If you were to believe every press release sent out on the wires, you might think men are flocking to consult cosmetic surgeons in droves. Marketing professionals say men are “changing their attitudes” about plastic surgery and “more men than ever” are seeking professional help in looking and feeling their best.
Truth is, the trends in cosmetic surgery for men are more complex than that. It’s a fact that men seek plastic surgery too—very few surgeons treat just women. But taking in all the hype at face value can be misleading. To get to the real picture, it pays to dig a little deeper.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) just released its 2010 statistics, identifying a 2% rise in male plastic surgery. In fact, the ASPS says men are "Fuel[ing a] Rebound in Plastic Surgery." ASPS statistics show that more men did indeed seek plastic surgery in 2010 over 2009--203,197 more, to be precise. In other words, because men make up a relatively small portion of the total patient pool (about 9%), a 2 point rise in percentage does not equal a huge number, at least not one that seems worthy of being touted as the reason for a post-recession industry rebound.
Similarly, the ASPS notes that "facelifts for men rose 14% in 2010," and that does sound impressive. But again, that percentage seems large because the overall number is small. In fact, just under 11,000 men opted for facelift surgery in 2010, says an ASPS chart.
2009 statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) agree that men account for about 9% of all procedures (their 2010 numbers aren't out yet), and that percentage has grown by 1% in the past year. Looking more closely, you can see that men are taking advantage of newer, less invasive treatments like Botox, and their interest in cosmetic surgery has declined quite a bit over time. Whereas the rate of women seeking cosmetic surgery or treatment increased almost 50% from 1997 to 2009, the rate of men seeking cosmetic procedures actually decreased by about 18%, says the ASAPS.
When men do visit a cosmetic surgeon, what procedures do they choose? How similar are they to women in their appearance concerns?