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Cosmetic Surgery Procedures for Bodybuilders

Subpectoral Implants or Pec Implants Information

Great pecs are the sine qua non of every bodybuilder. You may have the best abs, the greatest deltoids, and lats that flair like bat's wings, but without a great chest, the centerpiece of bodybuilding, you just haven't made it. Thankfully for most, developing the pectoralis major and minor muscles that form the chest in men is usually the easiest part of a bodybuilders program. Many men will be able to develop adequate pec fullness and thickness, but developing the size and definition of their goals may be frustrated by genetics or lack of time for the gym or other situations that prevent development to their full potential. Subpectoral implants, or simply pec implants, are available to male bodybuilders who are unable to develop the desired thickness of their chest. Of all the body implants for bodybuilders, these are the most successful in terms of naturalness simply because the implants are placed under the pec major muscle and what you see and feel is the person's own pec major muscle. Most bodybuilders maintain a relatively low percentage of body fat in order to show the underlying muscle definition. Pec implants in an already muscular male produce the best results since the action of the implant is to bring forward the pec major muscle creating a thicker, fuller look. Custom designed pec implants can aid in obtaining a certain shape for the chest by either rounding the implant or more commonly creating fullness at the nipple level, with a thick but flat mid-muscle and greater fullness in the upper reaches near the collarbone.

Before the Surgery

Do your homework when seeking surgery of this kind. Many cosmetic and general surgeons advertise their expertise in pec implants but you will do well to search out a plastic surgeon that has considerable experience in doing pec implants on bodybuilders. The planning that goes into determining the correct shape and size of implant to be used is as important as the surgery itself. After all, if the implant size is incorrect or the shape is wrong, the result of even the most technically perfect surgical procedure can be a disaster because it will not satisfy the needs or desires of the patient. Body implant surgery is definitely one area that you do not wish to have to repeat.

Patients who have no particular issues such as asymmetry or congenital or traumatic deformities will usually be able to use one of the plastic surgeon's "stock" implants. These are custom implants whose particular configuration is varied as needed but do not require a total customized design. Those men who have need of totally custom implants will need to have a moulage (a mold) of the chest done so that a wax (or other material) sculpture of the proposed implant can be made and then fitted to the chest before having the implants manufactured by a custom implant manufacturer.

As with all surgery, certain medicines and most supplements along with alcohol and recreational drugs must be stopped for several weeks prior to surgery. Anabolic steroids including large-dose testosterone should be stopped at least 6 weeks or more prior to surgery. Many drugs and supplements can cause blood not to clot leading to a number of complications. Follow your surgeon's orders exactly.

Be sure to ask ALL of your questions at the initial consultation. If you don't like the answers or you don't have a good vibe with that surgeon, move on until you do.

The Surgery

Pec implants are usually done as outpatient surgery under general anesthesia. The average time in the operating room is about 2 hours. An incision of about 2 inches is made in the axilla (arm pit) and a pocket to receive the implant is developed under the pectoralis major muscle. (Be leery of any proposed incisions outside of the axilla as scars on the chest area are almost always visible.) In most cases, the implant should fit completely under the existing muscle. After the incision is closed with several layers of suture, long acting local anesthetic is instilled into the pocket with the implant to control pain and the patient is fitted with an elastic compression vest to minimize swelling or implant shift. The patient is then moved to the postanesthesia recovery room for a short time before being allowed to go home.

Post Surgery and Recovery

Outpatient surgery allows the patient to leave the surgery unit shortly after the operation is complete but that does not mean that he is free to do whatever. Postoperatively the patient should remain in bed for the 24 hours after surgery, getting out of bed only to use the bathroom. Snoozing the first 24 hours is the best thing you can do as it allows the body to begin the healing process immediately and keeps the blood pressure normal so as not to produce bleeding. Pain is to be expected as there are numerous pain fibers in muscle. The doctor will have prescribed something for pain, swelling, muscle spasm and antibiotics usually. Use only as directed and do not take any other medicines or supplements not prescribed. For the first week, you activity will be severely restricted, especially the use of your arms. When pain, swelling and stiffness of surgery decline, let your doctor know as he will then increase your activity level. Remember, while the incision will heal within 14 days, the area about the implant does not heal for 6 weeks. You do not want to stress that area too early which may result in complications. You may usually return to the gym between 4 and 6 weeks. Your physician will most likely see you 2-3 days after your surgery, then weekly for 2-3 times, then at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and a year postop.

Risks & Complications

Complications are possible with any surgical procedure. And, while the complication rate with pec implants is minimal, you cannot just will them away by refusing to face the possibilities. However, you can reduce their rate of occurrence by following the doctor's pre- and post-operative instructions exactly. Most complications of cosmetic surgery procedures are not surgical errors but healing complications that are frequently the results of hematoma (bleeding), seroma (collection of tissue fluid), delayed wound healing, implant dislocation due to excessive early activity, or undesirable results due to miscommunication between doctor and patient (too large, too small, wrong shape).

The Cost

Cost for pectoral implants vary from region to region. In the Eastern US, the average cost is $5500.00 for the surgeon's fee plus cost of the implant material, facility and anesthesia. An overall average in the East is $5500.00. In the Western part of the US, the average surgeon's fee is $4800.00 plus cost of the implant material, facility and anesthesia. An overall average in the West is $4800.00.

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Explore your options and consider all alternatives. If you haven't tried going the route of an effective workout routine, read "Build Big Muscles Fast. Gain Muscle Mass Guide" by Chris Chew.

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View before and after photos of these procedures.

Preview our gallery of before and after photos, showing the results patients have achieved with pectoral implants, calf implants, bicep implants and gluteal implants.

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There is a lot of information online to help you in making your choices and decisions about these procedures. As with all cosmetic surgery, after you have done the proper research, you should have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon before making any decisions about surgery.

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