Numbers don’t lie. And the story they tell about cosmetic surgery and men is compelling. A new study shows that men’s general approval of cosmetic surgery is now actually slightly higher than women’s (57 percent vs. 56 percent), according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). In 2007, the number of cosmetic procedures women underwent increased by a mere percentage point from 2006. In comparison, the increase for men was a robust 19 percent. With these statistics, and the fact that the American male grooming market is now worth $3.5 billion, the trend seems clear: Men have changed their attitude about the self-improvement options once reserved for women, and they are increasingly turning to the cosmetic surgeon to opt in.
“In the last 18 months, my practice went from 10 percent men to 53 percent men,” John A. Millard, M.D., a plastic surgeon in private practice in Lone Tree, Colo., tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. “Men are interested in cosmetic surgery, but many times they wouldn’t take the next step due to stigma or [fear of] being judged. Now, there are procedures that are swaying men toward cosmetic surgery that have grabbed their attention because they are more acceptable.”
FROM ‘DEBULKING’ TO SCULPTING
It isn’t merely the messaging regarding plastic surgery, but rather the procedures and their results that are luring the male patient, according to Dr. Millard. The procedure that he finds most responsible for his new patient demographic is high-definition liposculpture. Developed by Columbian plastic surgeon Alfredo Hoyos, M.D., high-definition liposculpture creates a sculpted, athletic appearance by improving the contours of subcutaneous fat and the definition of the underlying musculature.
“This is the procedure that draws men toward cosmetic surgery,” says Dr. Millard. “A big part of it is that most people cannot become muscular and defined just by going to the gym. Now we have a procedure that allows them to achieve these results and still eat a steak. I’ve completed over 100 high-def liposculptures in the last year and the results have been phenomenal.”
While liposuction was once reserved for overweight patients, high-definition liposculpture is liposuction for physically fit and thin people, as well as the nonobese patient, explains Dr. Millard. By using precise, deep and superficial liposuction around muscle groups in the abdomen and the chest using ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (Vaser LipoSelection; Sound Surgical Technologies LLC, Louisville, Colo.), the procedure allows the surgeon to target specific fat layers and selectively liquefy that fat, achieving the desired sculpted appearance of the muscles without damaging connective tissue. “About 95 percent of our [high-definition liposculpture] patients maintain their results because they are already exercising and have nutritional goals, while only 50 percent of the traditional liposuction patients maintain their results,” he notes. “The interesting point is that once men have this high-definition procedure, it opens up Pandora’s Box leading them to ask for a myriad of other cosmetic procedures.”
CAPITALIZING ON THE CHEST
“Men have vanity, too, but in the past, they had to disguise it,” agrees Luiz Haroldo Pereira, M.D., a plastic surgeon in a private practice, The Haroldo Clinic, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Now, there’s no need. People are more open-minded. In the last five years, I’ve seen an increase in plastic surgery for men in Brazil.”
In addition to seeking ripped abs through cosmetic surgery, he says, many men are reaching for the look of physical perfection by way of well-defined pectoral muscles. When weight lifting and exercise provide insufficient definition, pectoral implants as a means to the perfect chest are an ae