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While women will always outnumber men in the number of cosmetic procedures done, men are increasingly jumping into the game. Of the 11 million cosmetic procedures that were performed last year, almost 10% of them were performed on men. That number may seem very low but it represents a doubling of male plastic surgery in the past ten years.

The most popular male plastic surgery procedures include liposuction, gynecomastia reduction, blepharoplasty (eyelid lifts), rhinoplasty, facelifts and hair restoration. Non-surgical male procedures include laser hair reduction, Botox and injectable fillers.

What accounts for this slow increase in men undergoing various forms of plastic surgery? While the answer is multifactorial, one major factor has been the change in the perception of plastic surgery. And I don’t mean that men having plastic surgery is more socially acceptable than in past decades as that is certainly true. But that men now see that there are many benefits that plastic surgery can offer them. Whether it is looking younger, more masculine or virile or just more energetic, men see the potential to appear more put together and appealing in appearance.

One of the interesting trends in male plastic surgery is the development of niches of expertise. The  procedures available to women have been around for a long time and most of their benefits are fairly obvious. But men have some very different needs and how some of the classic plastic surgery procedures apply to them, or are adapted for them, may not be as obvious. Hair restoration is the oldest example of ‘nicheing’ and has been done successfully in a free standing facility approach for men for decades. But new male-centric plastic surgery procedures have arisen such as body sculpting (gynecomastia reduction, liposculpture, and body implants for the chest, arm and calfs) jawline enhancement (chin and jaw angle implants), male facial rejuvenation and even transgender facial feminization surgery.

For those plastic surgeons very experienced in dealing with men, it is said that men must be treated differently than a female patient. Men tend to seek more information, ask more questions, and may be less patient after surgery as they are going through a recovery process. Men tend to want even greater privacy and secrecy about their procedures than women and often have told few of their family or friends, having a small or nonexistant support system after surgery. They do tend to want to have greater control over the details of the surgery and can even be wavering about some aspects of the surgery.

Some would say that men are less trusting or have a harder time to give up control, of which undergoing plastic surgery under anesthesia would be the ultimate form of  loss of control. As a result men often require more time in discussion prior to surgery to make sure they have reached a comfort zone with their decisions.

Male-centric plastic surgery is certainly a trend and now a major contributor to the growing number of men having procedures. The internet and its easy access to information has allowed those plastic surgeons who make the male patient an emphasis in their practices easy to find.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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