Time affects everyone. With age, the skin and tissues on the face and body stretch, descend and lose their elasticity. This can adversely affect your facial and body contour. For men, in particular, this shows up on the abdomen, chest and the neck/jaw juncture. As plastic surgeons, it is our job to come up with new, safer and better ways to address our patients’ needs. There have been huge advancements of late in terms of nonsurgical modalities for reducing fat and tightening skin. This 1-2 combination has made it possible to treat many of the male face and body contouring issues without having to resort to surgery. This is a huge plus for men who have less tolerance for downtime.
Sometimes, however, surgery is going to be the best option. Whenever considering any type of aesthetic procedure, it is important that you be assessed in person by a board-certified plastic surgeon. You want to see someone who not only offers the full range of nonsurgical and surgical options, but who also has the experience and training to deliver a safe, natural-looking result. The internet has made patients more aware of the many male face and body contouring options, but a procedure is only effective if it is the right match for your individual anatomy and needs. Bottom line: what worked for your friend may not work for you.
Male body contouring options for treating the abdomen
The abdomen is probably the single greatest area of concern for most men. Many men want to have a taut, flat abdomen with visible abdominal muscles, also known as the “six-pack.” With age, however, some men tend to develop a gut no matter how hard they exercise or how well they eat which can hide that taunt abdomen. The fat on the outside of the abdominal wall—the extra-abdominal fat—is treatable. On the nonsurgical side, the two most popular fat reduction techniques are:
Both work by destroying the fat cells in the treatment area either through cold or heat. Once destroyed, these cells are then eliminated through your body’s own lymphatic and metabolic systems. CoolSculping® and SculpSure® are both fast, effective and versatile. However, they each require multiple treatments, spaced 6-8 weeks apart, in order to deliver optimum results. The goal for each treatment is to reduce the targeted fat by about 20%.
Liposuction, on the other hand, is a more aggressive surgical procedure and can be more effective. Most plastic surgeons agree that liposuction is the gold standard when it comes to male abdomen and flank body contouring. It allows the surgeon to literally re-sculpt your torso. Laser technology can also be used as an adjunct body contouring modality. In the right patient, it can even reveal the 6 pack abs that are covered by the extra-abdominal fat. Liposuction does require downtime, typically about a week, and you will need to wear a compression garment to ensure the best results and skin contour.
Gynecomastia options for a flatter chest
The second most popular area for men when it comes to body contouring is the chest. Gynecomastia is a fullness in the chest caused by an excess in glandular tissue, fat or a combination of the two. Incredibly common, there are a number of different ways to treat gynecomastia. The right procedure is going to depend on the underlying cause. In patients whose fullness is solely the result of too much fat, liposuction is the most common form of treatment. Sculpting and reducing the fat may lead to a trimmer and more masculine chest. Liposuction of the chest can be done safely under local anesthesia with minimal downtime and recovery.
Most men who are afflicted with gynecomastia, however, have excess glandular tissue in addition to fat. The gland must be surgically removed in order to deliver the kind of flat, smooth chest that men desire. There are a few different incision options. The right one is going to depend on the amount of breast tissue that needs to be removed. Although the idea of scars on the chest sounds frightening, ideally, the incision can be camouflaged in the border between the darker skin of the nipple and the lighter skin on the chest. Men who have excess, loose skin in addition to gland and fat might need surgical removal and adjustment of the skin as well.
Aesthetic procedures for a crisp jawline
A crisp jawline is a youthful-looking jawline. Unfortunately, some men aren’t born this way and some lose this definition with age. The area under the chin is a prime spot for excess fat in men. Whether you wear a tie or not, a buildup of fat at the neck/chin juncture can make you feel dumpy and overweight when you are not. Thankfully, this focused area of fat accumulation is treated well with noninvasive body contouring devices such as CoolSculpting® and SculpSure®. Furthermore, there is an injectable, Kybella®, that was specifically designed to decrease the submental fat beneath the chin. In patients with a severe amount of extra fat, liposuction is probably going to be the best option.
Assuming that your skin has enough elasticity or “bounce back,” these can all be stand-alone procedures. However, older men or men who have loose or lax neck skin may need to combine a fat reducing modality with a skin tightening procedure such as ThermiRF. The latter uses radiofrequency energy to heat up the tissue in the treatment area. This creates a controlled injury to the neck skin. The body’s natural response to any injury is to produce more collagen and elastin. As the foundations of youthful-looking skin, more collagen and elastin results in smoother, tighter, more lifted looking skin.
So, if you would like a face or body contour with a bit more tone, schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area to discuss which options might be right for you. It’s not just about looking better. Getting rid of pockets of excess fat may make you feel more vital, confident and in charge.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.