By Susan Williamson
Bond man Pierce Brosnan says his smile is the only body part that's been revamped. But what about Michael Douglas and Harrison Ford? Both aging heartthrobs look distinctly refreshed. Is this due to Catherine Zeta-Jones - or in Ford's case, playing the field? Or is it due something a little more straightforward, like cosmetic surgery?
According to statistics released in February by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), men had over 1 million cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures in the U.S. last year - 12 per cent of the total. The most popular surgery? Liposuction, followed by nose reshaping, blepharoplasty, male breast reduction and facelifts. Botox topped the non-surgical list; chemical peels, laser hair removal, microdermabraision and collagen injections were the other main picks.
But one Toronto cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Lorne Tarshis, says the ASAPS figures surprised him. "I thought they were conservative because 20 per cent of my patients are male," notes Tarshis, who specializes in facial surgery. "Men are definitely more aware of the effect appearance has on career than women," he adds. "They don't like wearing their resume on their face."
Tarshis divides his male clients into two groups. The first - mid-20s to 30s - are focused on facial proportion and esthetics. Accordingly, the most popular surgery is rhinoplasty, with chin augmentation second. The older group - 40s to mid-50s - hate what makes them look tired: bags under their eyes, saggy eyelids and wrinkles. The procedures of choice with his group is blepharoplasty - upper or lower eyelid surgery. "Men can now have the dame discreet incisions for facelifts as women do," he explains. "The problem we used to have with migrating sideburns has been solved by new surgical techniques and lasers that zap hair follicles."
Also popular with men are Botox injections to minimize wrinkles, fillers to even out features and liposuction to shrink double chins. And Tarshis says he's noticed a change in the way they view skin care. "An increasing number of them think of it as maintenance, just like women do, and they won't hesitate to have photofacials, microdermabraision or a chemical peel."
But Canadian men appear to be more reticent when it comes to changing their bodies. Dr. Mitchell Brown, a Toronto-area plastic surgeon with a thriving practice in body contouring, estimates 10 to15 per cent of his patients are male. "Although I've done procedures on male models, I find men are usually motivated by personal rather then career reasons," says Brown. "They're self-conscious about a particular area and uncomfortable at the beach or in the locker room."
His male patients generally range from the mid-20s to late 40s. "For younger men, male breast reduction is the most popular surgery," says Brown. "I've even done cosmetic work on teenagers as young as fifteen who are emotionally affected by the large size of their breasts." Using ultrasonic liposuction, alone or in combination with tissue removal through an incision below the areola, Brown gives self-conscious men a new lease on life - a minimal chance of recurrence.
"Liposuction can also be very effective on those hip rolls and love handles men tend to develop in their late 30s and early 40s," continues Brown. "The average patient is close to his ideal body weight, but has localized pockets of fat he can't get rid of." Patients are back to daily activity in 7 days and recovered within a month.
Cosmetic dentistry is another area men take seriously. Dr. Kal Khaled, a dentist who concentrates on esthetics and dental implants in his Mississauga practice, estimates 30 per cent of his patients are male. "Older men pay more attention to the functional aspects of their teeth; for example, they'll choose implants because they want to eat better and enjoy the taste of their food. With younger men, it's typically a sports injury or car accident and they want something that looks good and is non-removable."
Like Tarshis, Khaled finds many men are motivated by career concerns. "Because of changes in the workplace, it's harder for an older man to compete," he observes. "But porcelain veneers, combined with tooth whitening, bonding and implants, can take 10 years off his age." When male patients want to have a facelift, Khaled advises having cosmetic dental work done after the surgery. "A facelift changes the lips - Botox can too - so you want to be able to adjust and proportion teeth to accommodate this," he explains.
And are men more sensitive to pain than women? "No," says Khaled. "After oral surgery most mo my male patients say all they need is one Tylenol and the TV set." Tarshis agrees. "A little bruising and swelling doesn't bother then because they want to get back to their regular life as soon as possible." Tarshis has also noticed that more men are easily satisfied by the results of cosmetic surgery than women: "They focus on the overall effect, not on a single wrinkle"
Perhaps because of the procedures he performs, Brown has a different take than his colleagues. "Although men and women have similar expectations and outlooks, I find men don't tolerate discomfort as well," he says. "They require more feedback on what to expect from a procedure, and more pain medication as well."
But all three agree that men are choosing esthetic procedures in growing numbers, and the ASAPS stats confirm this. Between 1997 and 2001, the number of males undergoing cosmetic work rose 256 per cent, and Tarshis anticipates that in a few years patients will be evenly divided between men and women. While Brown won't commit himself to a prediction, he has noticed an interesting trend. In the last six months, he's done several his-and-hers liposuctions. These couples have surgery the same day, recover together and then flaunt their new bodies in tandem. Is this the wave of the future? We promise we'll keep you posted.
TOP FIVE COSMETIC SURGERIES FOR MEN IN 2001*
Lipoplasty (Liposuction) 77,996 Nose Reshaping 54,368 Eyelid Surgery 41,499 Breast Reduction 16,512 Face Lift 11,810
Over one million men in the United States alone had surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures last year. The most popular surgery for men was liposuction. (*Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) .
Editorial Source: · Dr. Mitchell Brown, 416-323-6336.
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