More men seem to be lining up for breast reductions, facelifts, Botox injections, nose jobs and liposuction than ever before.
A new report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons shows that the number of cosmetic procedures among men in the United States increased by 2% in 2010, compared with 2009.
Men underwent more than 1.1 million cosmetic procedures, including both minimally invasive and surgical procedures, according to the report.
"Men are paying more attention to their appearance," said Dr Phillip Haeck, the society's president.
However, the reasons that more men are having cosmetic procedures vary. "It all depends on the category," he said.
Breast reductions, for instance, increased by 6%. "That is driven by the fact that there is more awareness," Haeck said. "I call this guys' dirty little secret."
"They are embarrassed by it," he said. "They are interested in not letting anyone know that they have had this operation, but they are thrilled afterward. They can go out to the pool and not be embarrassed by the fact that they had what would be a woman's C cup."
Most men who undergo breast reduction, Haeck said, are younger than 30. "For them it's a lot of money, but they are tired of being embarrassed," he said.
On the other hand, the increase in facelifts is largely driven by men in their 50s and 60s, Haeck said.
"That's the leading edge of the baby boomers. These are really fit people who have paid a lot of attention to keeping their bodies in shape." But, he added, they're getting a "turkey neck," which is something exercise won't get rid of.
Not willing to grow old gracefully
"This generation has paid a lot of attention to how they look, and they don't want to grow old gracefully," he said.
The pressure to look young apparently affects other men, too, especially those looking for work.
Haeck said that men have told him: "You've got to do something to help me because I need a job and I'm afraid I'm going to lose out because people are going to think I look too old."
"That's a recurring theme for guys who want to change jobs or who are out of work," he said.
In addition, Haeck said, he's noticed that women who've had cosmetic surgery often urge their husbands to have it as well.
According to the society's statistics, facelifts increased by 14%, ear surgeries by 11%, Botox injections by 9%, liposuction treatments by 7%, breast reductions by 6% and eyelid surgery and dermabrasion by 4% each from 2009 to 2010.
Procedures that decreased
Some procedures, though, were done less often, though they remain among the most popular for men. The number of rhinoplasty procedures declined by 4%, chemical peels by 3% and microdermabrasion by 10%, according to the report.
Dr Seth R. Thaller, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, agreed that more men are getting cosmetic procedures to offset the effects of aging.
"They are not asking to look 25 or 30, they just want to look a little bit better," he said.
Thaller said that he, too, is seeing more breast reductions among men who are embarrassed by their large breasts. "We are not only seeing it in adults, but we see it in teenagers," he said.
Putting a cost on feeling better
Cosmetic procedures are usually not covered by insurance and they're not inexpensive, Thaller said. "But, can you put a price on quality of life and feeling good about yourself?" he asked.
Haeck said that a facelift costs, on average, $10,000 (about R69,000) or more, and that doctor's fees alone for breast reduction average $3,013 (about R20,700) and $2,884 (about R19,800) for liposuction.
Minimally invasive procedures do cost less. For example, Botox injections average about $375 (about R2,500), he said, and microdermabrasion usually is less than $200 (about R1400).
Women still majority
Though some men go back for additional procedures after undergoing one, Haeck said, women still make up the majority of those who have cosmetic surgery. For example, Haeck's practice is 92% women, he said.
According to the report, the most popular surgical procedures for men are rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, liposuction, breast reduction and hair transplantation.
Botox treatments top the most-popular list of minimally invasive procedures, followed by laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, chemical peel and soft tissue fillers.
(Reuters Health, Steven Reinberg, March 2011)
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