Should Men Get Plastic Surgery?

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Americans spent more than $11 billion on cosmetic surgery procedures last year, but a new study might be enough raise even the most botox-ed of brows. Led by Dr. Joshua Zimm, a Manhattan-based plastic surgeon, the study showed that, when judged by independent viewers, patients appeared only moderately younger and no more attractive than before undergoing their respective procedures.

Aside from having no guarantee of better looks, cosmetic surgery patients are exposed to some of the same risks associated with non-elective procedures, including bleeding, infections, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. In fact, men are more susceptible to seromas (pooling of fluids) and hematomas (the collection of blood) from body contouring surgery than women.

Despite the risks, more men are choosing to have a little work done. Dr. Gregory Evans, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, says that the demographics of cosmetic surgery patients have been shifting for years. “When I was training in the eighties and nineties, one of the red flags was a male in the waiting room for cosmetic surgery,” Evans says. “That’s completely different now.”

While men still undergo fewer than 10 percent of all cosmetic procedures, they are opting for it more often, about 56 percent more often since the year 2000.

Nose jobs and eyelid surgeries remain the top procedures for men, but gynecomastia surgery (breast reduction) has grown in popularity in recent years. Nearly 21,000 men had their breasts reduced in 2012, an increase of 5 percent from 2011 and 27 percent from 2005.

Dr. Evans isn’t certain what’s driving more men to cosmetic surgery but says that he’s not overly concerned about Zimm’s study. “Ultimately, it’s not about how you are perceived by other people, it’s about how you perceive yourself,” Evans explained. “It’s about if you believe that you’ve got a younger, healthier look.”

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