Male plastic surgery: Vanity, thy name used to be “woman”

April 23, 2012

Lipoplasty and eyelid surgery are the most popular surgical procedures for men.
Lipoplasty and eyelid surgery are the most popular surgical procedures for men.

There was a time when men were allowed to age gracefully and CEOs had grey hair.  Now men are competing with 20-something entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and trying to live up to the “six pack” ideal of male attractiveness and masculinity. 

So, while women have been undergoing minimally invasive cosmetic treatments, such as Botox and Restylane, men have stepped up to the plate, choosing surgical options. In an effort to get rid of “love handles” and other abdominal fat, more than 41,000 men underwent lipoplasty in 2011, representing a 14 percent increase from the past year, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), reporting to the Los Angeles Times.

The LA Times interviewed Stephen, an Orange County lipoplasty patient who typifies that trend. “I couldn’t get rid of the fat. I tried diets. I walked five days a week and worked out three, but it just accumulated and I couldn’t get rid of it.” Stephen was embarrassed to wear a T-shirt for five years because it showed his fatty abdomen and chest.

Eyelid surgery in men is also on the rise. ASAPS reports that 23,000 eyelid surgeries were performed in men in 2011, representing a 6 percent increase over last year. A Beverly Hills plastic surgeons believes that eyelid and abdominal surgery are so popular “because the eyelids and midsection are among the first parts of the body to show signs of age and among the most difficult to remedy without surgery.”

A Utah plastic surgeon tells the LA Times that plastic surgery in men is becoming much more acceptable. In the past patients would hide for 8 weeks after surgery; “Now you have your surgery in the morning and in the afternoon you’re talking to your friends.”

Whether you’re male or female, a huge portion of the U.S. population is aging. This may be the largest factor in driving the male plastic surgery trend. According to the 2011 International Study of Aesthetic/Cosmetic Surgery Procedures, “people ages 35 to 64 account for 71 percent of all cosmetic procedures in the U.S., the country with the largest number of cosmetic procedures performed.”

The bottom line is that in 2011, 9 percent of surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures in the U.S. were performed in men, representing a 121 percent increase since 1997.

The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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