Most people do not associate men with having cosmetic surgery, especially facial cosmetic surgery. Indeed, many may imagine that the men they know (or are related to) wouldn’t be “the type” to undergo this type of surgery. However, the reality is somewhat different.
The most recent statistics released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) show that over 4000 procedures were carried out last year alone on men. Of these, over 1000 were nose jobs, over 600 were eyelid lifts and over 250 facelifts were carried out on men.
“There is much more acceptance of aesthetic surgery in society nowadays, and it seems that men are also feeling less stigmatised and inhibited about undergoing cosmetic surgical procedures” according to Purity Bridge Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mr Marc Pacifico. “The men who have come to see me about aesthetic facial surgery come from a range of backgrounds, but the majority are middle-aged professionals.” This statement alone appears to contradict the perception that male cosmetic surgery is somehow for a niche market.
“It is always important for me, as a plastic surgeon, to understand why any patient may be considering any form of plastic surgery” Mr Pacifico continues, “and a variety of reasons are given by my male patients. Some feel that they look old and tired, and fear that in such a competitive working climate, this may count against them. Therefore if there is any way of giving them a fresher appearance it will not only give them a physical advantage, but also a huge psychological boost. Others, for example, are particularly unhappy with the appearance of their nose, or feel that a particular area such as their neck seems to be ageing at a faster rate than other areas. Therefore they wish to focus on this one area to bring it in to line, so to speak, with the rest of their face”.
So, what are some of the procedures commonly requested by men, and what do they involve?
Face and neck lifts
Modern facelifting techniques no longer produce a wind-tunnel tight look but nowadays, according to Mr Pacifico, “the results are a natural and refreshed look which don’t carry the tell-tale signs of an operation”. This is because they rely on the lifting of the internal tissues to the position they once held when younger rather than purely being skin-tightening procedures.
Men, in contrast to women, have to consider the possible effect of a facelift on their shaving and 5 o’clock shadow, which may move. This should be discussed carefully with the surgeon. In addition, most men don’t have hair that is long enough to conceal the scar during the early healing phase, so should bear this in mind when thinking about their recovery. Despite this, due to men having thicker facial skin than women, the scars usually heal very well indeed.
An eyelid lift, or blepharoplasty, is probably the single most effective operation for restoring a fresh and bright look to someone’s face. “As a plastic surgeon, the most satisfying comment to hear from patients following eyelid surgery, is that their friends think they look different, fresh and very well, but can’t put their finger on what has changed about them!” says Mr Pacifico.
Blepharoplasty may be performed on the upper or lower lids, or both at the same time. If on the upper lids alone, this is usually done under a local anaesthetic, but a lower lid operation is more involved and is usually done under a general anaesthetic. Recovery from an upper lid lift is quicker than for lower lids, but both will leave temporary bruising and swelling that will resolve over 1-2 weeks following surgery.
Both men and women can be particularly self-conscious about the appearance of their nose. Surgery to reshape the nose involves not only breaking and changing the appearance of the nasal bones, but also manipulation of the rubbery cartilage of the nose. Rhinoplasty surgery requires a general anaesthetic and is either performed as day case surgery or with an overnight stay. A wide variety of techniques exist and it is important that the surgical plan made is bespoke to the individual, as no-one has the same nose. “Rhinoplasty surgery is widely thought of as being the most challenging of facial plastic surgery operations”, Mr Pacifico explains, “as minute changes to the underlying nasal skeleton may have significant effects on the appearance of the nose following surgery”.
Prominent ear set back
The demand for correction of prominent ears (otoplasty or pinnaplasty) continues to grow. This can be done under a local anaesthetic and takes up to 90-minutes. The results can be appreciated immediately, but it can still take a few weeks for residual swelling of the ears to settle down. “Like all facial aesthetic surgery, the goal of otoplasty surgery should be to give natural-looking ears – certainly not ears that are over-corrected and set too far against the head” Mr Pacifico comments.
There are many other procedures that can be used to address other areas of concern on the face – from the brow to the chin and beyond.