Pectoral Implants 101 - Why People Want Them

Posted January 13, 2021
Pectoral implant procedure to contour chest

Patients that want a more defined chest often turn to lifting weights at the gym to make the desired changes in the look of this area of the body. Some people also turn to the cosmetic surgery procedure known as pectoral implants to achieve the changes they desire when it comes to the chest. “Pec implants” add more contour and definition to the chest if the patient is not able to gain the desired results in the gym. It can also be performed as a reconstructive surgery after an injury or an illness or during a female to male (FTM) gender confirmation surgery. In general pectoral augmentation uses a silicone gel implant to extend the depth of the targeted pectoral muscle to give it a greater definition.

Pectoral Implants Surgery – How it is Performed

Pectoral implant surgery is focused on the upper chest of a person where the pectoral muscles are located over the breastbone. The surgery involves the pectoralis major which is a muscle that overlaps the tissue located over the heart. It also extends back towards the armpit of a person.

The surgery starts by the doctor making an incision where the pectoralis major meets the pectoralis minor at the crease of the armpit.  A solid implant, made of silicone gel material, is then inserted under the skin that is located between the two muscles. The incision is closed using small stitches so that any scarring is minimized in its visibility.

Pectoral Implants Recovery and Risks

Once the cosmetic surgery is completed, patients can expect to see some bruising and swelling along with some inflammation and pain in the treated area. A patient might also need to have drainage tubes inserted, for about a week, to help get rid of any excess fluid from the wound as it starts to heal. A person might also need to wear a compression garment for around six weeks to help reduce and contain any swelling.

During the recovery process, patients will need to avoid raising their arms above their heads as well as certain types of exercising and lifting objects. It takes about two weeks before the surgeon clears a patient to resume the majority of regular daily activities. It will take several months before patients are able to resume strenuous workouts.

Pectoral Implants Results

In general, pectoral implants will last a lifetime once they are inserted into the body of a patient. The actual length of time that they last depends on the individual patient. At some point, patients might need to schedule an appointment with their doctor to check the status of the pectoral implants and whether or not they should be replaced or removed.

Possible Pectoral Implants Complications

Just like any other type of surgery, pectoral implants can results in some complications that patients need to watch for during the recovery period:

An infection is possible so patients need to make sure and keep the incision clean and follow their post-op instructions about how to best take care of the incision. Antibiotics can be taken after the procedure to help to lessen the risk of any type of infection. Some signs of infection include maintaining a fever and/or fluid that has a cloudy look when it is draining from the wound.

  • Keloid scarring in the treated area
  • Seroma (fluid collection under the skin)
  • Asymmetry between the two pectoral implants
  • Capsular contracture (a thickening of the scar tissue around the pectoral implant that can result in pain and a greater visibility of the implant edge)
  • Implants shifting out of place after they are implanted into the body

Pectoral Implants Popularity

Pectoral implant surgery is a common cosmetic surgery choice and is an ideal option for patients that are in good health and are not prone to having keloid scarring appear on their body. It has continued to be popular in our current climate as many people are unable to visit a gym on a regular basis due to COVID-19 restrictions. Pectoral implants can help a person achieve their desired look even if the patient does not have the ability to exercise on a regular basis at a gym.

Patients that are interested in undergoing pectoral implants surgery should schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified doctor that is experienced in performing the procedure. It is an opportunity for the patient to discuss the desired results with the surgeon such as the overall look the person hopes to achieve. It is important to have realistic expectations going into the surgery so the patient will not be surprised by the extent (good or bad) of the results.

Once the doctor and the patient are in agreement about the type of results expected by the person having the surgery, the doctor can let the person know if they are an ideal candidate for pectoral implant surgery. The consultation appointment is also the chance for the doctor to determine the overall health of the patient to make sure the person is healthy enough to have the procedure.



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