Men and beauty: rhinoplasty, necklifts and liposuction

27 March 2015

By Plastic Surgeon Dr Dirk Kremer

Males desiring six packsBeauty is an undefinable concept. When we think about beauty, we think about the most recent and popular associations with beauty - we think of the models used in magazines and the celebrities in the press. Some people believe that beauty is what is natural and 'untarnished' while others argue that cosmetics - whether surgical or non-surgical - can enhance our natural appearance to create beauty. Whatever your opinion, these notions of beauty are often dependent on trends and can change from decade to decade.

Men and the new survival of the fittest: the survival of the most beautiful
The desire to improve our appearance can sometimes feel like second nature - as if it is our human instinct that encourages us to aim to be ‘our most beautiful’ - and this is when the option of surgical enhancement can seem appealing. Beauty enhancement is a practice often associated with women who supposedly desire a younger and slender appearance, however, with such compelling social and media pressures as we face nowadays, a large percentage of men are now also being encouraged to undergo surgical treatments to improve their looks.

Today’s beauty standards tend to be particularly difficult to achieve naturally, when superheroes are embedded in the media as role models, not only for young boys but for men too. Comics and movies have even been held responsible for putting additional pressures on men, with their power to assert an ‘idealised’ notion of masculinity, and superheroes that are featured in the media reinforce the idea that a youthful appearance - defined cheekbones, a strong jaw and obvious muscles - are all that are needed for men to be considered strong, handsome and desirable.

Times are changing

In 2013, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) revealed there was a double-digit increase in the number of cosmetic treatments undertaken in the UK, with male surgery rising by 16% overall. However, more recent statistics have revealed that the number of men undergoing cosmetic surgery decreased by 15% in 2014. This fall has been linked to a male desire to recreate the “rugged” look that was popular last year, revealing that, as the male grooming culture continues to grow, men are increasingly following the style trends set by male celebrities and fashions. Despite the decrease, men still account for roughly one in ten (9%) of all cosmetic surgery procedures, so how have beauty trends adapted to reflect this consistent demand from what is essentially still a “new” patient demographic?

Baby-faced: face lifts, neck lifts and eye lifts

As ageing gracefully is becoming increasingly important, a greater number of men are opting to undergo facelifts, necklifts and eyelifts in an attempt to improve their appearance. In 2014, blepharoplasty was the most popular procedure among men, accounting for 849 of a total 4,042 procedures, while face lifts and neck lifts ranked in 6th position (327 procedures performed on men in 2014). Facelift and necklift treatments work by removing excess fat and tightening the skin in the targeted areas, resulting in a younger-looking appearance and a confidence boost for the individual. Celebrities have admitted to choosing cosmetic enhancement to retain their desired look. Gene Simmons, lead singer in the band Kiss, admitted to having a facelift that concentrated on removing excess fat from his chin, while celebrity producer Simon Cowell has demonstrated that non-surgical treatments, such as Botox – which is mostly linked to use by women – can also work to give a man a more youthful look. Simon Cowell has been open about his frequent Botox injections, acknowledging them as a major part of his beauty routine.

A nosy society

Despite being the most popular cosmetic procedure among men in 2013, statistics show that rhinoplasty has dropped by 30% in 2014 to account for just 713 procedures, compared to 1,037 last year, and become the second most popular surgery among men – after eyelid surgery. Rhinoplasty, more commonly known as a nose job, is a procedure in which a surgeon reshapes your nose to improve or correct its appearance, and one which allows the patient to choose the shape and style of their new nose - to a certain extent. In 2006, American radio and TV personality Howard Stern admitted to undergoing rhinoplasty and liposuction to improve the look of his face. He asked the surgeon to remove the bump on his nose to obtain a narrower nose, and a subtle, more symmetrical appearance with a straighter nose shape. As the nose is a noticeable feature, rhinoplasty can change the overall appearance of the face. However, this procedure does not have to be purely aesthetic – it can also enhance the airflow of an individual, and their sense of smell.

A fat-free appearance

In 2013, liposuction was noticeably the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure - with 558 out of 4,757 men who went under the knife that year having had the treatment, a 28% increase from 2012. In 2014, however, this number dropped by 10% to just 489 procedures being performed. The growing popularity of the procedure in 2013 was linked to the superhero movie trend, and the perception that male beauty is dependent upon prominent abdominal muscles. Although numbers slumped last year, we can continue to see that both liposuction and breast reduction remain popular among men desiring a slimmer, fat-free look. To achieve the sought-after heroic six pack, surgeons usually perform a treatment called etching, which removes a small line of fat that stretches from the belly button and upwards.

What will be this year’s most popular surgical trend?

It is very common for middle-aged men to experience significant hair loss and hair thinning. Considering this, it’s no surprise that recently a significant number of men have addressed their hair problems by undergoing hair transplant treatments. Many people in the public eye have admitted to choosing this option, including footballer Wayne Rooney, X Factor judge Louis Walsh, actor James Nesbitt, TV chef Gordon Ramsay and Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner, and each of them have broadcast their satisfaction with the results. Nesbitt, in particular, claimed that his hair transplant procedure was life changing. With such a rapid growth in hair transplant surgery in recent years, I believe that we could be seeing a lot more of this particular procedure throughout 2015 – although I do not perform it myself.

Although all male surgery procedures saw a decrease in numbers in 2014, the ratio of men undergoing surgery remained the same as in previous years. Not only does this fact reveal that male surgery continues to be as popular and acceptable as ever, it also highlights that men are subject to beauty fads and surgery trends in much the same way as women are, and the statistics react accordingly. Although you should always have realistic expectations when it comes to surgery, if it can make your life better, I am more than happy to help. If you’re interested in cosmetic surgery and would like to explore your options, contact my practice today to arrange an initial consultation!e...


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