Cosmetic surgery in men has grown sharply within the past two decades. In 2018 more than 1.3 million men in North America received some form of aesthetic treatment, according to figures released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The society says there was a 29% rise in surgical and non-surgical male cosmetic procedures between 2000 and 2018. The reason for the rapid growth, according to clinicians, is that it has become more socially acceptable for men to ‘go under the knife.’
Standards have improved considerably over that period. There is now increased professional competitiveness amongst surgeons. Analysts believe that the rise of ‘selfies’ and social media has led to men becoming more critical of their appearance.
So, what are the aesthetic and cosmetic procedures men are opting for – and what’s involved?
According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in their March 2021 report, the most popular operations are liposuction (11,588), gynecomastia (8,853), blepharoplasty (7,893), rhinoplasty (7,475) and abdominoplasty (3,591). These figures for 2020 remain high, although many operations were cancelled due to COVID-19.
Here are the eight most popular cosmetic procedures for men:
Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty)
Tired eyes with sagging skin can make a man look elderly and sad in appearance. The goal of eyelid rejuvenation surgery is to smooth out puffiness under the eyes and restore a youthful and attentive appearance.
Men tend to have surgery on their lower eyelids, while women have it on both lower and upper eyelids. This is because adjusting the upper eyelids in men can result in a more feminine appearance.
A total of 206,529 men underwent eyelid surgery in America in 2018.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) will affect most men at some point in their lives. Women too can suffer from baldness but to a lesser degree. The FUE hair transplantation method is the most commonly performed hair transplant procedure, which involves taking hair from the head’s areas with thick growth (typically the back of the head) and transplanting it to areas with little or no growth.
According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery 735,312 hair transplant surgeries were performed worldwide in 2019, a rise of 16% from three years earlier. The majority of hair transplant procedures were performed in Asia and Australia (26%) followed by the Middle East and Africa (25%), the US and Canada (24%), Europe (14%) and Mexico and South America (8%).
Liposuction for men is more about body contouring than reducing the waistline. Of course, men want to be rid of that over-large stomach, but they also like sculpting techniques thrown in too. In other words, it’s about achieving definition rather than simply ‘thinness.’
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, recorded 28,180 men undergoing liposuction treatment in 2017. The most popular areas of the body for men to have liposuction are the ‘love handles, lower abdomen, and upper arms. But the procedure is also carried out on the neck, thighs, chest, and chin.
Male chest reduction (gynecomastia)
This procedure involves liposuction to remove excess fat from the breast area. Excess glandular breast tissue can also be surgically removed. The operations can be carried out under either general or local anaesthetic.
A total of 24,753 men underwent breast reduction surgery in America in 2018.
Dermal filling for men involves augmenting the cheek and jawline to produce a ‘square jaw’. This gives definition to the face, as well as improved balance. Men can also receive dermal fillers in the cheeks, to replenish lost volume and create a more youthful appearance.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports a 99% increase in men receiving injectables and fillers over the past two decades. Today the fastest-growing filler market is in the UK, valued at £1bn a year. A report published by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in 2019 said men today prefer to look “tweaked” rather than “tucked”.
Botox is a neurotoxin injection, and other popular types include Dysport, Xeomin and Jeuveau. This cosmetic treatment for men is informally referred to as ‘brotox’ and is used to eliminate wrinkles and ageing lines on the face. The areas most commonly treated with neurotoxin injections are forehead wrinkles, frown lines, and laugh lines.
Some conditions will disqualify patients from getting a neurotoxin injection, such as being over the age of 65, having a facial scar, very thick facial skin, or having a neuromuscular disease. Hence, it’s essential to consult with a medical professional in a certified clinic before starting treatment.
Over 450,000 men had Botox carried out during 2018, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
Also referred to as a “tummy tuck”, this procedure involves tightening the abdominal muscle wall with permanent sutures and, at the same time, removing excess skin. The outcome is a firm and flatter abdomen.
Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)
What is commonly known as a nose job involves changing the shape of the outside of the nose for aesthetic reasons. It can also help with breathing difficulties.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons said around 213,780 nasal reshaping surgeries were performed in 2018, almost one-quarter of which were performed on men.
It is clear that male cosmetic surgery is on the increase. And why not? Appearance is important for men too. If the fairer sex can resort to beauty enhancing procedures, why shouldn’t their partners, brothers and fathers…
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