The Growing Trend of Men and Cosmetic Surgery

By Elana Pruitt © 2005 Editor

Cosmetic surgery has become a rising trend among the male population, considerably escalating into 2005. With regards to age and ethnicity, the type of men turning to plastic surgery for cosmetic enhancement is colorfully changing. While many men may deem plastic surgery as a good business move, disclosing the amount of "work they’ve had" remains a touchy topic.

Cosmetic Surgery For MenAmerican Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 82 percent of women and 79 percent of men said they would not be embarrassed if others know they had cosmetic surgery. But for men, talking about it is another story.

"Men who have cosmetic procedures are just as happy as women with the results and just as likely to have further surgery," says east coast cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, Steve R. Fallek, M.D. "However, it just doesn’t come up in normal male conversation. Men are reluctant to talk about their appearance or themselves. They will talk about their workout and the gym, and that’s about it."

Cosmetic Surgery For Men

According to new ASPS reports, American men had nearly 1.2 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures in 2004, which is 10 percent of the 11.9 million cosmetic procedures performed last year in the United States. Liposuction, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, male breast reduction, and hair transplants were the top five surgical cosmetic procedures for men last year, and Dr. Fallek predicts that most of these trends will remain popular procedures in 2005.

According to the ASPS, surgical improvements like a more balanced nose, a rejuvenated face, and a trimmer waistline are common goals among men.

Elliot W. Jacobs, M.D., a New York plastic surgeon, admits that about 40 percent of men in his practice request "very conservative surgery so that nothing is too noticeable."

Generally, men and women want to feel confident in the way they look, be happy with how their clothes fit, and hope their image justifies that. In the workplace, gaining respect and getting that better paid position amongst younger coworkers is reason enough for many men to invest in cosmetic procedures; the "baby boomer" generation is considered by doctors a prominent age group among peers seeking a younger and more refined image.

"The parents of the baby boomers elected to ‘grow old gracefully’ because they really had no other choice," says Dr. Jacobs. "This generation does have a choice — and due to the popularity and safety of most cosmetic procedures, men have decided to improve their appearance as much as women do."

Collectively in 2004, American men and women ages 35 to 50 had 5.3 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures, the 51 to 64 age group had 2.9 million, and the 65-and-over age group had about 750,000 of all cosmetic procedures, according to the ASPS.

Why Do Men Have Plastic Surgery?

"Aging executives want to look younger, less tired and more vigorous, so that they can retain their jobs," says Dr. Jacobs. "Men who have lost their jobs and are interviewing for a new one may seek plastic surgery so that they too look younger, less tired, and more vigorous, plus they can lie about their age on a job application."

Could it be said that men are feeling pressure from the media and society’s intense value on beauty, something that women have endured for years? With significantly, increasing numbers of men choosing plastic surgery as the means to improving their body, some experts may agree.

Predicting that men and women will continue "to seek less invasive, minimal incision surgery and nonsurgical quick fixes with minimal downtime," like a mid-face lift, short scar facelift, mini tummy tuck with liposuction, and male breast reduction with liposuction, Dr. Jacobs simply points out the major trend in 2005: "More and more men are having some type of cosmetic work performed."

Between men and women, the ethnic composition of patients choosing plastic surgery is taking a new direction. The ASPS reports that racial and ethnic minorities accounted for 20 percent of all cosmetic procedures in 2003, with an increase of 1 percent from 2002, and the rise in minorities undergoing cosmetic surgery looks to exceed 20 percent of the total procedures performed in 2005.

"There does not seem to be a dominant group, but there is an upswing in males from all ethnic groups who are seeking surgery," asserts Dr. Jacobs. "I would include blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Arabs, and Indians — from all parts of the globe! In my practice, Caucasian males are becoming a minority of all the males that I treat."

cosmetic plastic surgery is elective and should be done for the right reasons," says Dr. Fallek, predicting that two new areas of increase for men will include chin/ neck liposuction and pubic rejuvenation. Dr. Fallek admits that one of the most overlooked areas of the body is the pubic region.

"With the fashion trend of low cut jeans and pants, this area is becoming much more visible," he affirms. "In addition, men and women have begun paying closer attention to the appearance of this area including treatments such as laser hair removal and the Brazilian bikini waxing."

Addressing this problem, Dr. Fallek coined the "PULL" technique, which stands for Pubic Undermining Lift and Liposuction. He says it is a safe and effective way to rejuvenate this part of the body without resorting to genital surgery, combining skin and fat excision in the upper pubic area with liposuction in the lower pubic area and surrounding areas, he says.

As numbers pile up among men seeking surgical improvements, with help from media-driven images and big business competition, seeking cosmetic surgery in 2005 means at least one thing — it’s not just a girl thing anymore.