Chi Tang underwent abdominoplasty, a form of liposuction that helps define the abdominal muscles.
Chi Tang

  • A New York City-based hairstylist shared his experience performing “belly pits,” an exciting new cosmetic trend among men.
  • The stylist said he worked out and ate clean, but couldn’t figure out his abs.
  • The surgery gave him the look he wanted, but the recovery process was painful.

A weightlifter in his mid-30s, Chi Tang has been working out and eating properly most of his adult life, but he just couldn’t get the exact six-pack he’d been craving. So he decided to buy one.

In 2019, Tang, a hairstylist in New York City, underwent “fake-ab” surgery, officially referred to as abdominoplasty—a form of liposuction to remove fat from around the abdominal muscles so they appear more defined.

The once little-known procedure is now hot among men, and has been referred to as the “male version of a boob job” by the reality star who performed the surgery.

Tang took Insider through his decision to have abdominoplasty and the painful recovery process, and explained why his exact results are worth $14,000.

Genetics, not just exercise, determines whether a person has a six-pack

Tang has worked out consistently since his mid-twenties, but said he was never able to achieve a set six-pack. “It wasn’t like I was big, I was pretty fit already,” Tang told Insider. “But I was looking for a specific look.”

Tang is one of the many people who eat right and work out, but can’t get six pack abs, according to personal trainer Noam Tamir, founder and CEO of TS Fitness. Tamir told Insider that working out and eating clean can make someone skinny, but getting Chris Hemsworth-style abs isn’t guaranteed. It all comes down to genetics, which cannot be changed.

New York City hairstylist Chi Tang used to work out regularly, but he couldn’t see a defined six pack until he underwent abdominoplasty.
Chi Tang

“A lot of it has to do with things that you can’t control very much,” Tamir said. “Some people can have higher body fat and have chisel abs, and then others can have lower body fat already and not see [their abs]. “

But Tang’s regular exercise and healthy diet made him a good candidate for etching surgery. Healthline reports that doctors make cuts in the skin around the abdominal muscles, then suction and drain fat deposits from the area. In this way, doctors can “drill” the abdominal muscles by removing fat cells close to the surface of the skin around where the muscles are.

Tamir said he does not guarantee visible abs for life. Like any liposuction procedure, weight gain after surgery can increase the size of remaining fat cells, thus impairing the results of the procedure. “I’ve seen a lot of people get liposuction and… [the fat] It just comes right back because they haven’t learned anything [healthy] Tamir said.

Tang described the “extremely painful” recovery period after the abdominoplasty

Searching online, Tang found a doctor in Houston who specialized in abdominoplasty. He scheduled a date, booked a flight and a hotel, and set out on his own to finally get a six-pack.

The entire procedure took less than two hours, though Tang fell asleep for it. The hairdresser woke up in his doctor’s office, where they had performed the surgery, without much pain due to the lingering effects of the anesthesia they had given him. He took a car to his hotel room the same day.

However, the next morning, Tang woke up in his hotel room in “extreme pain”. He said his stomach muscles felt “tight” and he could barely walk. “When I woke up, my reaction was, ‘Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into,’” Tang said. “I wasn’t scared but I was a little surprised, because it was such a quick decision.”

The pain and discomfort was so bad it took only 10 minutes to get up from lying down, and simple tasks, such as using the bathroom and delivering food, got in the way. Tang said he turned down more powerful, addictive painkillers, so he relied on ibuprofen and calming YouTube videos to get him through.

Chi Tang spent a week in Houston recovering after undergoing a tummy tuck.
Chi Tang

Fortunately, the pain is improving day by day and finally subsides four days after the surgery. His recovery was also accelerated by getting daily lymphatic drainage massages, which get rid of excess fluid that accumulates in the body after liposuction.

He returned to New York a week after the operation, showing up for follow-up visits approx.

The surgery cost $14,000 tang, and the hotel treatment and lymphatic massage an additional $4,000. On average, a tummy tuck costs $6,000 to $8,000, but Tang said he knew he was paying a premium to go to a specialist plastic surgeon.

Years later, Tang is still satisfied with his results

After returning to New York, Tang said his recovery went smoothly. He returned to exercising three weeks after the operation.

Swelling from the surgery takes months to go down, according to Healthline, so Tang wasn’t able to see results until about three months later.

Tang is happy with his new belly. He said that when he gains a few pounds, they no longer go to his stomach or abdomen, and instead they go to other areas of his body.

Although Tang said his family thought he was “crazy” to perform the surgery when he was already fit, seeing his physique in the mirror made the procedure too expensive – pain and all.

“Do your research, and make sure you go to a really good doctor,” Tang said. “And be sure to take some painkillers.”

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