For those who can’t bear the thought of another hour in the gym—and who have some money to spare—cosmetic surgery is always an option.
Good things come to those who work hard: A promotion at the office. A solid, long-lasting relationship with the partner of your dreams. Faster mile times. But in the case of an Hemsworth-esque physique? Forget about hard work! That’s for peasants. Instead, all you need is to stockpile some cash and shove your crippling fear of needles to the side. Friends, let us introduce you to an emerging area in plastic surgery: procedures that enhance the look of major muscle groups.
Plastic surgery procedures for men increased 43 percent over a five-year period between 2013 and 2017, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. But these procedures aren’t your traditional tummy tuck or eyelid lift. Douglas M. Senderoff, a New York City plastic surgeon, is just one of many in his field who offer products with names like “perfect pecs” and “buff biceps.” Depending on the scope of the procedure—and whether it needs to be repeated on the other side of the body—this can put you back between $6,500 and $12,000.
“The first category of my clients are men who are fit and cannot achieve their goals through diet and exercise alone,” he says. The others? Patients who suffer from conditions like aggressive gynecomastia—the medical term for enlarged breasts—or Poland Syndrome. Some biceps implant recipients, he says, have suffered muscle tears that caused an undesirable imbalance. Behold the results:
For those who have thousands of dollars on standby for such an occasion, there are a few things to consider before going under the knife, cautions Alyssa Golas, a professor of plastic surgery NYU Langone Health. First and foremost: Surgeries entail risks, which include bleeding, asymmetry, pain, scarring, and seroma, where fluid pools around the implant. Just as you wouldn’t let any barber cut your hair—those edges are art—you’ve got to do your homework when it comes to plastic surgeons.
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You’ve also got to be honest with yourself, says Heather Milton, MS, RCEP, CSCS, an exercise physiologist and clinical specialist at NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center. In between those hit-the-snooze-button mornings and Sunday day-drinking sessions with your friends, are you really working as hard at your physical fitness as you could? If the answer is no—and chances are that for you, the answer is no—hold off on something like this. Attaining your goals requires effort before it requires a five-figure expenditure.
Most procedures require one or two weeks of at-home recovery, says Senderoff, and patients are barred from strenuous exercise for three weeks. Although the mirror may indicate otherwise, in this case, having a bigger chest or more impressive biceps or perfectly-contoured calf implants doesn’t mean that recipients can lift any more than they did before. “The implants do not change the overall strength of the muscle, he says. “While there may be a temporary weakness due to pain and recovery, overall muscle strength is the same afterwards.”
Those of you who are imagining the horrors of, say, popping a chest implant during a vigorous bench session [Ed note: GAHHHHHHHH] needn’t worry, says Milton. “Implants are designed to be incredibly durable, and are often made of a semi-solid silicone elastomer when done by a reputable physician.” Thank God.
If this all appeals to you—well, that’s your choice, obviously. This is America. But also, consider waiting for a few weeks to see if you feel the same way before you swipe your credit card and schedule an appointment for calf implants. “Talk to your surgeon two or three times to make sure that all your questions have been answered, and that you fully understand the process, recovery, expected outcome, and risks,” suggests Golas. Just like the short-shorts phase you went through this summer, your enthusiasm for blowing ten grand on a giant chest might dissipate. Maybe try doing some push-ups in the meantime.
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