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What to Do When You Have a Bellyful

Losing the love handles
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WebMD Feature

March 12, 2001 -- Most men like large breasts. But not when the breasts are theirs.

 

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Just ask Sam. The Indianapolis industrial tool and sales engineer has spent most of his life embarrassed by his large breasts. As an adult, he rarely removed his shirt on the beach or at pool parties.

 

"I felt really inhibited," says Sam, age 56, who asked that his last name not be used. "I found it keeping me from going without shirts on the beach and stuff like that. I play golf a good deal, and I wasn't crazy about how I looked in T-shirts, either. It obviously bothered me."

 

It wasn't until Sam saw the wonderful results of a woman friend's liposuction that he decided to give it a try. He's happy with his new look.

 

"The only words I can use to express my thoughts is that I'm ecstatic," says Sam, who is 5-foot-10 and weighs 160 pounds. "I think it is probably one of the greatest things that new technology has brought us."

 

More and more men are turning to liposuction to help them reshape, restructure, and recapture the bodies of their youth. Many are the same men who just a few years ago would have snickered at the notion that they would ever consider cosmetic surgery. But liposuction has become the second most popular form of cosmetic surgery for men, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. (The most popular procedure for men is hair transplantation.)

 

"I've noticed the increase over the last five years, with more men requesting liposuction," says Robert Jackson, MD, FAC, president-elect of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons and the doctor who operated on Sam.

 

Many of Jackson's patients come to him after years of trying in vain to exercise off unyielding bulges of fat. Men hold fat in three areas: the stomach, midriff (love handles), and breasts. A guy with a jelly belly doing 1,000 crunches a day will have a set of washboard abs to die for. But no one will see the six-pack because the jelly belly will still be covering it. The only way to see those abs may be liposuction. Then again, it may not.

 

Men also tend to store fat inside their abdominal cavities that is too deep for liposuction, Jackson says. Whether they can get the results they want will depend on where the fat lies. So it's important for men considering liposuction to talk with their surgeon beforehand, to get a realistic assessment of what can be done, according to the academy.

 

"Each male has to be evaluated because of genetic influences on how men distribute their fat," says Jackson, who has had liposuction. "I tell my male patients that I can't do anything about the fat inside their abdomen. They have to lose that fat through diet" and exercise.

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