Social Stigma Of Male Plastic Surgery Is Fading

While women have always made up the majority of plastic surgery patients, the percentage of men is steadily increasing. More men today acknowledge what women have known all along…appearance does matter regardless of age.

While the goals are always the same, to look as good as one can, a man’s age influences why it matters. Younger men are motivated by optimal attractiveness or to correct features that they consider embarrassing. Older men are motivated by divorce, job competitiveness and countering the effects of time. The common procedures that men choose, not surprisingly, are also influenced by age.  Droopy eyelid skin and neck wattles are the concerns of older men while the removal of excessive body fat and reshaping noses, ears and chins captivate younger men.

While age may make a difference in what plastic surgery procedures men desire, there is one characteristic that they all share. Men are less patient than women, particularly when it comes to appearance issues. This means that cosmetic treatments that require regular maintenance, like Botox and injectable fillers, are not that appealing. Men prefer more of an immediate fix like what surgery does. And men do not want a lot of recovery or downtime after surgery if possible. Discretion is paramount in male cosmetic surgery. While everyone knows that men having plastic surgery is not rare, the male patient does not really want to broadcast it.

One observation that has reverberated amongst plastic surgeons for decades is that men can be difficult to please and are less satisfied than women after surgery. They also are more prone to want revisional surgery. That has not been my experience…with the exception of the younger male patient. Facelifts and eyelid surgery in the middle to older-aged male gets good results and satisfaction is just as good as women. When it comes to structural changes in the face or body contouring surgery in the younger male patient, there is some definite truth to that belief. Younger men today grow up today playing with action figures, looking at men’s magazines and seeing great emphasis placed on exercise and sports which exposes them to more pressure to have a very masculine face and body. This makes managing the expectations from surgery in younger men extremely important.

One male quality that seems to be true…and most women will probably second it as well… is that many men are not very tolerant of pain. They are less comfortable with after surgery discomfort and that is to be expected as men have never endured pregnancy and child delivery. That gives women a decisive advantage in the early after effects of many plastic surgery procedures. This is not to say that men are not tough, just not as tough as women when it comes to appearance alteration.

Last year over one million men underwent some form of cosmetic alteration in the U.S. The stigma of men paying more attention to their appearance and grooming habits has changed alot in the past ten years. The beauty gap between men and women is closing to some degree as an increase in the desire of men to use their improved looks to remain competitive professionally and personally is on the rise.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana