Chest Implants for Men

Many men strive to develop their pectoral muscles for a look of bulk and projection. Some men work out extensively and are still unable to develop the pectoral muscles that they hope to achieve. Fortunately for them, it is possible to enlarge the appearance of their chest muscles (pectoralis muscles, “pec” muscles, or simply “pecs”) by placing solid silicone implants (explained below).

Pectoral implants will enhance the bulk and projection of your pectoral muscles, but they will not (here comes the bad news) improve the definition of your muscles. In other words, pec implants will not help you see muscle fibers through your skin. The only way to increase the definition of your pectoralis muscles is to exercise.

The silicone implant itself is soft, flexible, and durable. It is placed directly beneath your pectoral muscle. Solid silicone is safe, reliable, and durable. Silicone has come under fire since the early 1990’s because silicone gel breast implants were alleged to have caused diseases in some women.

There are 2 reasons why you should not concern yourself with this issue: 1) silicone gel breast implants have been shown to NOT cause diseases and 2) the solid silicone implants used for male chest augmentation are not made of silicone gel. Further, many implants, including pace makers and other devices, are made of solid silicone and have not been shown to cause problems.

Preparing for your Chest Implants

It is recommended that you stop working out for 1-2 weeks prior to surgery. You may continue working out up to your surgery, but expect more post-operative discomfort.

Pectoral Augmentation: The Surgery

A solid silastic implant is chosen based on measurements of your chest prior to surgery. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia or very heavy sedation. A small incision is hidden in your armpit and the endoscope is used to create a cavity under your pectoralis muscle. The muscle is not separated from its attachments to the rib cage or breast bone (as it is during breast implant placement for women).

Recovery from Chest Implant Placement

You will be allowed to go home the day of surgery. Your dressing and sutures will be removed in a few days. Do not perform any lifting or aerobic exercise for 4 weeks. After a month, the scar usually fades and becomes very difficult to see.

Ask Your Plastic Surgeon about these Potential
Complications from Chest Implants

Displacement of your chest implant or implants can occur.

If your implants are only slightly out of place, you may not notice, and it probably will not bother you. It is very unlikely for others to notice minimally displaced implants.

If your implants are moderately or significantly displaced, they will most likely be too lateral (near the arm) or too high (near the collar bone). If this is the case, surgery will be required to move them back into position. Fortunately, displacement of chest implants is uncommon.

Infection can be devastating if it occurs. If an implant becomes infected, it usually does so within 2 months of surgery. It is extremely uncommon for an implant to become infected after 2 months.

If infection occurs, the implant will probably have to be removed, and you will need intravenous antibiotics. You may even need to be hospitalized.

After six months, a new implant can be placed. However, during that six-month period, you will be asymmetric (assuming only one implant became infected and required removal). This asymmetry can be very distressing. In general, the risk of infection is about 1%.

Hematoma is a collection of blood around your implant and is due to bleeding that occurs after surgery.

If you have a medium or large hematoma, you will require surgery to search for the source of the bleeding and to remove the hematoma. (Often, no source is found because the bleeding has stopped by the time surgery is performed). Risk of hematoma is about 1%.

Seroma is a collection of body fluid around your implants.

Most people develop seromas immediately after surgery. In most cases your body will reabsorb the fluid spontaneously. In rare cases, the seroma may persist. If this happens it will require fluid evacuation with a needle or possibly surgery.

Numbness of your inner upper arm may occur as a result of the nerve becoming disrupted, stretched, or cauterized during surgery. Often the feeling will return within a few months.

If feeling does not return after a few months, you may have numbness in the area forever. If so, you will more than likely become accustomed to it within a year. The risk of this is about 1%.

Changing Your Mind

If you have a complication from your chest implants and decide that you want them out (or if you want them out for any reason), removal is relatively simple. Removal can be performed through the same incision and recovery is usually quick. Recovery from a removal is usually much faster than original surgery.

Cost of Chest Implants for Men

The total cost of surgery across the U.S. including anesthesia, implants, and the operating room, is available HERE.

Tips and Traps of Chest Implants for Pectoral Augmentation

  • Do not expect pectoral implants to improve the definition of your pectoral muscles. By “definition” we mean the ability to see the outline of the muscle through your skin. Some men have such well-defined pectoral muscles that you can see a clear distinct edge of the muscle. Remember, pectoral implants will increase the bulk of your muscles but will not alter their definition.
  • Avoiding upper body work outs for 1-2 weeks before surgery will make your recovery much easier.
  • Although potential complications exist, this operation is generally very safe and yields natural appearing results.
  • Pec implants will not fix congenital (present from birth) chest wall deformities, such as pectus excavatum (an indented sternum) or chest wall asymmetries due to uneven development of ribs, rib cage, or muscles. If you have one of these problems, you will likely require a specialized custom-made implant. The surgery for a custom implant would need to be done by a plastic surgeon who has experience in these problems. The best way to find a plastic surgeon that specializes in these problems is to call the plastic surgery department at the university medical center nearest to you (for example, in Cincinnati, one would call the University of Cincinnati Department of Plastic Surgery).