Pectoral Implants: Are You a Good Candidate for This Procedure?
The beauty of living in 2015 is that cosmetic surgery is within reach of everyone. These days, if a person feels truly unhappy with the way they look, and that unhappiness is having a profound effect on their well-being and ability to function as a generally content and productive member of society, there are significantly more accessible options to fix virtually anything aesthetic now than there were even 10 years ago. We no longer have to live out our days attached to an appearance that doesn’t feel quite right, as more cost-effective options and financing options are now available to the masses.
The nose one might wish to straighten, the jawline one might wish to correct - and yes, even the pectorals so many men pine for can be theirs. In fact, according to the latest data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, elective cosmetic procedures for men are on the rise, having increased by 43% in the past year alone. We shouldn’t be hammering any segment of our patient population.
This may come as a surprise, but many men feel just as insecure about the appearance of their chests as women do. In fact, for men, it can be even more difficult being that a number of outdoor activities call for a bare chest in public. The way women feel about a flat chest many men feel about a chest that is flabby, lumpy or devoid of definition. While breast implants for females are quite common, most are not aware that men too have an option at their disposal; pectoral implants.
While there are exercises and supplements which offer the promise of more prominently sculpted pecs, your genetic predisposition tends to dictate what is and isn’t achievable in this regard, and even the most dedicated workout regimen may not deliver what a pectoral implant can. Board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Mark P. Solomon shares his expertise in this area, as well as the benefits and side effects of a pectoral implant procedure.
Melissa Chapman: How common is this procedure? Is it only done for cosmetic reasons?
Dr. Solomon: Pectoral implantation is not a very common procedure. It can be done for certain birth defects, such as Poland syndrome in men. This a rare birth defect characterized by underdevelopment or absence of the chest muscle on one side of the body. More often it is done for cosmetic reasons, mostly for men who are unable to build their chest (pectoral) muscles with exercise.
Melissa Chapman: What is the material implanted? Is it similar to women’s breast implants?
Dr. Solomon: The implants used are made of silicone, but not like a breast implant. These implants are solid silicone of varying firmness to mimic the muscle tissue. Breast implants have a shell and filler, so they look and feel quite different from the implants we use in men.
Melissa Chapman: How safe are the implants? Would they ever need to be removed? How long do they last?
Dr. Solomon: Silicone block implants are generally safe. They do not deflate or rupture, so they are designed to last a long time, however nothing is guaranteed for life. They would need to be removed for cases of infection or in those instances where the implant shifts or rotates in the pocket in which it is placed.
*Melissa Chapman: What are the complications and side effects of the implants?
Dr. Solomon: Complications of pectoral implant surgery are similar to breast augmentation. These include infection, bleeding, poor result, shifting of the implant or rotation of the implant. There is a scar in each armpit from placement of the device. These complications are rare if the procedure is performed by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.
Melissa Chapman: What activities need to be avoided after the surgery? Can you work-out your chest muscles after?
Dr. Solomon: I limit my patient's activities for 4 weeks after surgery, including no exercise and no lifting of anything more than 10 pounds. I do encourage range of motion to avoid stiffness of joints. Once patients are fully healed, they have no restrictions in their activities.
Melissa Chapman: How is the surgery done and how long is the recovery period? What type of anesthesia is used?
Dr. Solomon: Surgery is performed under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis. I find that men tolerate the procedure better when fully asleep. An incision in the armpit is used to create the pocket for the implant and place the implant. Some plastic surgeons may use endoscopy to assist in the procedure, but I do not. Placement of the implant under the muscle is similar to breast augmentation and the discomfort is similar. I have my patients wear a surgical vest for 4 weeks. They must shower daily after the procedure. I do give an antibiotic for several days after surgery, along with pain medication and a muscle relaxer. The only dressing is a paper tape over the incision, which is removed and replaced one week after surgery. I use dissolving stitches under the skin, so there is no suture removal needed. Most patients are back to a full, regular routine within 4 weeks.
As with any surgery, a pectoral implant procedure has the potential for complications however this can be minimized if you follow the advice and instructions of a board-certified plastic surgeon from the American Board of Medical Specialists.