Cosmetic Surgery and Athletes
We generally don't consider athletes to be big fans/users of plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery. However, amateur and professional athletes are better candidates for plastic surgery than we first may realize. Between the constant risk of physical trauma that comes standard with their job, and the necessity for celebrities and successful sports stars to maintain their looks, professional athletes are becoming a greater presence in plastic surgeons' offices across the country.
Let's take a closer look at the reasons why various athletes are choosing cosmetic surgery procedures today—as well as list some of the most popular plastic surgery procedures for athletes!
Plastic Surgery for Athletes
Amateur and professional athletes often choose plastic surgery to correct a disfiguring sports injury, and/or to enhance their physical athleticism or abilities. Among athletes and sports stars who undergo plastic surgery for corrective purposes, or to increase their athletic performance, some correlations can be found between an athlete's chosen sport and their choice of plastic surgery procedure.
Rhinoplasty for Athletes
Rhinoplasty surgery, or a nose job, is a very popular plastic surgery procedure for today's male athletes in particular. Obviously, rhinoplasty surgery is most common among athletes who regularly sustain injuries to their face. Sports that seem to welcome broken noses include contact sports such as basketball, soccer, kickboxing, rugby, hockey, martial arts and boxing. Rhinoplasty surgery is definitely the top surgical solution for realigning a nose that was disfigured during athletic competition, or otherwise.
Academy Award nominee and amateur boxer, Mickey Rourke suffered a broken nose on top of many other boxing injuries during his career. In addition to lip augmentation and facelift surgery, it's speculated that Rourke underwent rhinoplasty surgery as well, for both corrective and anti-aging purposes.
Otoplasty for Athletes
To correct asymmetrical, overly prominent or disfigured ears, otoplasty surgery is a popular procedure choice for men, women and children. Otoplasty surgery is also a common choice for correcting ear tissue and cartilage deformities resulting from sports injuries. Athletes who require corrective ear surgery are usually boxers, due to the regularity with which they receive blows to the ears and head. However, other contact sports that don't require protective headgear can also lead to ear injuries and the need for otoplasty surgery. Boxers as well as rugby players, wrestlers and martial artists may require otoplasty at some point in their athletic career.
Boxers who undergo otoplasty are often choosing surgery to correct the condition called "cauliflower ear". Named for the way the ear tissue will start to resemble a cauliflower, cauliflower ear develops following repeated or severe trauma to the ear that results in a blood clot. If cauliflower ear is left untreated by athletes and boxers, otoplasty may be required to correct the resulting mangled scar tissue that grows in response.
One reported case of boxer cauliflower ear developed following the 2008 boxing match of Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson, where Thompson suffered a powerful blow to one of his ears. And the most famous example of a boxing athlete undergoing otoplasty is arguably Evander Holyfield's ear reconstructive surgery, following the infamous 1997 "ear-biting" match against Mike Tyson.
Breast Reduction for Athletes
Breast reduction for athletes is a more popular surgery for female sports stars. If a female athlete is naturally endowed, she may choose to have breast reduction surgery to help her sporting career take off. Breast reduction is particularly popular among female runners, gymnasts, tennis players, volleyball players, etc. Breast reduction surgery for female athletes can reduce pain and discomfort during competition and exercise, as well as provide more freedom of movement, and even increase speed and agility. Simona Halep, a young Romanian tennis player, underwent a much-publicized breast reduction surgery in 2009, to downsize her 34D chest and combat her issues of ongoing athletic discomfort.
Cosmetic Dentistry for Athletes
Everyone wants to have a healthy smile full of white teeth. Unfortunately for athletes who participate in wrestling, boxing, lacrosse, hockey, and other contact sports where facial injuries are common, damage to the teeth can be frequent, severe and obvious. There's a reason why hockey players are stereotypically associated with missing teeth. Just ask actor Alan Thicke, Growing Pains star and hockey hobbyist, who lost five teeth during a pick-up hockey game in 2003!
Popular cosmetic dentistry procedures for boxers, hockey players etc. can include veneers and dental implants. Hockey players wear helmets with a half face shield, and are required to wear neck guards too, but full-on protective headgear is generally shunned in favor of having unrestricted vision while in play. Consequently, hockey players' mouths and lower jaws are often fair game for stray hockey pucks, hockey sticks, elbows, etc. No wonder most professional hockey teams' medical staff includes a team dentist!
Cosmetic Surgery Procedures for Athletes
The procedures listed above cover some of the most popular corrective plastic surgery procedures for athletes. However, the procedures discussed below are increasingly chosen by athletes for strictly cosmetic reasons.
Pectoral Implants for Athletes
Breast augmentation is rare among professional female athletes, with the exception of female bodybuilders and the like. Male athletes, however, undergo pectoral implants or pec implants with more regularity, to create a more masculine chest contour when their pectoral muscles haven't been ideally enhanced through exercise alone.
Pectoral implant surgery is most common for male athletes who bare their upper bodies during competition. For example, pectoral implants for professional swimmers and surfers may be more common than pectoral implants for baseball players and football players—although cosmetic surgery for male athletes across the board is becoming a greater trend.
Male body builders also tend to be recipients of pectoral implants. However, due to the flexing and muscle manipulation techniques they perform during competition, some male body builders dislike pec implants' occasional tendency to distort in an obvious or unattractive manner during an event. Of course, this will also depend on the size and placement of the pectoral implant.
Calf Implants for Athletes
Calf implants and buttock implants are also being performed more regularly for athletes and sports stars today. Like other celebrities, professional athletes can feel a tremendous amount of pressure to exude physical perfection. The athletic focus of their career field, as well as their tendency to be a famous face (and body) in the media, can lead male and female athletes to seek out cosmetic surgery as the answer.
Calf implant surgery is especially popular among body builders and professional track stars, for whom it is increasingly important to display good leg musculature. Buttock implants can also give certain athletes, especially female athletes, more confidence in body-hugging attire. Professional volleyball players, who tend to compete in bathing suits, may also choose buttock implants to enhance their physical assets in such low-coverage garb.
Liposuction for Athletes
Initially, professional athletes may seem like the last individuals you'd expect to want or need liposuction. However, physical demands and public pressure can be tremendous for sports celebrities and athletes; even someone who's by definition "in shape" can still struggle with problem areas, including "spare tires," lack of muscle definition, and stubborn pounds in unwanted places.
To that end, liposuction surgery has become a more frequent request at plastic surgeons' offices from athletes. Whether or not plastic surgeons will perform liposuction for athletic patients is another issue altogether. With the exception of retired athletes, who may be losing the physique they once had, athletes are generally not appropriate candidates for liposuction surgery. Namely because athletes rarely exhibit the amount of excess fat required to safely perform liposuction surgery.
Steps for Athletes Interested in Plastic Surgery
If you are currently an amateur or professional athlete who's considering plastic surgery for yourself, or are someone who's pursuing plastic surgery to try and enhance your own athletic appeal, it's advised that you consult with a licensed, board-certified plastic surgeon before going any further. They will have the knowledge and expertise needed to properly assess your candidacy for plastic surgery treatments. A professional plastic surgeon can also help you determine which procedure will be right for you, and provide additional information about plastic surgery choices for athletes.
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