Our Press - More Men Going for Nips and Tucks

More men going under the knife for nips, tucks

TORONTO -- More and more these days, the patient consulting a plastic surgeon for cosmetic enhancement is often a man -- and not just for a little filler here and a bit of Botox there.

New statistics released Monday by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) show cosmetic procedures involving men rose two per cent overall in 2010 compared with the year before.

But it is the type of procedure being sought by more men that is putting a whole new complexion on the face of plastic surgery -- a $10.1-billion business in the United States involving more than 13 million procedures, including 1.1 million undertaken by males.

Last year, there was a 14 per cent jump in the number of facelifts performed on men, an 11 per cent rise in ear-shaping surgery, four per cent more eyelid surgeries and a seven per cent hike in fat-removing liposuction, the ASPS comparison with 2009 statistics shows.

"I think one of the things that we see is that there are more men that are considering cosmetic plastic surgical procedures," said Dr. Mitchell Brown, a Toronto plastic surgeon.

For one thing, cosmetic surgery has become more acceptable by society as a whole, Brown said. "People talk about it more, it's become a bit more mainstream. I think the gap between men and women just in general is narrowing."

The ASPS also found the number of men having minimally invasive procedures to diminish creases and wrinkles climbed along with full-out nip-and-tuck surgeries: the number seeking soft-tissue fillers went up by 10 per cent in 2010 over the previous year, while nine per cent more had Botox injections. Dermabrasion to smooth out the skin was up four per cent.

"I think as men are staying healthier longer and are able to work longer and enjoy doing what they're doing, they want to look as good as they feel," suggested Washington plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Baker. "So they feel like they have a lot of vitality and a lot of energy, but sometimes when they look in the mirror they don't see that their image reflects that."

Many of the men opting for a more youthful appearance are part of the baby-boom generation, a huge demographic that is likely pushing up the numbers, he said.

"A lot of those are in the business world and they're doing it to kind of maintain, for lack of a better word, a competitive edge," Baker said from the U.S. capital.

Baker said many of his male patients are military men, politicians, lobbyists or attorneys who want to exude the appearance of youth, vitality and professionalism in keeping with their abilities.

Also making cosmetic enhancement more acceptable to men -- and to society in general -- are such television shows as Extreme Makeover and Miami Slice, which have taken away much of the mystique of plastic surgery for the average person, he said. Even with the recession, having a facelift, eyelid surgery or nose reshaping is no longer seen as just the purview of the rich and famous.

"I think it's also more acceptable because if it's done well, nobody really notices."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 22, 2011 D1

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