Why more men are going under the knife
A recent article published in The Age by MJ Angel:
Recently, I read a disturbing story from the US outlining the most popular and strange surgeries American men are opting for, including chest and lip hair transplants and scrotum reductions.
Curiosity prompted the question: is the increase in male cosmetic surgery due to the overwhelming pressure felt from the airbrushed body-beautiful images in the media? Or is it because the decision is more than skin deep?
Anthony Lamb, a 34-year-old IT professional from Sydney's CBD, ? recently underwent a cleft lip revision and rhinoplasty, to correct a defect from birth.
While Lamb lived a "normal" life – a good job, good friends and relationships – his physical appearance left him withdrawn and insular.
“I didn't want to live the last half of my life like the first.? There was no defining moment that prompted my decision; it was a gradual build-up” he says.
“After years of repression and angst, it was within my power to fix this. I fought internally against feelings of vanity but, in the world we live, the way we look does influence our career and social opportunities.”
There are no regrets, but Lamb admits the results have been underwhelming. “I still catch my reflection and pause, thinking, is that really me? Now I just look like everyone else.”
Lamb knows his next challenge is to build his confidence. “Don't put the onus on the surgery changing your life; it's YOU that needs to make the changes. But this surgery has undoubtedly given me the confidence I needed to make them.”
Sean Henderson is a 44-year-old healthcare professional from Sydney's Woollahra. As a younger man he was athletic and fit but, after a messy divorce and swapping lifestyle for career, Sean found his 170-centimetre frame tipping the scales at more than 140 kilos.
He was required to undergo medicals each year for his job, and his GP's concern was growing. So he hit the gym – only to gain more weight.
After seeing a number of doctors ?Henderson was finally diagnosed with an acute hormonal imbalance. Once treatment was administered he dropped more than 50 kilos in 20 months but was left with a large amount of loose skin.
“I've always been a confident guy. I was remarried and my new wife had no issue with my physical appearance but, as a dad and a man, I wanted to be able to live a healthy and active life.”
Henderson underwent liposuction first, removing five kilos of fat. Six months later he had a lipectomy to remove the large saggy belt of skin from his abdomen.
“I did this for me. It was my reward to myself to remind me of what I've achieved. Now, when I take my shirt off, I wear my scar like a badge of honour,” he laughs.
Dr Darryl Hodgkinson, a leading cosmetic surgeon with more than 30 years' experience, performed both procedures.
He reveals why Australian men are opting for surgery and what the most popular procedures are among our local lads.
“Changing or rejuvenating the face is definitely something Australian men are taking advantage of in increasing numbers,” he says.
“Rhinoplasty [nose jobs] and liposuction [including ab-sculpting, man-boobs and love-handles] are my most popular 'male' surgeries. But procedures like genital surgery I won't touch. There is too much psychology behind that!”
Hodgkinson's other popular procedures include lip, brow and facelifts, cheek and chin implants and otoplasty (ear re-shaping).
He says today the ratio of male to female patients is even. “It's 50-50. Men feel the same pressure of wanting to age gracefully and are tortured by the same insecurities women have about how they look.”
So what's the average age of men undergoing cosmetic enhancement? “The core of my clientele is around 40, successful and takes pride in his appearance,” Hodgkinson says. “There is also the ethnic sub-groups and younger men in their late teens or early 20's who come to me for rhinoplasty.”
If you are considering any type of cosmetic surgery, Hodgkinson recommends asking lots of questions.
“The first question to ask yourself when considering surgery is: Why? Do I need it? Can I afford it? Who am I doing it for and what's my motivation? Is it for me, my partner, my popularity or confidence?”
When it comes to selecting the right surgeon, the most important thing is rapport. Hodgkinson urges people to think about how comfortable they feel with their doctor.
“You don't want a sales pitch; you wants results – medical imagining, reality testing. Ask if what they're promising you is achievable?”
Know the risks. While good surgeons will take every precaution, things can still go wrong. “You need to know what the risks are, what complications can arise and what the associated costs are,” Hodgkinson says.
Lastly, he recommends: “Don't rush. Take your time. Make sure you have a great support person through the process. And don't forget to follow up, post surgery.”