Plastic Surgery for Men

Male Liposuction -- Before and After

Men Flock to Plastic Surgery But Need Different Procedures and Techniques
By Lloyd M. Krieger, MD

When I first started training in plastic surgery 12 years ago, I met only a few men who wanted to go under the knife. Plastic surgery was the domain of young women working on their bodies, and women over 35 refreshing their faces. Men picked up their wives and girlfriends after the procedures -- but stayed away from the operating room themselves.

Not anymore. Last year more than 800,000 men had plastic surgery procedures, according the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic surgery, and the number is growing. I see more and more men every month. Sports Illustrated now sits with Vogue in our magazine rack.

Men are turning to plastic surgery to feel better, look younger, and even help with their careers. But just as men are from Mars and women are from Venus in relationships, so too are they different when it comes to plastic surgery. With the wrong procedures, or the right procedures done incorrectly, men can wind up looking less like they did when they were in college -- and more like their college-aged daughters.

Why are men turning to plastic surgery?
The boom bust cycle we are living through helped draw men to plastic surgery.

With the greater wealth of the 90s, men, like women, wanted it all -- good times and good looks. Just as they purchased nice cars and stereo systems with their stock market winnings, they began to buy things to make them look better. Sometimes this meant fine suits or health club memberships. Increasingly, it meant plastic surgery.

Meanwhile our culture has become ever more obsessed with youth. Britney Spears is becoming passé as she nears her mid-twenties. Basketball players retire before 30. Youth represents health and success and men are embracing more aggressive ways of trying to maintain it.

With the lean times lately, many men tell me they feel professional competition from younger colleagues. Our youth culture does not reward aging gracefully, they explain, so one solution is to try to age more slowly. Plastic surgery offers some options for staving off the effects of time, and making men feel competitive in our more cutthroat workplaces.

Less Lifting, More Shaping
Where women tend to undergo lifts, men steer more toward reshaping and recontouring. Nationally, the top three surgical procedures for men are liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose work), and blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). Increasingly, men are going for Botox and skin treatments as well.

Even in-shape guys have love handles that tend to scream "flab." These can be easily addressed with liposuction. Likewise, many men I see complain of fullness in the chest (and I am not talking pecs here) that diminishes their masculine look. Liposuction provides excellent results here as well. This surgery can help bring back the abs men had in college.

Liposuction often provides desired outcomes that often cannot be achieved at the gym. Localized fat deposits that are hard to exercise away become inviting targets for liposuction. I had one patient nickname my liposuction machine his "mechanical personal trainer." Results like this are improved still more as men head back to the gym after their procedures.

Like rings in a tree trunk, lines reveal our age. In men, they tend to develop around the eyes and forehead. When treated early, Botox smooths fine lines on the face. By weakening tiny facial muscles, it stops the constant pulling that leads to lines on the overlying skin. Though the results only last between three and six months, the changes are impressive.

When fine lines around the eyes graduate to true wrinkles, eyelid surgery turns back the clock. By removing excess skin and fat of either the upper or lower eyelid, men look refreshed without changing their overall appearance.

As men age, their faces reveal the harsh effects of the sun. Fine lines, uneven skin tone and blotchiness are the after-effects of time spent outdoors playing sports. Chemical peels, often done without anesthesia, ease these signs of aging and provide a fresher, more youthful skin tone.

Different Procedures for Different Folks: Why Men Are Unlike Women in Plastic Surgery
Men have different goals from women in seeking plastic surgery. And their distinct anatomy means that simply offering the same procedure to men as women will leave men dissatisfied with the results.

Women tend to do well with fairly long recovery periods. Many go to special centers where they receive loving care and embrace the process as a sort of medical vacation. Men want to recover quickly and get back to work and play immediately.

Women tend to want more shape. Larger breasts, rounder bottoms. Men want a better defined, more angular shape on both their bodies and faces. Where women often crave dramatic results, many men seek subtle changes. So while a gall bladder surgery is the same for men and women, (with the exception of a little more whining from the guys) plastic surgery requires different approaches to the sexes.

In the face, for example, a standard facelift will often soften the features. While this is flattering for a woman, it can sometimes leave a man looking somewhat feminized. This means fewer facelifts for men, wider use of alternatives, and a rather different procedure for those men who are good facelift candidates.

Men tend to have fewer problems with "jowls" or loose skin on the lower parts of the face. They have more issues around the chin, neck and forehead. So where women of a certain age do well with facelifts, many men do better with such alternatives as chin liposuction, neck lifts, and forehead lifts. These three smaller procedures can often be combined, and provide a better result than the larger facelift operation. And the recovery is shorter, so the impatience my male patients display is not overly tested.

When men do go for facelifts, their thicker skin means they need a unique procedure. Less pulling of the skin itself, which tends to become overly thin when pulled, and more work tightening the deeper tissues of the face. Since men have beards, care must be taken not to move the hair-baring areas too close to the ears, or men will have to shave right up to their ear lobes.

Noses also need to be carefully sculpted in men. The pert little nose with a slightly uplifted tip is flattering for women – and a disaster for men. Conservative is the watchword for male nose surgery. The nose should not be made too small, and some of the hump in the middle should be left in place. This will give men the results they desire, without making them look like their wives and girlfriends.

And while both men and women both have great results from liposuction, they have fat deposits in different places. I rarely do lipo on men’s thighs, but I do a lot on their abdomens, love handles, and chests. Men often have more resilient skin than women, so it tends to shrink better following the procedure. This allows for more fat removal in some men.

Plastic surgery is no longer for women only. Men have great results, just like women. But their bodies, goals, and temperaments are different. So the correct procedures, done in the right way, need to be selected to give men the outcomes they're looking for.

Lloyd M. Krieger, M.D. is the founder and medical director of Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, CA. He welcomes your questions and comments by phone at 310-550-6300 or email at

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