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Photo by: Fairchild Archive

Anyone seeking an upper-arm lift to look sleeker in a sleeveless dress may want to keep a cardigan on hand. Only those with very little extra skin and good elasticity qualify for the type of brachioplasty operation in which fat is extracted through an incision that can be hidden in the armpit. For the rest, surgery to reduce arm wattle will result in a scar that runs from armpit to elbow. Nerve problems are also a possibility, and the incision can pull apart and become infected. Brachioplasty may be a great option for the Biggest Loser crowd-women whose arms look like bat wings after massive weight loss-but not for those who just want to dress like Michelle Obama.

Most Overrated Cosmetic Procedures

Joan Kron, Allure magazine

New cosmetic procedures often fail to live up to their original promise. Some may even do harm. We investigate the innovations that you might want to reconsider.

It wasn't so long ago that a woman with a desire to look younger, slimmer, or simply better would huddle with her doctor in private. Now, one demonstration of a new laser on the Today show, and phones are ringing in dermatologists' and plastic surgeons' offices across the country. More and more patients are demanding the latest treatments the moment they hear about them on the news, in the salon, or over lunch with their best friend. Here's the problem with this pioneer impulse: Plastic surgery's past is crowded with operations that were rushed to the public with insufficient testing, or that proved too painful, or that simply weren't as effective as promised. Take it from us, the most dangerous word in plastic surgery may be "new." And unlike making a mistake by, say, buying a pair of jeggings that aren't entirely flattering, cosmetic procedures are often irreversible. Here, a hard look at the choices.

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