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A Primer For Men And Cosmetic Surgery: Three Things You Should Discuss With Your Plastic Surgeon

May 9, 2008
While cosmetic surgery has been popular with women for at least two decades, it is only recently that Dr. Haven Barlow, a well-respected plastic surgeon in Fairfax, Virginia, has noticed an increase in the number of men who visit his practice. Most common procedures men are interested in are Botox, microdermabrasion and liposuction.

Botox® is a botulinum toxin used to temporarily paralyze nerves within one's facial appearance. Men may choose to have this safe, non-invasive procedure done to reduce the lines that may furrow their brows, or forehead. Microdermabrasion is another common procedure used to improve the appearance of one's skin by removing areas of damaged or wrinkled skin. Liposuction, a surgical procedure used to removed unwanted fat from the hips, legs, arms or backs can create a more youthful and athletic physique for men.

"Men are feeling more comfortable with being invested in their appearance," says Dr. Barlow. "They notice how great their wives look, or they wish they looked differently, and aren't afraid to ask how to gain back their younger-looking selves."

As the population ages, many successful, vibrant men are re-thinking their attitudes to dieting, face-care products and cosmetic surgery. Wanting to look youthful and appear dynamic well into one's 40s, 50s and 60s means that some men will turn to a trusted and experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Barlow for advice on how to regain a youthful appearance.

From 2000 to 2005, there was a 44 percent increase in minimally invasive cosmetic procedures among men, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures are those that do not require surgery and therefore mean a quicker return to the office and everyday life.

"Men are seeking out those treatments that will affect the way they look with the least possible fuss," says Dr. Barlow. "They want to try something that is not a huge investment in time, like Botox. But they are also seeking out information on male breast reduction surgery, also known as gynecomastia, calf-implants and liposuction. Most of the time, they come in knowing what they want. But after spending some time discussing their goals, I can suggest some other procedures that may fit better with their expectations."

For most men, discussing these procedures may at first feel uncomfortable. Dr. Barlow has three suggestions for men when discussing what their goals are for plastic surgery:

1. Identify exactly which physical attributes are making you uncomfortable. Do you wish you looked slimmer, more youthful or would you like to change the shape of your ears, nose or chest? Do you have a clear goal in mind? These will help your plastic surgeon determine the best plan of action.

2. Bring in a picture of yourself when you were younger, or a celebrity whose looks and physique you admire. This will help guide both you and your plastic surgeon toward your ultimate goal.

3. Keep an open mind about the procedures and techniques you are willing to try. Dr. Barlow's number one goal with all his patients is to be sure they understand the benefits of each procedure, so they can make an informed decision about how to proceed.

Looking to the future, Dr. Barlow says he expects tummy tucks and body lifts to become even more popular among men. Men are also electing to have liposuction under the chin, to minimize any unattractive bulges that may occur when wearing a tie.
About the Author
Dr. Haven Barlow has been specializing in plastic and cosmetic surgery for 20 years in Virginia, Maryland and the DC Metro area. He is currently the Chief of Plastic Surgery at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Learn more at Barlow Cosmetic Plastic Surgery.
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