Although it may not be talked about in the locker room, at the football game, or in the executive’s corner office, more men than ever are having plastic surgery. It’s estimated that 13% of all cosmetic surgery patients are men, which is a significant increase. In many ways, the reasons for choosing to have cosmetic surgery are the same regardless of the sex of the patient. As we age, men, and women decide they want to look better, younger, less tired, and more confident. Men tend to make the move to surgery later than women do, but they reap the same rewards:
a renewed self-confidence
improved body image
Nationally the most requested surgery for both sexes continues to be liposuction. There are two main reasons that inspire men to finally make the decision to have plastic surgery:
Competition in the Workplace – Baby boomers are competing sometimes with much younger adults, many of whom don’t know a world without cell phones, laptops and being constantly connected to the internet. During much of my medical career I would never have envisioned advertising on the internet, and the term “blog” hadn’t even been invented yet. Staying up with the ever changing technology is only part of the struggle men face in whatever career path they’ve chosen, and if they look too much like their colleagues’ father or heaven forbid, even their grandfather, they may be unfairly perceived as less savvy, resistant to change and outdated. In this job market, that’s a black mark no one wants.
Divorce – While divorce is painful and disrupting at any age, when it happens later in life, it can have a devastating impact on self-image. Again, remaining competitive is an important factor when re-entering the dating world sometimes after a decade or more of marriage. More than that is rebuilding a self-confidence that may have taken a beating during the process of dissolving a marriage. Regaining a physical assurance can assist a newly single man when he begins dating again.
Liposuction is not a weight loss tool, but used appropriately, it can be effectively used in removing isolated pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. “Love handles”, “beer bellies” and “double chins” are all areas where liposuction combined with a low fat diet and exercise can be very effective in achieving a trim, athletic build. Men who are completely frustrated come in to my office after they have spent hundreds of hours in the gym doing all kinds of core/abdominal exercises trying to achieve that elusive “six pack” shown so often in magazines of all types. The problem may not be that the muscles aren’t developed enough, but that there’s a layer of fat and tissue that is covering the muscles. Using a small cannula, that layer of fat can be removed and within a few weeks after all the surgery induced swelling has dissipated, the true musculature is visible. If the patient continues to keep their weight in check and their fitness level fairly constant, they can forget about the love handles and beer belly permanently.
There are areas of our bodies where no exercise is going to make any difference. Men who are very fit and completely happy with their appearance otherwise, may still have to deal with jowls, double chin, and/or turkey neck. Often I’ll hear that one morning the patient looked in the mirror and saw their father’s neck and chin where it wasn’t wanted. Some patients are genetically predisposed to very early on develop crepey skin on the neck that can severely age any man’s appearance. While the face and body may not announce your true age, if your neck looks old, you look old. A short two-hour surgical procedure, including liposuction, can remove the excess fat and skin. This one procedure alone can dramatically improve the patient’s profile and overall look.
While liposuction is the procedure most often selected by men, there are other procedures men are choosing which we’ll be discussing in this series over the next few days. Check back with us to see the changes underway in men’s health.