Summary: We tend to only think of the breasts when it comes to cosmetic implants, but with continued advancements in the cosmetic industry, implants have become versatile enough to use in many different parts of the body.

When people hear about silicone implants, the first thought is probably breast implants. Enhancing contours in other parts of the body with implants, however, is becoming increasingly popular. Guys who want to look a little more cut when they take of their shirts can opt for abdominal or pectoral implants, while women may get calf implants to look a little sexier in high heels and a skirt.

The number of patients getting pectoral implants, for example, jumped more than 200% in 2014, compared to the previous year, according to statistics compiled by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® (ASPS). Although still just a fraction of the total plastic surgery operations being done annually, 1,054 pectoral implant procedures were performed in 2014, compared to 342 in 2013. That also inlcudes only surgeries done by ASPS members, so the number is likely higher.

Body implants are also used in reconstructive surgery after a patient suffers an injury or because of a congenital defect, but much of the rise in popularity for cosmetic reasons may be attributed to a cultural shift that values bigger muscles.

“Some might find it farfetched that men would care this much about their appearance — that it’s only women who are faced with the pressures of society to live up to a particular body ideal,” a blogger wrote on RealSelf, a highly popular online forum for people considering cosmetic procedures. “But if you are exposed to any media, from movies to comic books, you’ll see a male physique portrayed that sets a standard that’s hard (if not impossible) to live up to, even for guys who are active and in-shape.”

To be sure, both women and men get implants for various areas of the body. And it’s not just individuals who want to bulk up without spending hours at the gym.

“Whether to repair injuries, correct congenital defects, or shape and enlarge areas that are difficult or impossible to build up naturally, implant procedures can help women and men feel more attractive and confident,” says the website of Dr. Marc DuPéré, a plastic surgeon specializing in implant procedures. “Not limited to body builders and fitness athletes … body implant procedures are also popular among non-competitive males and females who want to have sexier proportions.”

Unlike the silicone gel breast implants used by the Toronto specialist and other plastic surgeons in breast augmentation procedures, most body implants are made of solid silicone that is firm but still soft enough to feel like natural tissue and muscle.

Besides the breasts, silicone implants can be used to enhance the:

  • Abdomen
  • Buttocks
  • Male chest
  • Calves
  • Biceps and triceps
  • Deltoids
  • Hips

Buttock augmentation is sometimes confused with a buttock lift, which is surgery to remove excess skin that is often performed after extreme weight loss. A Brazilian butt lift, on the other hand, is a type of buttock augmentation that uses a patient’s own fat to enhance the buttocks’ contours.

Most surgeons who specialize in body implant procedures say the best candidates for the surgery are patients who already have good muscle tone and have tried unsuccessfully to build muscle through weightlifting.

“Bicep and tricep implants can create muscular definition and increased mass/fullness in the upper arm area … for those men and women who, even after extensive muscular conditioning, can’t achieve the (desired) upper arm toning,” BodyImplants.com says.

With these procedure on the rise, it’s ever more important to keep safety in mind. Whether you’re inspired by celluloid superheroes or simply just want a little more definition, body implant surgery isn’t something to be undertaken lightly. Find a trained, certified plastic surgeon with a track record of success performing this kind of procedure.