Everybody hates their muffin tops. It was the term used most often to describe what a person wanted changed in a survey of 500 people actively researching elective cosmetic procedures.
Despite common misperception, it’s not just women who feel this way. Body contouring procedures — the ones that redefine a person’s shape with a focus on the stomach and hips — are the second most popular cosmetic option among men (behind nonsurgical treatments like Botox and injectable fillers).
How people fight the battle of the bulge varies. Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Brent Moelleken has received so many requests from male patients that he’s developed his own technique: the boardshort tuck.
This 90-minute surgery offers a less intense alternative to the more extensive tummy tuck with a recovery period that’s often half as long. It currently makes up 20% of Dr. Moelleken’s work with male patients.
“Men want to wear tighter T-shirts without the bulge. After age 30 that becomes challenging without a little help.”
The $7,500 procedure involves anesthesia and an OR. The doctor makes a small incision in the pubic area, tightens the stomach muscles, and removes excess skin and fat. The result is a flatter, tighter stomach that sometimes has one unexpected benefit: a man’s penis can look larger without that competing bulge.
While Dr. Moelleken coined the term “boardshort tuck,” it isn’t a West Coast phenomenon. New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Sophie Bartsich said she often receives similar requests from men seeking a slimmer shape.
“Men want to wear tighter T-shirts without the bulge,” she said. “After age 30 that becomes challenging without a little help.” To contour a man’s physique, she commonly uses liposuction — a popular request from male patients. A quarter of surveyed doctors said they’ve had more men asking for lipo.
The fat-freezing technology CoolSculpting is also gaining popularity; it was the top name-brand procedure doctors mentioned when we asked what male patients request.
“Men want CoolSculpting, CoolSculpting, and more CoolSculpting,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Elisa A. Burgess of Portland, Oregon. “They frequently talk about the fatty tire around their waist…. They work out and watch what they eat, but they cannot improve that tire.”
CoolSculpting provides an option that doesn’t involve an OR, but Dr. Burgess points out that it may take multiple treatments to see the desired results. That’s what people who’ve had it noticed, too.
“Everyone wants to look good and be respected. Those traits are not gender-specific.”
Whatever the chosen treatment, the goal is the same: ditch the muffin top. Doctors say that’s a result men were hesitant to ask for even a handful of years ago, but the tide is turning. Men are increasingly willing to ask for the results they want.
“Social media, magazines, and television have shown generations of men that it’s OK to be concerned about their appearance and to think of plastic surgery as an accepted way to meet their goals,” explains San Francisco plastic surgeon Dr. Kyle A. Belek. “Everyone wants to look good and be respected. Those traits are not gender-specific.”
Interested in learning more about any of these procedures? Ask a doctor.