From the science to the supermarket, the experts weigh in on your options
By Charmaine Gooden
Aside from absolute dedication to working out and a smarter diet, a head-to-toe weight-loss strategy can be tough to master. These high-tech, non-invasive treatments can help jump-start a new attitude to health and weight control. Yes, you can use these methods to get on the path to a stay-in-shape routine but if you don’t make a lifelong commitment to eating smarter and exercising regularly, the results will be short-lived.
“What am I – about a B or C cup now?” Robert Craig (not real name), a 51 year old marketing executive, used to joke with his trainer about his “man boobs” Despite his best efforts working out at the gym and dieting, he just couldn’t get rid of the excess fat on his chest. Breast (gynecomastia) development in males aged 18-65 is fairly common occurrence that can be embarrassing and can prevent men from enjoying life to the fullest, says cosmetic surgeon Dr. Sean Brian Rice, who treats a lot of men with this condition. He explains that the causes are often linked to a hormonal imbalance in males who produce less estrogen or whose testosterone is converted into estrogen if they are on the chunky side. He adds that for the most part, we don’t know why men develop gynecomastia. Craig researched developments in cosmetic surgery looking for a solution but found the options far too invasive. Traditionally, tumescent liposuction, the surgical treatment for gynecomastia, is invasive: the surgeon injects a solution directly into the fat to be removed, then a cannula (a small tube) inserted through a small incision is pushed and pulled to break up fat cells and draw them out of the body by suction. The procedure causes significant bruising, swelling and bleeding. Patients typically return to normal after one to two weeks, and full recovery is made within a few months. Craig rejected this procedure. In the end, he chose Dr. Rice, the first plastic surgeon in Canada to offer a new method of water-assisted liposuction called Body-Jet, to get rid of the excess fatty tissue in his chest and, for good measure, his abdomen and love handles.
Body-Jet uses saline to dislodge fat for removal rather than the manual vacuuming motion. This means there is less damage to surrounding blood vessels and connective tissue remain intact. The fat and water is suctioned out, and the fat can be saved in a specialized container for re-injection into other areas like the face. Through the surgery can be preformed with local anesthetic, Craig chose a general anesthetic because he was having three areas done. Rice used the Body-Jet technique in combination with SmartLipo, an FDA-approved laser that helps melt underlying fatty tissue. The combination of these two procedures means less bruising and swelling and a much quicker recovery time, says Rice. “I do a lot of men and use it for gynecomastia, the chest, love handles, central upper and lower abdomen, the neck and the inner thigh.”
Craig had the surgery on Saturday and was back to work on the following Monday. There was some discomfort, but an occasional acetaminophen was all he needed for pain relief. He wasn’t sore or swollen and had no bruising on his abdomen, very little on the chest and some, which took about three weeks to disappear, on the love handles. The most uncomfortable part of his recovery was wearing the required compression garment for two weeks, which is mandatory for all patients. “It’s very tight so fortunately no one knows if you’re wearing it under your shirt,” he adds. Three weeks post surgery he saw a dermatologist for Synergie, a deep tissue massage treatment that uses vacuum and deep lymphatic drainage technology.” Synergie provides therapeutic stimulation and increases circulation in the area of treatment, which changes the appearance of connective tissue,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK on Avenue Rd, in Toronto (www.dlkonavenue.com). “The result is tighter, smoother skin. It is also beneficial post-surgery procedure as it quickens recovery time and gives you the skin structural support during healing.” The big reward for Craig came during this past summer in Spain. “I had on a bathing suit for the whole summer and was glad to be in it,” he says. “Now some of the benefits of my exercise show a little more.”