Q: Dr. Eppley, have there been any improvement to help with outpatient healing for pectoral implants? Having helped with liposuction recovery and breast implants it looked pretty brutal seeing the fluids and bruising/swelling and that didn’t involve having to fly back home. I’d consider it to get that permanent sculpted definition in the upper chest if possible, just seems like it has be done a little more artistically on a male than female to get the correct look as too large would look too unnatural.
A: Pectoral implants are in some ways very similar to breast implants but are a bit different. Pectoral implants are solid elastomer implants not fluid filled, thus they will never rupture or need replaced. While they are placed below the pectorals major muscle, unlike breast implants they are are not placed below the lower pectoral line which means there is less soft tissue dissection and no disruption of the muscular attachments. There is no the same amount of bruising or swelling as with breast implants an no fluid drainage like in liposuction. While it is a muscular recovery, I would not consider it ‘brutal’ or that severe.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in getting pectoral implants to make my chest bigger. My two very important questions are does the implants distort upon muscle contraction when placed under the muscles? And to create the “pocket” for the implant you need to detach the muscle from the sternum right? Thanks for getting back to me.
A: While there are some similarities between pectoral implants and breast implants, there are difference between them that are more just that one is for men and the other is for women. The implants themselves are different with pectoral implants being a soft but solid silicone elastomer while breast implants are filled with non-solid fillers inside a thin flexible silicone elastomer bag. As such, breast implants can fail and need to be replaced while pectoral implants can not fail and never need to be replaced.
Pectoral implants are put in through an incision in the armpit (just like some breast implants are) and are placed in a completely submuscular pocket. Conversely, breast implants are placed in a partial submuscular pocket often referred to as a dual plane location (part under the muscle and part out of the muscle. When you think of implant distortion with muscle contraction you are thinking of breast implants where half of the implant is not under the muscle and thus distorts when the muscle pushes down on it, causing the implant to move to the side and causing some degree of implant distortion/movement. Neither in breast or pectoral implants is the muscle detached from the sternum at either its origin or insertion. The pockets are created by entering a tissue plane underneath the pectoralis major muscle.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I want to have a more shapely and manly chest. I have worked out a lot and simply can’t build up my pectoral muscles very much. It almost seems like I have a muscular deficiency in this area, they just won’t build up to my liking no matter how much iron I pump. I think the only way I am going to get there is with chest implants. Can you tell about how the operation is done and what type of implants are used? I assume it is pretty much like breast implants for women.
A In many ways, you are correct about the similarities between male pectoral implants and female breast implants. Like saline breast implants, pectoral implants are put in through an armpit incision (transaxillary approach) and are placed under the pectoral muscle. Unlike breast implants, however, the positrion of pectoral implants does not extend below the lower border of the muscle. This is a subtle but important placement issue to get the best increase in pectoral muscle outline. The biggest different is in the type of implant used. Pectoral implants are made of a solid (non-fluid filled) silicone elastomer material. It is very soft and has a spongy feel. They can not rupture or ever degrade and will never need to be replaced, which is very different from breast implants which have a limited lifespan.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in pectoral implants and would like any information about the procedure that you can share with me.
A: There are tremendous similarities between transaxillary breast augmentation in females and pectoral implants in men. They both are placed through an incision in the armpit with a pectoral implant needing more length as the implant is bigger. Both are placed under the pectoralis muscle with a pectoral implant not being placed below the lower edge of the pectoralis major muscle. All of the pectoral implant remains covered by the muscle to give it maximum bulk and projection. (a breast implant in contrast often has at least half of the implant below the edge of the muscle) Pectoral implants come in numerous sizes and shapes from oval to a more square design. The implant selection is determined by measurements taken on the chest based on the outline of the muscle. The implants are composed of solid soft silicone elastomer material that behaves like a flexible gel. The material is inert and will never degrade or break down. Pectoral augmentation is performed as an outpatient procedure done under general anesthesia. Dissolveable sutures are used to close the armpit incision. After surgery, there will be some swelling and soreness and a chest wrap is used for comfort. One can expect that it will be about three weeks until one has full range of motion of their arms and can begin to return to working out again if desired.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: I am interested in getting pec implants. I have always had a very flat chest with little muscle definition at all. I have done a lot of chest exercises but I have not seen a lot of improvement or at least the amount that I want. I have tried protein supplements, testosterone and even some human growth hormone but I just can’t get the size of pecs that I want. This has brought me to the conclusion that the only way I am going to get there is with an implant. Do you think pec implants will finally help me get what I want?
A: There is no question that pectoral implants will increase the perceived size of your pectoral muscles. Increasing the bulk of the muscle is what they do best from their subpectoral or under the muscle position as they push the muscle forward. Implants are not quite as good as improving pectoral muscle definition with the exception of the lower lateral pectoral border. The question you are really asking probably relates more to implant projection…or how big can the pectoral muscles be made to look.
Pectoral implants have, at most, up to 3 cms. of projection or forward push of the muscle. How significant that is depends on how thick the muscle is to start with. In other words, a flat chest with a thinner pectoralis muscle will show more but it will not be a ‘bodybuilder-like’ result. An already thicker pectoralis muscle in someone who is fairly developed will have a much more prominent result.