"Although not common, requests for pectoral etching are increasing slowly," said Henry Mentz, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and study co-author. "Many men simply don't know the procedure is even out there let alone that it's a safe, effective option for them."
During pectoral etching, targeted liposuction is used along the lower and outer edges of the chest muscles. A modest fat pad is left over the pecs, creating a noticeable contrast outlining the muscle.
Many patients who want the procedure suffer from minor gynecomastia or have lost weight but still have a more feminine-looking chest. Other patients are serious athletes that, despite working out and eating right, cannot develop the masculine, muscular chest they desire. To get a balanced look, these patients often have both abdominal and pectoral etching.
Unlike pectoral implants, etching leaves virtually undetectable scars, has no potential rejection issues and offers permanent results. Of the more than 200 men who had pectoral etching, only four experienced minor complications, according to the study.
"Pectoral etching can be a life-altering experience for patients," said Dr. Mentz. "For 74 years, one patient wouldn't remove his shirt in public. Last year he proudly spent his vacation on the beach in Hawaii."
In a recent study presented at Plastic Surgery 2007, the annual scientific meeting of the ASPS, all study participants who had abdominal etching, a similar procedure, reported an improvement in appearance. In addition, 86 percent reported they were satisfied with their surgery.
More than 1.1 million men had plastic surgery in 2006, up 8 percent since 2000, according to ASPS statistics. More than 400 pectoral implant procedures were performed on men last year, up 99 percent since 2005.