By Nebil Bill Aydin, MD, New York Group for Plastic Surgery
My patient, Steven A., came to me for a reason that I have been hearing more often in the wake of a shaky job market. Mr. A. explained that at only age 54 he was one of the older executives at his firm, which had undergone a series of lay-offs recently. While Mr. A. felt fairly secure in his position, he was concerned that he wouldn’t be perceived as the right fit to lead prominent long-term projects or those involving new technologies – though in fact he was more than capable.
Mr. A. wasn’t looking to dramatically change his appearance — just soften a few signs of facial aging. Deep-set wrinkles and fine lines within the face are relatively simple to correct using a small amount of injectable facial filler, a non-invasive (no cutting) office procedure.
As with women, there are a variety of reasons a man might seek to change or improve his physical appearance. Like Mr. A., many of my male patients ages 45—60 want to appear “experienced but not too old” for employment or social reasons. Others have been bothered all their lives by a nose that seems too large for their face or ears that stick out, for example, but they haven’t had the financial ability or time to address their concerns until later in life.
In addition to facial aging, another common reason men come to my office is to remove excess fat that has accumulated in their breast tissue – know medically as gynecomastia and in popular culture as “man boobs.” Gynecomastia has various causes including certain medications (heart, prostate) or health conditions (thyroid, kidney) that can affect hormone balance. Gynecomastia can also be genetically inherited.
Extra breast fat can be removed with liposuction, a minimally invasive office procedure that uses a vacuum-like device to remove fat from targeted areas of the body. (Like any surgical procedure, liposuction can have recovery time and some risks that should always be made clear to the patient.) In certain circumstances, when actual breast tissue needs to be removed in addition to excess fat a small incision is required, but the surgery is straightforward and associated with minimal down time.
Some men are also seeking to reduce stubborn fat around their middle section. For many, diet and exercise to lose this extra weight just hasn’t achieved the desired result. Liposuction can provide improved shape after weight loss or give a head start toward losing weight and toning the body. I strongly advise all my patients to monitor their calorie intake and maintain a consistent exercise routine. Liposuction is a contouring procedure that can achieve fantastic results when combined with a healthy lifestyle, but I do remind my patients that fat consumed by the body has to go somewhere!
Though I’m a plastic surgeon, I still appreciate that facial lines or wrinkles can give a person’s face character and can actually enhance their looks. But for some men and women, taking steps to feel better about their appearance can improve self-esteem. There are also health benefits to some cosmetic procedures. For example, removing excess weight can actually improve blood pressure, cholesterol and/or diabetes in some patients.
Everyone can take preventive steps to help fight aging by preserving skin tone and elasticity. Avoid skin tanning or burning (in the sun or tanning salons) and wear a daily lotion with SPF protection. Don’t smoke, and try to eat healthy and exercise to improve skin quality, help stave off that bothersome mid-section weight, and improve your overall energy!