The Top 7 Cosmetic Procedures For Men

More than 1.3 million men went under the knife (or needle!) in 2018 — a 29 percent increase since the year 2000 — and The AEDITION asked the experts about the most popular invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures.
Written by Garrett Munce
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The Top 7 Cosmetic Procedures For MenDima Sidelnikov/Shutterstock

It’s an undisputed fact that more men are getting cosmetic procedures. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ annual report, more than 1.3 million men in the United States went under the knife (or needle) in 2018 — a 29 percent increase since the year 2000. And while the majority of these procedures performed on men were minimally invasive, men still made up 13 percent of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States.

It’s not exactly surprising that men are increasingly seeking out the help of plastic surgeons to reach their aesthetic goals. Cosmetic surgery has never been gendered, but the divide can be traced back to our cultural misconceptions of what cosmetic surgery is and who gets it. Thanks to the internet and social media, both men and women have a greater understanding of just what these procedures entail and what they can do. “The conversation is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be,” says board certified plastic surgeon Jacob Unger, MD, of Maxwell Aesthetics in Nashville. He’s noticed an increase in male patients in his own practice in recent years.

Still, men who get cosmetic surgery are looking for different results and typically approach it differently than women. The biggest fear most men have when getting cosmetic surgery is that it is going being obvious that they got it. “They don’t want to look like they’ve had anything done,” says board certified plastic surgeon Leif Rogers, MD, in Beverly Hills. They also want different results, particularly when it comes to common procedures like liposuction and rhinoplasty. Cosmetic surgery, after all, is not one size fits all, and men want the results to look masculine and blend with their existing features.

Both Dr. Rogers and Dr. Unger’s patients reflect the current trends that the ASPS reports. “Men want a lot of body contouring, liposuction, and liposculpting,” says Dr. Unger. On the face, eye lifts and nose jobs reign supreme among men. “About a third of the rhinoplasties I do are on men,” notes Dr. Rogers.

The AEDITION asked the experts to break down the most common surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures for men, and what they have to say may surprise you.

1. Liposuction

Liposuction is consistently one of the top cosmetic procedures across the board, according to the ASPS, so it’s not surprising that it lands in the top spot for men as well. But that doesn’t mean that men and women are getting the same type of liposuction or looking for the same results. “Guys don’t want to be thin, they want to be defined,” says Dr. Unger. “They want to get rid of the pudge at their waist, but they also want obliques and the manly contours that make them look stronger.” For men, it’s not just about getting rid of unwanted fat, but augmenting and enhancing muscle. “They want broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and no hips,” agrees Dr. Rogers.

To meet the desires of the male clients, Dr. Rogers, Dr. Unger, and many surgeons are using body contouring techniques with their liposuction. “I use the term lipo-sculpting or soft-definition liposuction,” says Dr. Unger. “The days of just removing fat and saying ‘job well done’ are over. What it really is now is definition liposuction.” That means not only removing fat, but doing it with the purpose of enhancing or creating muscle contours.

In Dr. Rogers’ case, it also means sometimes redepositing the fat in other areas to further augment muscles. It’s particularly common, he says, in patients who want liposuction on their chest area. He often “puts some fat under the muscle or into the muscle to build the pectoral back up,” he says. “You actually still have volume, but it just looks like muscle versus fat.”

While there is no way of telling how many men are going to liposculpture or fat grafting for muscle augmentation since the ASPS does not differentiate between those procedures and liposuction, both doctors see in their own practices that it’s becoming the standard in male liposuction.

2. Gynecomastia (Male Breast Reduction)

Gynecomastia surgery, or male breast reduction, is one of the other most common cosmetic procedures among men year over year. That’s partially because only men get it. Gynecomastia is the medical term for enlarged or feminized breasts in men and the surgical procedure usually involves removing the tissue in combination with liposuction to contour the area. Gynecomastia as a condition is common and affects about half of males at birth and one in four men age 50 to 69, according to the Mayo Clinic.

As Dr. Rogers notes, however, getting a male breast reduction does not necessarily mean you’re getting a textbook gynecomastia procedure. “I have a lot of patients who are asking for liposuction or contour on their chest,” he says. “You could put them into the same category because I’m working on their chest, but they’re not there for gynecomastia specifically.” No matter how you slice it, whether these men are getting true gynecomastia surgery or not, it’s clear that procedures to augment and contour the chest are increasingly popular.

3. Blepharoplasty (a.k.a. Eyelid Surgery)

“Men will come in and say, ‘I look tired and I look old’ but they don’t want a face lift,” says Dr. Rogers. The solution: an eye lift. Most men first notice signs of aging around their eyes and typically complain about eye bags or excess eyelid skin that they feel makes them look older. It’s expected, then, that blepharoplasty is consistently among the most popular procedures for men.

Eye lifts are performed on either the upper or lower lids (often both) and remove excess skin to smooth wrinkles and make the eye area appear smoother and more youthful. They’re popular among male patients, says Dr. Rogers, because they are relatively simple procedures that offer big results with little down time. “It’s a simple surgery,” he says. “The recovery is easy and there is little to no sign that you’ve had anything done.”

Dr. Unger notes that blepharoplasties among men are popular not only because, when performed properly, they aren’t obvious, but also because the results are subtle. “For men, it’s less about trying to be youthful and more about erasing the more obvious signs of aging around the eyes,” he says.

4. Hair Transplant

“Hair transplants are getting crazy popular,” says board certified plastic surgeon Ben Paul, MD, in New York City, who specializes in hair transplants and other hair-related procedures. According to the American Hair Loss Association, about two-thirds of men experience hair loss by the time they are 35 years old. That number climbs to 85 percent by the time they reach 50. The main culprit is androgenic alopecia (commonly referred to as male pattern baldness), and, as the name suggests, it is one of the issues men deal with most.

It’s understandable that hair transplants would be among the most popular cosmetic procedures for men, but one of the reasons that more men are seeking them out these days is that there have been technological advances that allow them to work better and leave less scarring. “In the past, the donor site was approached with a very big punch and many groups of hairs were transplanted together,” says Dr. Paul. That old way of doing it is what we call ‘hair plugs’ — and wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing.

“The average person has roughly 2.3 hairs per follicle,” he says. “Currently we do something called follicular unit extraction and that technique involves just taking the fundamental unit of hair (the follicle).” Individual donor follicles are taken from the back of the head and then transplanted into another area. “You can take up to half of the hair from the donor site before there is any visual decrease in density,” he says. The procedure has gotten so good, he says, that “we’re able to harvest through really small holes, so the healing is very rapid and the entire procedure is scalpel and suture free.”

While the procedure is time consuming (the average procedure takes six to eight hours), Dr. Paul says “the success rate is high with these techniques because you’re transplanting from your own body and you don’t have to worry that you’re going to reject yourself.” These new techniques are also effective treatments for facial hair and eyebrow hair.

5. Rhinoplasty (a.k.a. Nose Job)

“A third of all the rhinoplasties I do are on men,” says Dr. Rogers, illustrating just how popular nose jobs are among men who get cosmetic surgery. “They’re great because they can completely change the way your face looks in one procedure and can make an enormous difference.”

Men, however, are usually looking for something different than women when it comes to their rhinoplasty. “In general men want a more masculine nose,” he says. “They usually want it a little straighter and less of what’s called a super tip break (when there is a little tip above the tip of the nose). They also usually want it a bit bigger.”

That’s because smaller noses tend to read more feminine, says Dr. Unger, as does an “overly-sculpted nose.” He’s noticed that his male rhinoplasty patients don’t want their noses to look too perfect. “They want to retain some flaws: not perfectly straight, not a perfectly refined tip, a little hint of a hub. It looks more natural and more masculine.”

6. Dermal Fillers

Not all men who seek out cosmetic procedures are ready to go under the knife. Dermal fillers are more common among men than surgical procedures that could address the same issues. Hyaluronic fillers like Juvederm® and Voluma® are typically used to replenish lost volume in areas like the cheeks, while poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) and calcium hydroxyapatite (CaHA) fillers like Sculptra® and Radiesse® (respectively) are used because one of the most common places men want filler is along the jawline.

“Men ask for filler along the jawline more than women,” says Dr. Rogers. “It can help with jowls because when you start getting them, you can make them go away with filler.” For many men, a sharp chin and strong jawline are signs of masculinity and youth, so using filler to keep the skin around the jaw from sagging is a common request.

7. Neurotoxin Injections

Let’s just agree to stop calling it Brotox. Neurotoxins like Botox®, Dysport®, Jeuveau®, and Xeomin® are by far the most common cosmetic procedure for men. These injectable toxins smooth wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyebrows, and around the eyes, which makes them an easy way for men to combat visible signs of aging.

Men, however, are not always looking for the same results as women. “Men can get away with some lines,” says Dr. Rogers. “Frankly, sometimes it looks better for them to have some.” His male patients are usually looking to smooth very deep wrinkles, but not completely erase lines altogether. The biggest thing men should consider when getting Botox®, he says, is who is administering it. “A lot of people have a ton of experience treating women, but not necessarily with men,” he warns. “You don’t want to get treated exactly the same way because you may get a frozen look.” Men usually need less neurotoxin to get the results they want.

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GARRETT MUNCEis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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