How are you really feeling about your body lately? Has more than a year of not venturing much further than the fridge, the couch, or the bedroom taken its toll? You tried the home workouts — which weren’t very inspiring — and now even if you’re back at the gym, that beach-ready body feels further off than ever. Look, we’re all for discipline and hard work, but sometimes it just pays to take a shortcut. We caught up with Dr. William Rahal, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who specializes in body enhancement procedures and is renowned for his signature 360 Liposuction treatment. Dr. Rahal is so good, he’s booked through May 2022.
If you’re considering plastic surgery, you’re not alone. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 1.3 million cosmetic procedures were performed on men in 2019, a 29% increase since 2000. While it used to be that a little nip-and-tuck was for gentlemen of a certain age, millennials are now nearly twice as likely as people over 35 to be considering a cosmetic procedure. Liposuction and gynecomastia (male breast reduction) were the top surgical procedures sought by men, while contouring and sculpting of the chest and abdomen were of the highest importance.
“Especially during COVID, we felt like so much was being taken away from us and we were stripped of our freedom. Now people are having almost a spiritual awakening or a YOLO mentality. Lockdown triggered them to ask, what am I waiting for?” says Dr. Rahal. It also didn’t hurt that many of Rahal’s patients who were supposed to be working from home could use that time for recovery from surgery.
Rahal helps men get more muscular physiques much faster than workouts or diets. His signature 360 Lipo procedure is a literally well-rounded approach to a trimmer physique. Traditionally clients would only want to target love handles, but that approach can look incomplete and out of balance. Officially known as the 360-degree Circumferential Torso procedure, the whole body (other than the arms and legs), is addressed. Rahal turns his patients six times during the course of the liposuction operation to achieve even fat removal. The procedure takes about two to three hours, and there is a two-week recovery period.
What are men specifically looking for? Apparently they want to look better both in and out of clothes. Men want their chest sculpted to get that classic V-shaped torso. “I always ask ‘When you put on a V-neck, how does it fit? Do you like the way it looks? They’re often worried about the way their dress shirts fit.”
It’s also all about looking more muscular, and Rahal has also been doing a lot more muscle enhancement recently. He takes the fat from the liposuction procedure and injects very small amounts into the deltoids, biceps, and upper chest. As an example, more than half of our pecs are actually the upper pectoral muscle. If you want to grow that through working out, you’re going to have to do a lot of incline work. “Here we contour the chest by getting rid of that fullness on the bottom while redistributing some of it to the upper pec. It’s a redistribution of volume, looking more masculine and more attractive in clothing.”
Rahal can also use that fat to enhance your abs. Ab sketching is a procedure that targets the fat on your abdominal wall to make abdominal muscles appear to be more prominent. Rahal goes one better, taking small portions of fat — called aliquots — and strategically placing them in the muscles to further enhance bulk and size, further enhancing the silhouette. “These very delicate modifications can go a long way,” he says.
We wondered if there were a specific body type that men have been requesting. “Male psychology is pretty different that way,” says Rahal. “While a woman may come in and mention a name, I’ve never had a man come in with a picture of Brad Pitt or George Clooney and say, ‘I want to look like him in a suit.'” Rahal says that he finds men to be more introspective and logical. Most of his clients request a powerful, more muscular look that will look good in their power suits. “There is a smaller group of men where the word I’ve gotten is ‘boyish.’ They want to look thinner and slenderer, not so muscular.”
Rahal is also seeing more patients who are transgender or seeking a more androgynous look. “It’s a small percentage of my business, but it has increased over the last three or four years. Some want to have a more feminine pelvis and lower body, but a boyish upper body.”
But then what happens when you get back to your workout? Do you lose that strategically placed fat? Rahal shares one intriguing theory that, when transferring fat cells, doctors may actually be moving stem cells that can change and proliferate into different types of cells. That may allow you to build up muscle quicker with a local growth effect. (Rahal emphasizes that the theory is not proven.)
Rahal insists that post-surgery, very little maintenance is required. “If these procedures required a very restrictive lifestyle they would fail. I see two types of people. They are either fitness junkies or people who never want to walk into a gym. Plastic surgery is not going to change their behavior.” Most of his patients go to the gym, work out, and eat right; but recognize that to look a certain way they can’t afford to slip up even for a weekend, let alone a vacation. Months of progress can be reversed in just a few days. “I can get them to a place where they are happy with their bodies, without making major sacrifices.”