Cosmetic plastic surgery has long been gender-biased with the vast majority of patients being women. While one could argue that this speaks significantly towards our societal standards and to women in general, men are increasingly having plastic surgery as well. While men still make up less than 20% of surgery and office-based cosmetic procedures, those numbers continue to increase each year.
What separates men from women in plastic surgery is two-fold. First and perhaps surprising to many, most men require extreme discretion and privacy. Men are much more sensitive to how they might be perceived by others for having plastic surgery. Secondly and not surprisingly, the type of procedures that men undergo in plastic surgery are different from women. The top male cosmetic procedures in my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice are nose reshaping (rhinoplasty), eyelid tucks (blepharoplasty), facelifts, gynecomastia reduction and liposuction.
Liposuction still remains the most requested procedure for men. Unlike women, however, male liposuction is done in the abdomen, love handle, and neck areas. Even in relatively lean individuals, fat collections at the side of the waist and flanks are common as one ages. Even in men that work out regularly, those love handles can be impossible to work off. Today’s liposuction techniques have been refined to produce better results with less risk of skin irregularities and etching procedures are now available for the leaner male who want an easy way to the ’six-pack’ abdominal look.
In younger males and teenagers, nose reshaping (rhinoplasty) remains a popular operation. Putting the nose into better balance with the rest of the face can make a significant aesthetic change. It is not commonly done in men over forty who have come to accept the shape of their nose. Changing the nose in mid-life may make one feel ‘not like themselves’. Rhinoplasty may frequently be performed with chin augmentation for an overall better facial profile. Computer imaging is used before surgery to determine what changes to make on the nose and whether chin augmentation would be beneficial.
Gynecomastia reduction is the one male plastic surgery procedure that is really on the rise. Whether it be a small protrusion of the nipple in a teenager, to a more traditional larger gynecomastia in adolescents, to the sagging and deflated appearance in the middle-aged and older male, improvement in the male chest is sought out like never before. Liposuction, nipple lifting and reduction, and pectoral implants are potential methods for male chest enhancement. Refined liposuction techniques, known as etching, provides better definition to the pectoral muscle outlines which can be combined with any of the other chest contouring procedures.
Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) in the male is the best way to get rid of that tired and saggy eye look. Unlike women, most men wait until they have a lot more loose eyelid skin and wrinkles before considering surgery. Browlifting is rarely done in men lest they end up having the ‘Kenny Rogers’ result. Removal of eyelid skin and fat should be conservative in men to appear less tired and more rested, not create a new look. In the more senior male, the upper eyelids can become heavy with skin hanging down onto the eyelashes resulting in obstruction of one’s vision. Upper eyelid surgery in this situation can help one see better than they have for years.
Facelifts are the most misunderstood cosmetic procedure for men. As a tuck-up for the neck and jowls, a facelift only improves the jaw line and neck angle. Like eyelid tucks, men often wait until they have a very noticeable neck wattle that may interfere with shirt closure and may move unflatteringly when the head turns. Facelifting in men is best done in moderation, producing a neck change that is improved but not too dramatic. In very large neck wattles, a direct neck lift is a simpler and easier solution with the trade-off of a thin neck scar.
Dr. Barry Eppley