One of the most common reasons men appear for facial plastic surgery revolves around one issue…they are tired of looking tired. Even though they get 7 or 8 hours of sleep, every morning someone eventually asks if they had slept well. Most men over age 50 can relate. They want their face to look as good as they feel and can be frustrating when it is not.
The classic story that I often tell is one of the differences between being younger and older. In college you pull an all-nighter and the next day, looking like you had, proudly proclaim your accomplishment when asked. When you are older you get 8 hours of sleep, go into work and the first thing someone asks is…did you pull an all-nighter?
Eyelid lifts, or blepharoplasties, can clean up that tired look by removing extra skin and fat from around the eyes that has developed over the years. But blepharoplasty is just one of the growing number of cosmetic procedures that more men are having. Facelifts, hair transplants and stomach and love handle liposuction make up most of the age-fighting operations.
While men were once just a minute fraction of any plastic surgeon’s practice, those numbers have grown to represent 15% to 20% today. Men of all ages are growing more comfortable with the idea of getting help for their looks. It is simply more acceptable today, another example of the rapidly changing social attitudes sweeping our society. Most men are interested in improving their appearances but without taking too much time from work. It also doesn’t hurt that plastic surgery reality shows (do men really watch these?) and affordable financing have also promoted interest.
Another galvanizing drive for man having plastic surgery is job insecurity and staying competitive. While looking good and appearing energetic has always been important, in a tough job market it is important to look as best as one can. I just had a man come in last week who was between jobs and wanted to look good for interviews. The competitive nature of men can make them willing to try something they believe will give them an edge in an interview or a potential business transaction. The practical economics of men also has them saying such changes are an investment in their future.
The internet has also fueled this male cosmetic surgery interest, specifically internet dating. I have had more than one man who has told me he can’t post a current picture online of the way he looks now. One patient even told me a woman embarrassed him by commenting in an e-mail exchange about his eye bags. (he reposted his picture after his eyelid lifts)
Men fear more than women that undergoing plastic surgery will make them look too drastically changed or have a ‘surgical look’. While there are certainly some male celebrities and actors that have that look, they are the exception. In reality, getting rid of those sagging jowls and droopy eyelids can definitely make one look less tired and more alert but the change is almost always subtle and natural.
Dr. Barry Eppley
When it comes to plastic surgery, women are perceived to make up the vast majority of patients. And for the entire last century as plastic surgery evolved, this was historically true. But a gender shift is occurring in whom now chooses to undergo the altering effects of the knife.
In a recent article entitled, ‘Men Fuel Rebound in Plastic Surgery: Sizeable Increases in Facelifts and Other Surgical Procedures for Men’ that appeared in the Science Daily, more men than ever before are having something ‘done’. Statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) show that cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were up about 2 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. However, male plastic surgery procedures increased significantly. Facelifts for men were up nearly 15 percent in 2010 while liposuction of the male chest, stomach and love handles increased almost 10 percent.
These same statistics show that men underwent more than 1 million cosmetic procedures last year, close to 20 percent of all plastic surgery that was done. While many of the cosmetic procedures that have accounted for the overall large increases in plastic surgery during the last decade have been non-surgical (e.g., Botox, injectable fillers), men buck this trend. Men actually do very little of these minimally-invasive treatments and choose surgery instead.
By the very nature of most men, they usually wait longer to consider having something done and have more significant age-related and weight issues. Because Botox and injectable fillers only work to a certain point, the more significant effects of age and gravity require surgical procedures that remove and lift skin or actually removes fat to show a significant improvement.
Another trend in male plastic surgery can be seen in whom shows up to request these procedures. While once thought of as just for celebrities and high profile men, the typical male cosmetic surgery patient is just the average guy who wants to look as good as he can. The most common reason I hear is that ‘I want to look as good as I feel’. Other underlying motivations can be a recent divorce or remarriage or is driven by job security or seeking new employment. In any case, looking vigorous, fit and well rested is the new norm for aging gracefully. These leads to the middle-aged or older male seeking procedures such as eyelid tucks (blepharoplasty), necklift, nose reshaping (rhinoplasty) and hair transplantation.
The newest burgeoning area is the young male plastic surgery patient. While not subject to aging concerns, they are interested in changing their facial look albeit to have a more balanced or masculine-looking face. Seeking more of a ‘male model’ look, structural changes of the face such as rhinoplasty and cheek, chin and jaw angle implants have the younger male driven by the desire to become better looking.
While you may never see a male patient on the TV shows, such as ‘Extreme Makeover’ and the new ‘Pretty Hurts’, more men are undergoing physical changes and adjustments than ever before…they just don’t talk about it.
Dr. Barry Eppley