The Changing Face of Plastic Surgery

This week, I asked my office manager to subscribe to Men’s Health, Car and Driver and Esquire Magazine. Each week, I’m noticing more and more men in my waiting room and I’ve realized I have nothing for them to read. Apparently this rise in male cosmetic surgery is not just a phenomenon at my practice. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has been keeping track of cosmetic surgery trends in the United States for the past 16 years and in it’s most recent report released last month, statistics indicate that cosmetic surgery among men is on the rise. During 2012, men accounted for 13 % of all cosmetic surgery procedures and 9% of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. This is a 106% increase since 1997. This got me wondering, “Why?”

You would think in a tough economy, there would be a decline in elective surgery. But maybe, therein lies the answer. Perhaps it’s the fierce job market that’s driving men to consider cosmetic procedures, hoping it will give them a competitive edge over their more youthful counterparts. In fact I just recently learned that research from the University of Texas indicates that “good looking” people are hired sooner, land promotions faster and earn an average of 3 to 4 percent more than those with “below-average” looks. Seems a bit superficial, but an interesting statement about our values nonetheless. Maybe as college tuition becomes less affordable, parents should set up a beauty fund instead. Just kidding.

Or maybe, as I suggested in a previous post, social media and our increased ability to meet “face to face” online are fueling this trend. Whether it’s perception or reality, we can’t help but feel a little more self-conscience when the face looking back at you resembles your father instead of the youthful image you hold onto of years gone by.

Another factor that could play into this trend is that men are taking better care of themselves than they did in previous generations. It’s understandable that they want their face to match their more youthful physique. What do they say…40 is the new 30? We may feel younger, but gravity and nature tell a different story.

So let’s take a look at the top 4 procedures being requested by men:

Liposuction – Over 40,000 men had liposuction in 2012. Just a few years ago, men seeking liposuction were simply interested in shedding the spare tire. Today, however, with advances in liposuction technique, it is just as common for men to request this procedure to create better delineation of an abdominal six-pack.

Rhinoplasty – Unlike women, men who have work done on their nose favor strong, masculine features. In fact, many men choose to make subtle changes, keeping minor imperfections and embracing ethnic characteristics. Others choose to balance a larger nose with a chin augmentation, a procedure that has experienced a 71% increase among men in the last couple years.

Eyelid Surgery – Approximately 23,000 men had blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery in 2012. Typically, men who choose eyelid surgery most often do so to look more refreshed and rejuvenated. Older men have told me they feel this gives them a leg up when compared to younger co-workers. They look well-rested, and their rejuvenated appearance gives them a boost in self-esteem.

My patient Fred chose to have eyelid surgery a few months ago, after he and his girlfriend broke up. He wanted to begin dating again and felt like the bags under his eyes really aged him. At a recent follow-up appointment he told me how glad he was that he went through with it. He was boasting to me about a recent date with a woman who thought he was 49 years old. With a chuckle he confessed, “I’m almost 60!” Not only does he look younger, but he says the procedure made him feel younger too.

Gynecomastia Correction - In 2012, approximately 23,000 men had gynecomastia correction, or male breast reduction. This condition can cause embarrassment and low self esteem among adolescents boys and men of all ages. Although the technique has remained the same, this 29% increase from 2011 to 2012 is most like due to heightened awareness and overall acceptance making this procedure less of a taboo.

My office has always been clean, contemporary and aesthetically pleasing for my female patients. As more and more men congregate in the waiting room however, I’m starting to think a Man Cave motif might just be in my future. Life is good!


Got Questions? Ask Dr. Jeff!

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Please note that unless you are actually my patient, in which case I have seen and evaluated you at JW Plastic Surgery, then I am technically not your doctor. These posts and responses to inquiries are provided for educational and entertainment purposes but cannot apply to any individual patient who has not been directly evaluated by myself or another Board-certified plastic surgeon.


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