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Brand-New Man
Cosmetic enhancement procedures aren’t just for women.


March 2019

Welcome to 2019, where plastic surgery is no longer a service exclusively in the purview of coastal socialites and “Real Housewives.”

More Americans than ever are turning to both surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic enhancements, and it’s not just women taking advantage of these services — men, too, are meeting with plastic surgeons in pursuit of treatments like liposuction, hair transplants and injectables including Botox (or “Brotox,” if you please).

In 2017, more than 1.3 million cosmetic procedures were performed on men, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Since 2007, Botox has quadrupled in popularity among men; the number of men who received filler injections increased by 99 percent over the same period, up to nearly 100,000.

The organization also reports that procedures like liposuction, tummy tucks and breast reductions have increased in popularity among men. Those national statistics align with what Wisconsin plastic surgeons are seeing in their own practices.

“Fifteen years ago, Botox was talked about in movies, like people having frozen faces,” says Dr. Mark F. Blake of the Clinic of Cosmetic Surgery in Milwaukee. “Now, those myths are being dismissed and brought to light. It’s almost the norm; it’s no longer taboo.”

Endorsements from professional athletes and celebrities have also put men at ease with the idea of cosmetic enhancement, Blake says. Celebs like retired Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher have signed on to promote cosmetic enhancements — as you drive south on I-94 toward Chicago, the billboards featuring Urlacher as the face of RESTORE hair transplants are ubiquitous.

“[Urlacher] is a great example of just how natural things can look,” Blake says. “It’s no longer hair plugs and things like that.”

At the Neenah-based Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery, which also has a Mequon clinic, Dr. Todd M. Van Ye says he frequently sees men for upper eyelid surgery, hair transplants and body contouring for the chest or love handles. Neck lifts — similar to face lifts — are growing in popularity among Van Ye’s male patients, especially those who wear a shirt and tie for work and want to tighten loose skin around the collar.

Van Ye says the stigma around plastic surgery for men has started to erode, thanks to advances in the field that are helping to ensure natural-looking results.

“Whether it’s men or women, nobody wants to look artificial,” Van Ye says. “We’re not trying to make people look artificial. We’re just trying to correct something that is drawing unnecessary attention.”

In years past, plastic surgery generally required days or even weeks of recovery. But as technology has improved, many nonsurgical, minimally invasive procedures now require no downtime at all, which is appealing to men who are on the fence about treatment. Outpatient procedures like CoolSculpting, a method of freezing body fat, have emerged as an alternative to liposuction, which requires a longer recovery time. Though CoolSculpting is popular among both men and women, Blake says it’s especially appealing to his male patients who are worried about discretion. With no downtime, there’s no need to explain to the boss that you need to take off a week or two from work to recover from plastic surgery.

“You can literally come in at lunch time and get a treatment, then go back to the gym or back to work,” Blake says.

Despite rising interest, men in Wisconsin aren’t embracing cosmetic enhancements quite as quickly as their coastal counterparts, Blake and Van Ye say — trends in plastic surgery tend to gain momentum in bigger cities and urban areas before arriving in the Midwest. But both agree that men in Wisconsin are increasingly open to both surgical and nonsurgical procedures as a method to boost confidence and address a physical concern, whether it’s balding, drooping eyelids or other signs of aging.

“Guy are image-aware, just like women are,” Van Ye says.  “Guys don’t want to have a belly if they can avoid it, and if they struggle with it, some CoolSculpting or liposuction is great.”

How Men Spend

Studies have shown that good-looking men often fare better in their workplaces and romantic lives, so it’s little wonder that men of all ages are seeking cosmetic enhancements in record numbers, with younger men focused on reshaping their bodies and older men looking to erase the effects of time. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), a few procedures top the list for their male patients seeking to look (and feel!) their best. In a 2017 roundup, the ASAPS named these the five most popular procedures chosen by men.

1. Botox: ASAPS reported that in 2017 Botox was the most popular male cosmetic enhancement overall, clocking in at 160,398 procedures throughout the year. 

2. Hyaluronic Acid: Fillers were second runner-up, with 46,565 men choosing the nonsurgical procedure to plump the skin in areas that have thinned out, most commonly including the cheeks, lips and around the mouth.

3. Lipsouction: Liposuction was the third-most-popular procedure men opted for in 2017 overall, and the most popular surgical procedure, with 31,021 men undergoing the process that year.

4. Nonsurgical Fat Reduction: More than 23,000 men chose nonsurgical alternatives to lipsuction, including CoolSculpting, Vaser Shape and Liposonix.

5. Eyelid Surgery: The second-most popular surgical procedure selected by men, and fifth most popular overall, was blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, with 22,311 men opting for the enhancement (which reduces bagginess from lower eyelids and removes excess skin from the upper lids) in 2017.


This story ran in the March 2019 issue of: