When Dr. Robert Heck began to notice wrinkles in his forehead five years ago, he thought of all the patients he had treated with Botox. He decided it was his turn.

“I do Botox,” said Heck, 45, who works at Columbus Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery. “I tell all my patients I amfull of Botox.” Men are beginning to follow women into plastic-surgery offices.

Cosmetic procedures among men increased by 16 percent from 2000 to 2011 nationally, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, but still remain a small part of the practice. About 9 percent of cosmetic procedures were performed annually on men between 2008 and 2011, the society said.Heck said men, who make up 10 to 15 percent of his patients, often see the results their wives and girlfriends get from cosmetic procedures and ask, “Hey, why not me?

”Dr. Anne Taylor, an associate professor of surgery with the Ohio State University Department of Plastic Surgery, said she also sees many couples come into her office.

“I think that, as plastic surgery has gained acceptance throughout all society, this is just a natural progression,” Taylor said. About 30 percent of her patients are men.

One patient, Aaron, who did not want his last name published because he did not want people to know he had undergone a procedure, had liposuction on his abdomen and back two years ago.

The 41-year-old Columbus resident said he and his wife went into a plastic surgeon’s office together to each get procedures.“Guys probably need a little push,” said Aaron, who works in sales. “I may not have gone if she hadn’t set up the appointment.”

Dr. Alan Levy, a Columbus psychiatrist, said men increasingly feel pressure to look their best.“ As a society, we’re sort of pandering to men’s vanities and the importance that men maintain their physical attractiveness and their youthfulness in a way that used to be reserved just for women,” Levy said.

He said there is an increasing number of occasions when men feel that enhancing their appearances can give them a competitive edge, such as in the business world where they compete with a younger market. Others might be divorced or newly single men who want to improve their chances in the dating world.

Heck said he has “no doubt” there’s more of a stigma for men who seek cosmetic procedures than for women. Men think they should have been able to get results on their own in the gym, he said.

Aaron has largely kept his liposuction a secret for that reason. “That way they don’t know that I didn’t do it myself,” he said.The procedures do carry some risk, as does any surgery. Complications from cosmetic surgery can include blood clots, infection, scarring and nerve damage, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Aaron said the liposuction was worth the $7,000 he spent. “If you can get something fixed, why not get it fixed?” he said.

Dr. Tim Treece, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Columbus Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery, said men only pretend not to care about their appearance.“But the bottom line is men do care,” he said. “They just don’t express it as much.” 

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Categories: Plastic Surgery Talk