In a recently released report on cosmetic statistics in 2010, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) estimates that over 1.1 million men underwent a cosmetic procedure, either minimally invasive or surgical. And while this number is nowhere near as high as female patients (11.5 million), it is indicative of quite a few things that cosmetic procedures for males have risen 2% vs. 2009, with big gains in facelifts and liposuction.
According to Denver board certified plastic surgeon and recognized author, Dr. Gregory Buford, there were several reasons that kept male patients from seeking aesthetic procedures. The strongest being the double standard that society places on men and women when it comes to aging was weighted against women, with heavy pressure to remain looking as youthful as possible. "For men, it was socially accepted that as men aged, they became more stately."
But Dr. Buford is seeing a trend that is beginning to turn this long-time stereotype, "Now men are saying 'I'm doing everything to look good,'" and that includes getting cosmetic procedures performed, "We just added Bioidentical Hormone Replacement to our practice and a lot of men are really embracing the idea of looking good overall because they don't want to go in the bedroom and simply pop a Viagra and be great for an hour or so. They want to feel good 24 hours a day so they're coming in for testosterone replacement. They really want to change their overall life and the way they feel. They don't want just a band aid anymore."
Other procedures that Dr. Buford has seen risen in the past few years amongst his male patients include male breast reduction and chest wall reshaping. Following the 7% increase in liposuction that the ASPS reported, Dr. Buford has seen many male patients come to him for liposuction, particularly in the truncal area. "We're seeing more men come in that are saying, 'Look I'm 45 years old and I eat right, what I see to be a reasonable diet, I drink moderately, I exercise, I'm doing everything I need to do but this metabolism is just not doing it for me,'" Dr. Buford continues, "So what they want is a jump start to augment what they're already doing and really see noticeable results. And I think it's becoming a lot more common because it's become more acceptable for men to do that."
Another factor Dr. Buford says may be responsible for the push for male patients to consider cosmetic procedures is the economy. "Men are competing once again in the marketplace where there's a job shortage. And the way they look in the marketplace plays a huge role in how effective they can be in the marketplace, whether it's perceived or projected." The necessity of competing with younger and more energetic males for jobs may play a psychological desire for baby boomer males to try to look their very best in a strained market.
Similar to female patients, male patients may initially seek a cosmetic procedure to address something small. "In my practice, I see male patients who are starting out with little things here and there, such as BOTOX," says Dr. Buford. Whether their girlfriends or significant others have pointed it out to them or it's something that has been bothering them, they come in for the procedure. "And that's the gateway drug, so to speak, to the rest of what I can offer. They don't have to look young, just better and they don't have to feel foolish for wanting to look their best. Once they feel comfortable with that, then they'll have that conversation about a more major procedure such as ridding themselves of their love handles. So it's a real change in perception in terms of how plastic surgery is received overall, as well as how it's perceived with men having it done for them."