Cosmetic surgery: A fountain of youth for men, too

-Miami Herald. March 3, 2012. Ina Paiva Cordle,
When Albert Bender looks in the mirror now, he sees a much younger man. The deep folds around his face are smoother; his “turkey neck” gone.
Bender’s not ashamed to admit he’s had plastic surgery: two procedures from Dr. Carlos Wolf.
“I’m going to be 64 years old, and I look 54 — 10 years less now,” said Bender, an accountant who lives in Miami. “You have to take care of yourself, and it bothered me.”
Cosmetic surgery for men, including non-invasive procedures, is on the rise, and it’s no longer a closely held secret. From nose jobs and “man-boob” reduction, to liposuction, eyelid work, hair restoration and face and neck lifts, men are seeking to improve their appearance, both for themselves and to be attractive to others.
“The biggest motivating factor in men is dating younger women,” said Wolf, a board certified facial plastic surgeon and partner at Miami Plastic Surgery, who also writes a column for The Miami Herald.
More than 20 percent of the practice’s patients are men, said Wolf. One of the most common procedures is liposuction of the tummy or flanks.
“They’re trying to get in shape, working out, but can’t get rid of that last bit of fat,” Wolf said.
To rejuvenate the face, surgical options include eyelid surgery and facial and neck work.
Tom Grudovich “went along for the ride,” when he accompanied his wife to a consultation with Dr. Stephan Baker in Coral Gables. He ended up having his facelift first, six weeks ago. His wife will get her tummy tuck next.
Grudovich said he’s happy he did it. He thinks he looks younger, fresher and more rested — though he said he would never have thought of doing it on his own.
“It fits in better with who I am now, because I’m active,” said Grudovich, 64, who lives in Palm Beach and works out at the gym, swims and races vintage cars. “My face and jaw line don’t look so old man-ish.”
For Baker, about 10 percent of his patients are men, from those in their 20s who want excess breast fat removed, to those in their 30s, 40s and 50s who are seeking liposuction of the “love handles,” as well as those who get eyelid surgery or facelifts.
“There is a growing awareness in the public in general that it’s OK to have plastic surgery,” said Baker, a board certified plastic surgeon, who is also a spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “It’s not taboo.”
In fact, the total number of cosmetic procedures for men, including non-invasive procedures, rose to 12.6 million in 2010, up 9 percent from 2000, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Minimally invasive procedures like Botox, chemical peels and microdermabrasions make up the vast majority, rising 45 percent from 2000, to 11 million.
From 2009 to 2010, men’s cosmetic surgical procedures increased 2 percent, the organization’s figures show, and facelifts, alone, rose 14 percent.
And, of all plastic surgeries, the share of men’s procedures has grown more significantly — from 8 percent of the total in 2008 to 13 percent in 2010.
For men, Baker said the driving forces of plastic surgery include competition in the workplace, plus the fact that baby boomers tend to take care of themselves physically, and feel their faces don’t fit the rest of their bodies.
“And the third one is a lot of my patients tend to be on second or third relationships, where the new partners are 20-plus years younger,” he said, “and they don’t want to look like Dad when they are next to the partner.”
Dr. Rian Maercks, a plastic surgeon in Miami Beach, said 20 to 30 percent of his patients are men, with some of the most popular procedures related to the face.
“I do facial balancing, where I bring back the youthful features and bring out the inherent beauty of the face with [the filler] Juvederm, or fat grafting,” he said. He often combines that with upper and lower lid surgery.
Treating male pattern baldness with hair restoration is another popular way men can look younger.
The procedure involves taking hairs from the side and back that are genetically programmed to grow for a lifetime, and transferring them to the thinning or balding areas, said Dr. Bernard Nusbaum, medical director of the Hair Transplant Institute of Miami in Coral Gables, who performs 350 to 500 procedures a year.
“For many people, they think of hair transplants as the more outdated procedure, where clumps or plugs of hair were transplanted and looked like a doll,” said Nusbaum, a board certified dermatologist and hair restoration surgeon. “That’s not what is done today. We transplant follicular units — the hair grows naturally in groups of one, two or three hairs and it is these groupings that we transplant one by one.” The hairs are implanted close together, so it gives a completely natural look, he said.
“Without fail, having hair and framing the face makes a man look younger — it just restores youth, 10, 20 years to somebody, just by restoring hair,” he said.
In fact, long before he rejuvenated his face, Bender had hair restoration performed by Nusbaum.
“I got divorced 15 years ago, and I took care of everybody, but not myself,” Bender said. “So, I took care of my hair, and then my face.”

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