Time was when physical beauty was not deemed important for men in matters of attracting a mate. The ability to command financial and other resources was thought to be enough to draw women and this was one major reason why older and richer men have always been able to mate with younger, good-looking women. However due to the stress on physical perfection in the contemporary consumerist culture, even men with ample resources to command have been opting for plastic surgery both as a way of enhancing their self-worth in an increasingly competitive society as well as to attract women. In 2011, 9% of surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in the U.S. were conducted on men, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery — a whopping 121% increase since 19971. So here are the five most popular plastic surgeries that men have been going for in today’s world.
The April 2012 news article in Los Angeles Times referred to above mentions that Lipoplasty tops the list of the different kinds of plastic surgical procedures that men are opting for. While the number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed in the U.S. increased only 1% from 2010 to 2011, the number of males getting liposuction has been on the rise. More than 41,000 lipoplasty procedures were performed in 2011, marking a substantial increase of increasing 14% since 2010.
Liposuction is a type of cosmetic surgery which breaks up and "sucks" fat from various possible parts of the body, most commonly the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, neck, chin, upper and backs of the arms, calves, and back. The instrument used to remove the fat is a hollow instrument known as a cannula which is inserted under the skin and to which a powerful, high-pressure vacuum is applied that in turn sucks up the fat.
That liposuction should be the most popular type of cosmetic surgery undergone by men in the US hardly comes as a surprise considering that obesity rates are perpetually on the rise in the country. An updated analysis of trends and social disparities in obesity released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2010 February ranked USA as the country with the highest percentage of overweight men and women among the developed countries in the world. According to this report2 around 33.8% of people in the US are overweight while, according to a US government resource3.
Popularly known as a nose job, rhinoplasty comes only second to liposuction as the most common plastic surgical procedure among men. Unlike liposuction, rhinoplasty is not really a way to redress the consequences of a lifestyle disease such as obesity but more a way of correcting a congenital defect.
As a type of plastic surgery, rhinoplasty involves the reshaping of the nose - it can make the nose larger or smaller; change the angle of the nose in relation to the upper lip; alter the tip of the nose; or correct bumps, indentations, or other defects in the nose. One of the prominent features of the face, the nose can have a big impact on a man’s self-image and appearance. Men, who are unhappy with their nose and have been so for a long time, usually end up considering rhinoplasty once time and resources are at their disposal. However surgeons warn that as with other cosmetic procedures, patients are more likely to be happy with the results of rhinoplasty if they have clear, realistic expectations about what the surgery can achieve and they share these with their surgeon.
Rhinoplasty may also be performed for non-cosmetic procedures for instance to correct structural problems with the nose that cause chronic congestion and breathing problems.
- Eyelid surgery
According to the LA Times article quoted above, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates that almost 23,000 eyelid surgeries were performed on men in 2011, marking an increase of 6%, since 2010. One of the largest drivers of the trend of men going for cosmetic surgery is the simple fact that a sizable portion of the U.S. population is aging. People between the ages 35 to 64 account for 71% of all cosmetic procedures in the U.S., according to the 2011 International Study of Aesthetic/Cosmetic Surgery Procedures. Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of Beverly Hills, a Harvard-trained plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, points out that this is one of the main reasons why men are increasingly going for liposuction and eyelid surgery since among the first places where aging is noticed on the body are the eyes and the midsection and also because these are among the most difficult to remedy without surgery.
Also known as blepharoplasty, the primary cosmetic purpose of eyelid surgery is removal of fat from the eyelids, which is usually the cause of puffiness and bags, according to the webpage of American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, eyelid surgery can also be considered to treat excess skin and fine, “crepe paper type” wrinkles of the lower eyelids, lower eyelid droopiness, correct excess skin obscuring the natural fold of the upper eyelids as well as loose skin hanging down from the upper eyelids, perhaps impairing vision.
- Male breast reduction surgery
So known as gynecomastia, breast reduction for men is the surgical correction of over-developed or enlarged breasts in men. Technically called reduction mammaplasty, this procedure reduces breast size thus flattening and enhancing the chest contours. The exact technique of gynecomastia depends on the extent of fat to be removed from the male chest portions and accordingly could include liposuction, excision or both. Breast reduction is the fourth most popular cosmetic surgical procedure among males, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Nearly 17,000 male breast reduction procedures were performed in 2009, a 50 percent increase since 1997. The majority of these procedures, almost 58 percent, were performed on men ages 19-345.
A procedure which has become synonymous with facelifts among women so much so that it has transformed in a verb even, is fast catching up with men too. According to figures provided by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Botox was ranked the most popular cosmetic procedure by Forbes6 with 313,519 male procedures in 2005 which marked a staggering rise of 233% from 2000 to 2005. Though these Botox numbers were provided for the sites injected, not the number of patients, still there can be little doubt about the fact that it is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries opted by men.
Botox is a popular non-surgical injection that blocks nerve impulses, temporarily paralyzing the muscles that cause wrinkles. The immense popularity of Botox owes to the fact to its minimal invasive nature which does not involve lengthy recovery time or extensive bruising. Dr. David McDaniel, Virginia-based director of the Institute of Anti-Aging Research, also credits the mainstream acceptance of Botox to the fact that more doctors have mastery of the technique, making patients look less frozen and more natural. While Botox is not technicaly a surgery at all, its increasingly popularity among men makes it a cosmetic procedure to watch out for.
- Los Angeles Times - Plastic surgery — it's a guy thing too
- Huff Post World - Obesity Rates Rising: 10 Fattest Countries In The Developed World
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention - Prevalence of Obesity in the United States, 2009–2010 [.pdf]
- Forbes - Most Popular Plastic Surgery for Men
- Male Breast Reduction - Popular procedure can create a new sense of body confidence for men with enlarged breasts
- Forbes - Most Popular Plastic Surgery for Men