Health

The body contouring procedures men want most

If your body hang-ups are getting you down, there’s plenty you can do to feel good about yourself again.

By Citro partner Pirk

It’s not exactly the hot topic down at the pub, but interest in men’s cosmetic procedures has been steadily growing for years. This increase is partly due to society’s reduced stigma towards cosmetic surgery in general. But it’s also about men’s increasing body dissatisfaction and belief that youthful good looks are important for career advancement – yes, ageism in our society has far-reaching implications.

If you’re considering having a procedure, remember to take your time. Do your research, ask plenty of questions and make sure you know about the risks as well as the benefits. Your GP is a good first port of call to talk through your goals and get advice on how to proceed.

To learn more about your options, let’s take a deep-dive into the most popular treatments for men, what to expect and how much they potentially cost. Bear in mind that costs can vary quite widely depending on various factors. These include the specific treatment you choose, where you have the procedure done, and, of course, your surgeon or practitioner’s expertise.

Liposuction for men

Liposuction is a widely favoured cosmetic procedure for men who want to eliminate stubborn fat deposits. It’s often the choice for men who are otherwise at a good weight, but haven’t been able to shift areas of fat through diet and exercise.

It’s no surprise that liposuction for men is most often performed around the tummy, 'love handles' and 'double chin'. It’s also effective for removing fatty tissue in the chest, back, arms, and legs. If you’re having a few areas treated, your surgeon may recommend you split the surgeries to reduce the associated risks.

The process involves a surgeon making small incisions then using a cannula to suck fat from the body. That might sound gruesome, but liposuction is generally considered a minimally invasive technique that’s often performed under local anaesthetic as a day procedure (though a general anaesthetic is recommended for some people). Recovery is swift and you will usually be able to resume your normal activities in a few days – albeit wearing a compression garment to reduce your swelling.

It’s important to remember that skin loses elasticity with age, which can affect the result. Your surgeon will be able to talk you through your expectations and help you decide whether the procedure will give you the results you’re after.

Average cost

This varies widely depending on surgeon and procedure, but one area of the body generally costs $3,000 – $5,000; $5,000 – $6,500 for two areas; and $6,500 – $8,000 for three areas.

Abdominoplasty for men

Abdominoplasty is the technical name for a tummy tuck. It removes underlying fat and excess skin from around your belly, tightening your waistline and reducing the 'overhang' over your belt. It’s also effective for getting rid of any sagging skin you might be left with if you’ve lost a lot of weight.

It’s important to note that a tummy tuck isn’t a weight loss solution. It works best on stubborn belly fat that insists on hanging around despite your commitment to diet and exercise. In other words, the kind of fat that tends to accumulate as we get older.

Abdominoplasty is major surgery, carried out under general anaesthetic, so you should expect to stay in hospital for at least a day or two. After that, recovery times are generally short, with most men able to return to light activities within a week or two and more strenuous exercise after 4-6 weeks.

The surgery will leave a horizontal scar running from hip to hip above your pubic area, which is usually able to be hidden by your shorts. There will also be a small circular scar around your belly button, which will fade over time.

Average cost

The average cost of a tummy tuck in Australia ranges from $8,000 to $15,000, depending on factors such as the extent of the procedure and your surgeon’s expertise.

Breast reduction for men

Gynecomastia surgery, also known as breast reduction for men, is popular with men who want to remove excess fat and skin from their chest area. Gynecomastia (aka 'man boobs'), a condition where men experience excess breast tissue, can increase with age due to naturally declining testosterone levels and stable or increasing estrogen levels. Certain medications and poor lifestyle habits can also increase the likelihood of developing the condition. As a result, up to 65% of men aged 50-80 will experience gynecomastia.

Despite it being common, some men find gynecomastia distressing, affecting their self-esteem and confidence. If that’s you, breast reduction surgery may help restore your wellbeing.

Minor gynecomastia surgery can be performed as a day procedure under local anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic may be necessary in more extensive cases, which usually means a short stay in hospital. This will most likely be the case if gynecomastia surgery is performed in combination with abdominal contouring to enhance your overall appearance.

Scarring is inconspicuous and recovery times are generally quick – you should be able to return to work within a week (depending on the kind of work you do). Most men are back to normal activities within 4-6 weeks.

Average cost

The average cost of a breast reduction for men in Australia ranges from $6,000 to $12,000, depending on factors such as the complexity of the procedure and the surgeon’s experience.

Non-surgical treatments

While surgical procedures remain popular, technological advancements in non-surgical treatments also offer promising outcomes. Here are some of the more popular options for men:

CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting (aka 'fat freezing') is a popular non-invasive fat reduction treatment. It uses controlled cooling (called cryolipolysis) to target and freeze stubborn fat cells, which are then naturally eliminated by the body over time.

It effectively reduces localised fat pockets in the belly, love handles, chest 'man boobs') and neck ('double chin').

There is little to no down time following treatment and most patients consider the procedure to be 'uncomfortable', rather than painful. CoolSculpting rarely causes serious side effects, but milder reactions like bruising, tenderness and swelling are common. Talk to your doctor or practitioner about what you can do to lower your chance of experiencing pain or other side effects with this procedure.

Average cost

Multiple applicators are often used to target different areas so that the overall cost can vary. The cost ranges from $600 to $1,200 per application and a number of treatments will most likely be needed.

Kybella

What is it?

Kybella is an injectable treatment specifically designed to reduce submental fat (commonly known as a double chin). It contains a synthetic form of deoxycholic acid, which is injected beneath the chin to help break down and absorb fat cells. Multiple sessions may be required for optimal results.

You should be able to resume your normal routine immediately after treatment. The treated area will feel tender for a week or two. You may also experience some swelling after Kybella which might last up to one month from treatment.

As Kybella is a non-surgical procedure, little preparation is needed. It’s best if you book your treatment well in advance of any important events to give any swelling time to settle.

Average cost

The cost for Kybella injections generally ranges from $600 to $1,200 per treatment session. Multiple sessions may be required for optimal results.

Laser hair removal

The older you get, the more hair seems like nature’s idea of a cruel joke. The more you lose off your head, the more you seem to grow in your nose and ears and on your back.

Laser hair removal can help you get rid of unwanted hair. It’s a nonsurgical procedure that uses laser technology to target and destroy hair follicles, reducing unwanted hair growth. It’s commonly used on the back, chest, shoulders and around the belly.

Multiple sessions are typically needed for long-lasting hair reduction and the procedure typically only works if you have fair skin and dark hair. So check with a practitioner to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Average cost

Laser hair removal costs vary depending on the treatment area and the number of sessions required. On average, it can range from about $50 to $300 per session.

Non-invasive body contouring

Non-surgical body contouring treatments use various technologies to tighten the skin and improve body shape.

These treatments can effectively reduce loose skin, cellulite and improve overall body contours.

Popular body contouring treatments include radiofrequency (RF), ultrasound and laser treatments. Most people will need at least 4-6 treatments for long-term results.

Average cost

The cost of body contouring treatments can vary based on the specific technology and treatment area. Generally, the cost can range from $1,000 to $3,000 per session.

Skin tightening

Skin tightening treatments use energy-based devices like radiofrequency or ultrasound to stimulate collagen production and improve skin elasticity.

These treatments can help tighten loose or sagging skin, commonly found on the abdomen, arms, thighs and face.

Average cost

Skin tightening treatments can range from $500 to $2,000 per session, depending on the treatment area and the technology used.

How to know what’s right for you

All of these options can feel overwhelming, so how do you know where to start?

The best body contouring option for you will depend on your goals and current body shape. Ideally you’ll already be at a healthy body weight and exercising regularly. You’ll also need to consider the risks, recovery time and your tolerance for pain and scarring to work out what’s best for you.

It’s also important to factor in the affordability of your preferred option – most cosmetic surgery (unless it’s considered reconstructive surgery) and all non-surgical body contouring options aren’t covered by Medicare. Check your private health insurance to see if you’re eligible for some funding there, but again, most won’t cover your costs.

If you’re currently working towards your health goals, you can still talk to a surgeon or practitioner to find out more about how body contouring can support your overall goals.

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