Plastic surgery is no longer just for women.
In fact, the latest statistics by the American Society of Plastic Surgery show that male plastic surgery has been on the rise, with a 28% increase since 2000. Over the past year, men make up 8% of all cosmetic procedures, demonstrating an increasing trend and acceptance in males.
This article takes a look at some of the most popular and effective plastic surgery options for men, including liposuction, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, breast reduction and facelifts. We’ve also included non-surgical options that men are choosing for aesthetic benefits, including Botox injections and wrinkle fillers.
We’ve interviewed top experts on this topic, including a board-certified dermatologist and plastic surgeon, as well as one of the leading plastic surgeons in Southern California with 20 years experience in aesthetic surgery of the face and body.
Keep in mind that this article is not intended as medical advice. Before you undergo any type of aesthetic procedure – whether surgical or non-surgical – it’s important to consult with your doctor first.
Let’s begin by discussing the popularity of plastic surgery among men, and some reasons why they undergo such procedures. Later on, we’ll offer details about the most popular plastic procedures for men, as well as non-surgical options.
How Popular Is Plastic Surgery Among Men?
Men are definitely seeking procedures at an increased rate every year, according to Kouros Azar, M.D., a leading Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with 20 years experience in aesthetic surgery of the face and body.
The latest data from 2016 shows 1 in 10 procedures performed in the U.S. will be on a man, said Dr. Azar, who is an active member the American Association for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
“They represent 9% of the total market of surgical and non-surgical procedures,” said Dr. Azar, further noting in 2016, men underwent 185,000 (9%) surgical procedures, and 1 million (9%) underwent non-surgical procedures.
There are several reasons why men undergo plastic surgery for physical enhancement, which we discuss in the next section.
Why Do Men Want Plastic Surgery?
Most men are looking to change specific things about their physique, said Dr. Christie Prendergast, a plastic surgeon with Finesse Plastic Surgery in Southern California.
In her experience, Gynecomastia (for enlarged male breasts) is a common procedure that helps create a sculpted chest and remove fibrous tissue. Liposuction for flanks or abdomen is also another popular procedure among men.
“The top five procedures for men in 2016 are rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, breast reduction, liposuction, and facelift,” Dr. Prendergast noted.
She added that plastic surgery for men, while similar to females, is quite different.
“It requires different techniques and aesthetics to maintain masculinity,” Dr. Prendergast said. “Men also have different tissue than women – for instance, thicker skin and hair – that require an experienced surgeon to understand tissue handling in men.”
Men start to undergo plastic surgery as early as their late teens, but most start around age 35, which we cover next.
At What Age Do Men Start to Undergo Plastic Surgery?
This varies based on why a man is seeking plastic surgery, according to Dr. Prendergast.
For example, men with gynecomastia (male breasts) can present in their 20s.
“In contrast, many patients will start seeking non-surgical interventions as they start aging in 30s and 40s similar to females,” Dr. Prendergast said. “We are seeing men of all ages and walks of life requesting plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons.”
Most men are interested in looking younger overall – for some it’s their body, and for others, it’s their face, Dr. Azar said.
“It seems the most men begin considering procedures such as gynecomastia (male breast reduction) between 19 and 34,” Dr. Azar noted. “The largest segment of the male population coming in, however, are between 35 and 50 years of age.”
Six Popular Plastic Surgery Procedures for Men
Here’re six of the most popular plastic surgery options that men are undergoing these days for physical enhancement:
1. Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Lift)
Removes sagging skin on eyelids and under eye bags (skin and fat). This can be done on either upper or lower eyelids, with or without a brow lift.
“The brow lift makes the eyes look more youthful and awake,” Dr. Azar explained. “New techniques look very natural – and not surprised looking or unnatural.”
Prices range from $2,500 to $8,000. Downtime is generally one week.
“Side effects are minimal in experienced hands,” Dr. Azar said. “It’s best to do under anesthesia, but upper eyelids can be done under local anesthesia.”
This procedure involves removing fat around the sides, belly and neck, and is typically done under anesthesia.
“This is safe in experienced hands but not everyone is a candidate,” Dr. Azar said. “People with loose skin or a taught beer belly are not good candidates. It is not a weight loss procedure.”
Prices range from $3,500 to $9,000, depending on how many areas are treated. The downtime is usually 5 to 7 days of bruising, and a few weeks of swelling, but the patient is usually back to work in 5 days.
In Dr. Prendergast’s experience at Finesse Plastic Surgery, the top procedures for men in 2016 include rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, breast reduction and facelift.
With Rhinoplasty – which is basically a nose job – costs vary depending on region and level of expertise, but typically range from $8,000 on up.
“A more structured nose can really transform a man’s face and provide facial balance,” Dr. Prendergast said.
Once the procedure is complete, your doctor will wrap your nose with bandages to minimize swelling and use a splint to support the new structure of the nose. Any pain or discomfort after surgery can be alleviated by prescribed medication.
Many patients return to work about a week after surgery, but strenuous activity and exercise should be avoided for four to six weeks or until incisions heal.
4. Eyelid Surgery
Also known as blepharoplasty, eyelid lift surgery can restore a youthful appearance to the eyelids by eliminating sagging skin and excess tissue that exists in the upper and lower eyelid regions. This type of surgery was the third most popular cosmetic procedure performed in 2012, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The cost of eyelid surgery in Dr. Prendergast’s experience ranges from $3,000 on up.
“Under eye bags or upper eye hooding can make a man appear tired or angry,” she explained. “Removal of the extra skin above the eyelid or excess bags under the eye, or a combination of both, can really rejuvenate the periorbital area and make you look younger.”
After the procedure is complete, bandages will be applied to the eye area to help reduce swelling. Prescribed medication can be taken to alleviate any pain or soreness that exists.
Each person is different, and the time it takes to recover from eyelid surgery is different for everyone. Generally, most patients return to work after about a week, but strenuous activity should be refrained from for at least two weeks after surgery.
5. Gynecomastia Surgery
Gynecomastia, a medical term that originates from the Greek words for “woman-like breasts,” is far more common than many realize. In fact, Gynecomastia affects an estimated 40 to 60 percent of the male population, and it may affect only one breast or both.
At Finesse Plastic Surgery, Gynecomastia surgery is also known as breast reduction for men.
The procedure is sometimes covered by insurance, Dr. Prendergast said, or can cost $7,000 on up.
“This reduces breast size in men and enhances chest contour,” she explained.
Patients will begin to see their newly contoured chest become more apparent and defined as swelling subsides. Men are usually very satisfied with their new look and feel more confident in their physical appearance.
When the procedure is complete, the chest will be wrapped with bandages and a specialized compression garment to help minimize swelling. At Finesse Plastic Surgery, patients are prescribed medication to alleviate any pain or discomfort that is apparent after the surgery.
Generally, patients can return to work in about one week but should refrain from performing strenuous activity or exercise for the first four to six weeks.
A facelift rejuvenates visible aging of face and neck and is often performed with a brow lift or eyelid surgery.
“This is an excellent procedure for an older man who has jowls, sagging or loose skin, and has loss facial volume,” Dr. Prendergast said.
The average cost of a facelift is $7,048, according to 2016 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The society also reported that more than 126,000 facelifts were performed in 2012, making it one of the top five cosmetic procedures.
At Finesse Plastic Surgery, after the facelift procedure is complete, bandages will be applied to the face to minimize swelling and small tubes may be used to drain excess fluid. Patients will be prescribed medication to help reduce any pain or discomfort that they may feel over the next few days.
The time it takes to recover from a facelift varies between individuals. Generally, patients can return to work about a week after surgery, but they should avoid any strenuous activity or exercise for the first couple weeks. Scars will usually be concealed within the hairline and in the natural contours of the face and ears.
Factors That Make a Man a Bad Candidate for Plastic Surgery
Similar to females, a bad candidate for plastic surgery in a male is someone who has unrealistic expectations or body dysmorphic disorder, according to Dr. Prendergast.
“Additionally, medical problems that preclude you from surgery also make someone a bad candidate,” she said.
Other factors that make a man a poor candidate for plastic surgery, according to Dr. Azar, include those with any heart or lung conditions, severe obesity, smokers, people on blood thinners and those with poorly controlled psychiatric conditions.
Other poor candidates are anyone with Body Dismorphic Disorder, which is a condition where patients may not perceive their appearance in a normal way and thus may not react normally to any changes made to it.
“Some men may also be too active to recover from surgery and if they cannot listen to instructions to rest after surgery, they may be an inappropriate candidate,” Dr. Azar said.
Factors that Make a Man a Good Candidate for Plastic Surgery
According Dr. Azar, the ideal man for plastic surgery is a healthy, young man with a specific problem that he knows will improve his life if it’s fixed, such as love handles.
“Our highest chances of success is when we focus on what is bothering the patient the most and make sure it is a real concern with a realistic outcome,” Dr. Azar said.
In Dr. Prendergast’s experience, “a good candidate is someone who is looking for rejuvenation that has realistic goals and is at their optimal fitness level.”
She added that it’s important to find a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in male rejuvenation procedures.
“You want to make sure that they have an aesthetics ideal that fits with your masculinity and physique goals,” Dr. Prendergast advised.
Before a man decides to undergo a plastic surgery procedure, Dr. Azar recommends determining whether or not the “problem” is significant enough to need surgery.
“Many treatments now are minimally invasive so the bar has been lowered there,” Dr. Azar said. “They should also make sure they do it at a period of relatively low stress and make sure to allow plenty of healing time and downtime from intense work routines or exercise.”
Six Popular Non-Surgical Aesthetic Procedures for Men
In addition to undergoing surgical procedures, men are also benefitting from numerous “youthful treatments” that do not involve going under the knife, including Botox for deep lines, facials for rejuvenation, and fillers for wrinkles and folds.
The following “youthful treatments” are considered the most popular at Dr. Azar’s practice.
Botox for deep lines range from $250 to $750.
This involves a simple injection with no downtime, and is considered very effective and safe for forehead and vertical frown lines and crow’s feet wrinkles.
Fillers for wrinkles and folds are considered “the biggest band for the buck on rejuvenation,” according to Dr. Azar.
After undergoing these “simple injections,” a patient typically experiences no downtime at all – or a day or two in big cases.
Fillers cost from $600 to $5,000, depending on how much is done.
“Most popular fillers are Voluma to lift and elevate cheek and define the jaw line and Juvederm for the naso-labial folds and frown lines,” said Dr. Azar, adding that fillers are considered “very safe in experienced hands.”
Kybella is a method to melt away double chin fat. “It’s a non-surgical injection to permanently melt away fat under the chin,” Dr. Azar explained.
Most patients need two treatments, which may results in a few weeks of mild swelling and numbness under the chin. “You can go back to work – just a little swollen,” Dr. Azar said.
The cost is approximately $2,400 to $3,500 for two treatments.
4. Facials for Rejuvenation
Facials for rejuvenation range from mild microdermabrasion to microneedling and masks.
With maintenance, achieved results can include the reversal of sun damage and wrinkles. “It’s best to start young and maintain,” Dr. Azar advised.
There is no downtime or risk, he added, and the cost can range from $130 to $500.
5. Medical Grade Skin Care Products
Medical grade skin care products might be the “simplest and most cost effective way to look younger,” according to Dr. Azar.
Prices range from $80 to $600.
However, he warned that over the counter creams, no matter how expensive, cannot contain active ingredients by law.
“So get your products from a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist for real age reversing and maintenance effects,” Dr. Azar advised.
CoolSculpting involves freezing away fat in trouble areas without surgery or anesthesia.
Dr. Azar said this is a safe, effective way to non-surgically and permanently eliminate problem fatty areas including abdomen, flanks, arms and breasts.
No downtime is involved. “Just lay in office hooked up to the machine while surfing your iPad, and lose 20 to 25% of the fat in an area with each treatment,” Dr. Azar said.
The cost range is wide due to variety of areas that can be treated, but generally prices range from $1,400 to $9,000.
“This is very safe overall when performed by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon,” Dr. Azar advised.
Additional Tips on Non-Surgical Procedures for Men
Approximately 10 to 11% of all neuromodulator (Botox) treatments are performed on men, as are 8 to 9% of all wrinkle filler treatments, according to Dr. Ted Lain, a board-certified dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas.
In Dr. Lain’s experience, the most common male aesthetic patient is either a 50+ year old executive, or a forward-thinking millenial, with the former trying to maintain a youthful appearance for professional advancement and the latter attempting to stave off the effects of aging.
“The most common concern is common to all patients, that the effects of the treatment will be so drastic as to be too evident of what was done,” Dr. Lain said.
He added: “I would have a difficult time finding a patient who could not benefit from a neuromodulator treatment.”
“Our techniques and knowledge have advanced to the point of being able to pinpoint treatment for those that want prevention of lines and wrinkles, and subtly improving appearance of lines and wrinkles when already present,” he said. “In any case the results should be natural and not over blown, such that most people would never know that the patient had ‘something done.’”
When considering a neuromodulator or filler treatment, understand that the final results are not immediate, and that bruising and swelling may occur.
“For a few days prior to the treatment, I counsel patients to avoid medications, supplements, and food that can increase the risk of bruising,” Dr. Lain advised.
In addition, patients are asked to not travel by air for the first 24 to 48 hours.
“Finally, since bruising and swelling are preventable only up to a point, I advise to not schedule a presentation, photo, or important meeting for 2 to 3 days after a filler appointment,” Dr. Lain said.
Final Thoughts on Plastic Surgery for Men
Most men can really benefit from getting starting early with taking better care of themselves to avoid having to do bigger procedures later in life, Dr. Azar said.
“Skin care and facials in the 20s as some Botox in the early 30s are a great starting point,” Dr. Azar recommended.
Also, if a man is mentally and physically healthy, but has one aspect of his face or body that he thinks would make an impact on his self esteem or work, he should consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to make sure he is a candidate, Dr. Azar further advised.
“They should also make sure to have realistic expectations and be happy with a reasonable improvement to avoid a cascade of focusing too much on one's self,” Dr. Azar said.
There is a growing interest in men seeking surgical and non-surgical procedures, Dr. Prendergast noted. Therefore, “it is important to seek a surgeon who understands the unique gender differences for optimal results.”
More and more men – especially successful CEOs – are putting plastic surgery and non-surgical procedures on their resumes as a sign that they are willing to invest in themselves and stay competitive with the younger generation coming up quickly on their coattails, Dr. Azar said.
“It's very important to seek a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery,” Dr. Azar advised, adding that men can check these credentials at www.abplasticsurgery.org.
“Paying attention to the wording of this is important because many imposter doctors can use word ‘Board Certified’ without saying which board they may have passed, if any,” Dr. Azar said.
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