighter.”
Dana Cancel, a 44-year-old stay-at-home mom who lives in Harrison, NY, shelled out $4,000 to get liposuction on her arms.
“It got rid of my flabbiness and made the skin tighter,” says Cancel, who was treated by dermatologist Howard Sobel. “I felt very uncomfortable wearing spaghetti straps before, but not now.”
Even some women under the age of 30 are going high-tech in their fight against flab.
Gina Graziano, who works in sales, turned to the Futura Fit muscle stimulating machine at the office of dermatologist Marina Peredo, who charges $1,500 for a series of six treatments meant to tone muscle and melt fat.
“My arms were always a bit out of proportion with the rest of me, and I had real trouble toning them,’’ says the 29-year-old Fort Greene resident. “I also had some loose skin. This really made a difference.’’
Of course, some choose to tone their arms the old-fashioned way.
One gym offering more targeted options to tackle arm flab is Crunch, whose Top It Off classes focus on the upper body.
“If you’re looking for definition,” says Brookelyn Suddell, a group-fitness trainer at the club, “I’d recommend using heavier weights with lateral lifts to sculpt shoulders, overhead presses for biceps, and dips for triceps.” For a “leaner” look, “take pilates or barre classes, and add light hand weights to your cardio workout,” she says.