More Men Are Discovering Cosmetic Surgery

Liposuction, eyelid lifts and nose jobs are popular procedures, experts say

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By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 2, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Need proof that cosmetic surgery and men is now a mainstream marriage?

Check out these statistics: While women still make up 87 percent of all cosmetic surgery patients, 1.2 million procedures were performed on men in 2004. That's a 16 percent increase since 2000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

"More men than ever before are getting plastic surgery," said Dr. Brent Moelleken, a Beverly Hills, Calif., plastic and reconstructive surgeon who says up to 20 percent of his practice includes men. "Ten years ago, it was just 5 to 10 percent."

Men choose to improve many of the same body parts as women. But they're different as cosmetic surgery patients in other ways, say the doctors who work on them.

The top five male cosmetic surgeries in 2004 were nose reshaping, hair transplantation, eyelid surgery, liposuction and breast reduction, according to the ASPS. Another organization that keeps statistics, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), has the same top five surgeries for men, although in a slightly different order.

Women also were most likely to opt for nose reshaping, eyelid surgery and liposuction, followed by breast augmentation and facelifts, according to the ASPS. The ASAPS reported nearly the same top five, but with tummy tucks nosing out nose jobs.

When it comes to minimally invasive procedures, men -- like women -- choose Botox injections, as well as chemical peels, collagen injections and microdermabrasion, a process in which a plastic surgeon uses a device like a "fine sandblaster to spray tiny crystals across the face, mixing mild abrasion with suction to remove the dead, outer layer of skin," according to the ASPS.

"Men are typically more reticent to come in for a consult," Moelleken said. And they let things slide longer. Translation: "By the time their eyelids bother them, for instance, they are really heavy."

What they don't ask for -- or want -- is dramatic change. "The first thing they tell me is, 'Don't overdo me.'" Men, as do most women, want subtle, not startling, effects, Moelleken said.

Men often choose less-invasive surgeries with less downtime, said Dr. Michael Olding, chief of plastic surgery at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery's public education committee.

"Instead of a facelift, men ask me to get rid of their neck waddle, to get rid of the turkey gobbler," Olding said, adding that if a man's a good candidate, he performs a neck lift rather than a full facelift.

The desire to retain a youthful look in today's competitive work world drives many men to Dr. Leroy Young. He's a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital in St. Louis, and chairman of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons' emerging trends task force.

"There is now very good data to show the good jobs, the promotions, go to the young and good-looking," Young said. So, men figure, why not give nature a little help, he added.

"There basically is no longer a stigma," Young said. That's partly due, he said, to the makeover reality shows on television, which he called a double-edged sword. While the multiple surgeries depicted on some shows are financially out of reach for many, the shows do create awareness of what can be accomplished under the care of a competent surgeon, he said.

But Moelleken believes there's still a perceived stigma among some men "and that's what prevents [some of] them from having plastic surgery."

Stigma or not, Moelleken wishes men would become better educated about cosmetic procedures and come in sooner, before the sagging skin and droopy eyelids get too severe. He notices that most men follow his post-op recuperation instructions -- such as resting and limiting physical activity -- well.

But Olding doesn't see a difference in compliance between men and women in following his orders after surgery. "It's more person-specific," he said. "It's not a gender thing."

Experts advise men and women considering cosmetic surgery to consult with several doctors, to check to see if they are board certified, and to get an accurate idea of exactly what the doctor can and can't do to improve their appearance.

More information

For more on men and cosmetic surgery, visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

SOURCES: Brent Moelleken, M.D., plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara, Calif.; Michael Olding, M.D., chief of plastic surgery at George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.; Leroy Young, M.D., plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, St. Louis

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