Published on August 20th, 2012 | by Andrea Perry0
New face of plastic surgery
Growing number of men seek out cosmetic procedures
By Karen Dandurant
August 12, 2012 2:00 AM
Cosmetic surgery is no longer merely the realm of Hollywood celebrities, and its potential improvements are not just sought by women.
Procedures being sought by men are now considered mainstream. Doctors say the number of men who seek cosmetic surgery, while still less than women, is growing every year.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2011, men received 796,086 cosmetic procedures. While that is slightly less than 10 percent of the figure for women, at 8,398,424, it is still significant.
Statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show more men are going under the knife. Overall cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in men were up 2 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. However, many male surgical procedures increased significantly. Facelifts for men rose 14 percent in 2010 while male liposuction increased 7 percent.
The 2010 ASPS statistics show the majority of the men’s top 10 fastest-growing cosmetic procedures are surgical, which bucks the previous trend of growth in minimally-invasive treatments.
“The growth in cosmetic surgical procedures for men may be a product of our aging baby boomers that are now ready to have plastic surgery,” said ASPS President Phillip Haeck, M.D. “Minimally-invasive procedures such as Botox and soft-tissue fillers work to a point. However, as you age and gravity takes over, surgical procedures that lift the skin are necessary in order to show significant improvement.”
Local cosmetic surgeons agree with the ASPS, based on the trends they are seeing in their practices.
“I definitely see a lot more men every year,” said Dr. Richard Zeff, M.D., P.A., in Stratham. “We are not all born with perfect bodies. Some come to see me with aesthetic concerns. There is something they want to improve.”
Others come for professional reasons, he said.
“If you are 64 years old and competing with a 40-year-old in the job market it can be intimidating,” he said. “You may feel young and up to the job, but that might not be how you think others perceive you. The men can’t stand that they look much older than they feel, older than they perceive themselves.”
There are two main types of cosmetic adjustments, those requiring surgery and those considered minimally invasive. According to the 2010 ASPS statistics, the top five surgical procedures sought by men are rhinoplasty (nose), eyelids tightening, liposuction, breast reduction and hair transplants. The top five less-invasive procedures are Botox, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and soft-tissue fillers.
Zeff said he sees a lot of the non-invasive procedure requests.
“It’s more comfortable and there really is no downside,” he said. “Botox lasts three to five months. The tissue fillers are good for about one year.”
Liposuction is a big area of choice for both men and women. Zeff said men seek liposuction for those “love handles” around the waist.
“There is a common misconception that a person who seeks liposuction has failed, or is taking the easy way out when it comes to weight loss,” Zeff said. “Losing weight is great, but you still have the same body. It doesn’t change your fat distribution. If you are pear-shaped; you’ll be a smaller pear shape. If you have a spare tire around your middle, you will be smaller, with a spare tire. A thousand sit-ups a day won’t rid you of fat in those places you are aiming for. Liposuction can change your body shape.”
Men, as they get older, also want gynocomastia, a procedure to reduce the size of their breasts.
“I have men, some who would otherwise appear to be in good shape who come to me and say they haven’t taken their shirt off at the beach in 30 years,” Zeff said. “It’s a terrible embarrassment for them. It is fairly easy to remedy but as a necessity, we will first rule out any possibility of breast cancer.”
In his experience, facials are not as common in men as in women, but spot adjustments are, Zeff said. He does a lot with eyelid surgery for men, either reducing or increasing skin, as needed.
Of course, society and American culture play a large role in requests for cosmetic surgery. Zeff said people buy into the public perception of youth and beauty, men included. That can pose its own ethical quandaries.
“It’s undeniable,” he said. “The cosmetic industry works hard to promote their products. The truly ethical among us have to weigh those requests carefully. Physical enhancement must be ethically reasonable. There is a term, dysmorphia, meaning an attempt to make yourself completely into something you are not. I have seen this in women, but I personally have never seen a case in a male yet.”
Dr. Charles Gaudet of Portsmouth said men now seek cosmetic surgery because they want to look more youthful, more refreshed. And, they also go because it is now more accepted in society.
“Men have more of a comfort level with the procedures now,” Gaudet said. “It’s not just something they see as done in Hollywood or New York City. They know the procedures are available and they are taking advantage of the confidence it gives them. The only real difference I see is that men tend to do this privately, where women are more open to discussing cosmetic surgery with their friends.”
Gaudet said men make up about 10 percent of his practice now. He routinely does eyelid surgery, facial rejuvenations, and liposuction and breast reduction.
“Most of the men I see come in knowing exactly what they want to do,” he said. “They love to engage in discussions about the possibilities but for the most part know what they want and stick to that. They are tired of people saying they look tired. They are tired of looking old for their age.”
Plastic surgeons say another trend they see in male plastic surgery is the type of patient seeking their services.
“Typically, people think of celebrities and high profile men undergoing cosmetic surgery,” said Dr. Stephen Baker, M.D., an ASPS member surgeon based in Washington, D.C. “And while that may be true, the typical male cosmetic surgery patient that I see is an average guy who wants to look as good as he feels. Most of my patients are ‘men’s men,’ the kind of guy you might not think would have plastic surgery.”
Baker said baby boomers now reaching retirement age are the new face of the male plastic surgery trend.
“They want to look good. So when they have the financial means to do it, they are ready to do it now,” Baker said.
In fact, one of Baker’s patients is an “average Joe.” Joe recently underwent a facelift and eyelid surgery. The 57-year old said, “I didn’t feel that old. I felt young. I was working out. I was pretty active and I wanted to look like I felt inside.”
Joe also said his girlfriend supported his decision to have plastic surgery.
Fees charged by the members of the surgical team vary depending on the desired cosmetic surgery. The average cost is: liposuction from $2,000, facelift from between $5,000 to $10,000, Botox injections from $300, eyelid surgery from $2,000, nose job from $3,000.
Elective cosmetic surgery, as with any surgical procedure, does have risks as well as benefits.