American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Men and Plastic Surgery

Male-Specific Considerations

Information for men contemplating plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons.

Liposuction and body contouring

The ideal male body shape is considered to be trim and athletic-looking, with broad shoulders and chest, a flat abdomen, and a narrow hip-thigh area. However, as men age, areas of fat tend to accumulate around the abdomen, the flanks ("love handles"), the breast area (a condition called gynecomastia), and along the chin and neck. Men sometimes seek liposuction to remove these fatty areas that are resistant to diet and exercise.

In many cases, liposuction alone can effectively correct these problem areas. Men retain their skin elasticity longer than women do, and the areas of fat beneath the skin tend to be firmer and more vascular than those in women. Because of these and other factors, liposuction in men is usually very effective.

Men who have some loose, hanging skin as well as areas of excess fat may opt for a traditional excision procedure (surgical skin removal) in addition to liposuction. An excision may also be performed on gynecomastia patients whose breast enlargement is made up of mostly glandular tissue, rather than fat.

Abdomen reduction: A full abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck" may be chosen by men who have hanging abdominal skin (usually the result of massive weight loss), loose abdominal muscles, and/or neglected hernias. It is a major surgical procedure that removes excess fat, tightens the muscles of the abdominal wall, and trims the waistline. Men who have a full abdominoplasty are often surprised at the long recovery period. Some patients aren't able to return to work up to 4 weeks after surgery.

Men with good skin elasticity who have only a moderate amount of excess abdominal fat may benefit from liposuction alone. Muscle-enhancing surgery: In recent years, plastic surgeons have developed ways of improving muscle contour with cosmetic implants and "sculpting" techniques.

Calf implants, which were originally developed to restore leg contour in accident or polio victims, are now sometimes used to create cosmetic fullness in the lower leg. Similarly, pectoral implants, which are used to build the chests of men with Poland's syndrome, can also be used to "bulk out" the existing pectoral muscles of healthy men.

A small number of doctors have begun offering their male patients abdominal etching, a new liposuction technique that creates a muscular, rippled appearance in the abdominal area.

Men who consider cosmetic muscle enhancement should keep in mind that these procedures are still relatively new. It is best to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon who has received adequate training in these methods.



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