Also known as pectoral augmentation, male chest enhancement or pec implants
Even with frequent exercise, some men find that they are unable to achieve the chest definition that they desire. Pectoral implant surgery is a method for improving chest contour. This procedure has become a popular option, particularly for men who are athletic or go to the gym and want to be able to show off their more sculpted, masculine chests.
When to Consider Pectoral Implants
- If your under-developed pectoral muscles make you feel self-conscious
- If you are athletic and wish to improve your chest contour
- If your chest is asymmetrical or otherwise deformed from birth or by an accident
- Will improve chest contour and the look of muscle thickness or bulk
- Implants can be custom designed to provide a specific shape to your chest
- Increased self-confidence with your augmented “pecs”
- Implants will not improve the definition of your pectoral muscles
- Implants may yield unnatural, feminine results
- Asymmetry may occur if implants move or are displaced
These are the top three pros and cons to weigh when considering pectoral implants. If you want to focus on those specifically unique to you, please consult with your aesthetic plastic surgeon.
Are you a good candidate for pectoral implants?
Following are some common reasons why you may want to consider pectoral implants:
- You have under-developed pectoral muscles that have not been increased through weight lifting and exercise
- You are athletic and wish to improve your chest contour
- Your chest is asymmetrical or otherwise deformed from birth or by an accident
If you are in good general health and have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
Detailed Procedural Info
How is a pectoral implants procedure performed?
- During your consultation, your surgeon will measure your chest and discuss the different size and shape implants that are available.
- You will be given general anesthesia or be heavily sedated before the procedure begins.
- A small incision (approximately two inches in length) is made in the hair-bearing region of your armpit (the axilla).
- Special surgical tools are inserted through the incision and is used to create a pocket, or space, in between your pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscles (chest muscles).
- The selected implant, based on measurements made prior to surgery, is inserted and positioned between the pectoralis muscles.
- The incision is closed and the procedure is repeated on the opposite side.
- After the procedure is complete, a compression garment may be placed to help minimize swelling or implant shift.
What are my options?
Pectoral implants come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Made of solid silicone that is relatively soft and flexible, these implants imitate the look and feel of muscle. Because solid silicone implants are not made from silicone gel or fluid, they will not leak or tear. If you have chest asymmetry or traumatic deformities, custom implants can be created by manufacturers.
Fat grafting to the chest is an alternative to pectoral implants; it can enhance definition and volume in slim patients, improve the muscular contour in athletic patients, and provide a muscular shape in heavier patients.
What will my pectoral implants incisions and scars be like?
Most commonly an incision of about two inches is made in the hair-bearing region of your armpit area (the axilla). After the incisions heal, the resulting scars should be barely visible and are easily concealed.
Preparing for Your Procedure
How do I prepare for a pectoral implants procedure?
Your surgeon will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have, take a detailed medical history, and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
- Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing
- Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications can cause increased bleeding
- Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
Pectoral implant surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.
What can I expect on the day of pectoral implant surgery?
Your pectoral implant surgery may be performed in a hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility, or office-based surgical suite. Most pectoral augmentation procedures take approximately two hours to complete but may take longer.
- Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure.
- General anesthesia is commonly given during your pectoral implant procedure, although local anesthesia or intravenous sedation may be desirable in some instances.
- For your safety during the surgery, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse, and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery.
- After your procedure is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. A compression garment may be placed to help minimize swelling or implant shift.
You will probably be permitted to go home after a short observation period unless you and your plastic surgeon have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery.
Aftercare and Recovery
Your surgeon will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions about your postsurgical care, including information about:
- Drains, if they have been placed
- Normal symptoms you will experience
- Potential signs of complications
Immediately after your pectoral implant surgery
Immediately after surgery your chest muscles may feel tight, and you will be sore and stiff. Your incisions will heal in approximately 14 days and the implant healing will be complete in about 6 weeks.
When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain in your chest area. If the pain is extreme or long-lasting, contact your physician. You will also have some redness and swelling after the surgery. Contact your surgeon to find out if your pain, redness, and swelling are normal or a sign of a problem.
Recovery time frame after pectoral implants
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by your surgeon. This will include information about wearing compression garments, care of your drains, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe. Your surgeon will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
How Long Will the Results Last?
The results from pectoral implant surgery are long-lasting.
Maintain a relationship with your aesthetic plastic surgeon
For safety, as well as the most attractive and healthy outcome, it’s important to return to your plastic surgeon’s office for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times and whenever you notice any changes in your chest. Do not hesitate to contact your surgeon when you have any questions or concerns.
Limitations and Risks
Fortunately, significant complications from pectoral implant surgery are infrequent. Your specific risks for pectoral implant will be discussed during your consultation.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal)
- Infection and bleeding
- Changes in sensation
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to underlying structures
- Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
Other risks specific to pectoral implant are outlined below:
- Movement of the implants
- Numbness in your chest or upper arm
- Muscle spasms
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your pectoral implant surgery.