American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Staying ahead in a competitive era: The use of plastic surgery in career trajectory

the use of plastic surgery in career trajectory

In the face of economic uncertainty and ever-evolving job markets, men are finding innovative ways to stand out and get ahead of the competition. With procedures like facelifts, eye lifts and Botox, plastic surgery is a tool that can maintain vitality and confidence, which can aid with career resilience in the long run.

We dug into the ways in which plastic surgery is equipping men to better navigate the pressures of an unpredictable economy, aided by the insights from ASPS Member Surgeons Josef Hadeed, MD, FACS, and Ira Savetsky, MD.

The changing demographics in plastic surgery

Plastic surgeons across the United States have observed a steady increase in the percentage of men seeking plastic surgery over the past decade as the demographics of people undergoing plastic surgery continue to shift.

"We've definitely seen more men undergo procedures over the years," said Hadeed. "We've also seen younger patients over the years. I think, historically, plastic surgery was mainly geared towards women, and the statistics show that it is still mostly women that are seeking out plastic surgery procedures. However, there has been a steady increase in the percentage of men seeking plastic surgery over the past decade. And I feel like, eventually at some point, those numbers might be similar because men also want to look and feel good about themselves just like women do."

As it turns out, this increase in the demand for such cosmetic procedures among men can be, to some extent, attributed to virtual meetings during the pandemic, which has been dubbed "The Zoom Effect" by some plastic surgeons.

"People weren't having in-person meetings during the pandemic, and almost everything was done on Zoom or other video-conferencing platforms," said Hadeed. "People were seeing themselves on their computer monitor, side-by-side compared to their colleagues. And a lot of people were noticing things about themselves that maybe they really weren't paying attention or noticing as much before the pandemic. So, a lot of patients would come to us and say, 'Hey, I always feel like I have tired-looking eyes whenever I am on these Zoom calls.' Same thing with facelifts – people would notice that they have a little bit more saggy skin or jowling that maybe they weren't really paying attention to previously."

Popular procedures among men

While plastic surgery for men continues to increase in popularity, plastic surgeons have noticed that certain procedures stand out among their male clientele.

"There has been an observable trend in men seeking cosmetic procedures like facelifts, eye lifts and Botox to appear younger and more vital," said Savetsky.

Factors such as changing beauty standards, increased societal acceptance, a competitive job market and the influence of public figures have contributed to this rising trend. Savetsky also pointed out that "the most commonly requested plastic surgery procedures by men are based on individual preferences and concerns related to appearance."

Facelifts and eye lifts

According to Hadeed, facelifts and eye lifts have become more widely requested among male patients and recalled one particular patient whose eye lift led to more compliments directed at him at his office, which enhanced his experience in the workplace.

"He didn't really tell anybody that he had had anything done," said Hadeed, "I think it goes to show that even a small change can actually translate into a big difference in terms of how people perceive someone."

Liposuction and gynecomastia

Recently, there has been an uptick in demand among men for body contouring procedures that can target concerns that are common with male patients.

"Male breast reduction, or gynecomastia surgery, is a very commonly requested procedure," said Hadeed. "Liposuction is also a very popular procedure among men."

Gynecomastia surgery addresses the enlargement of male breast tissue, an issue that can be both physically and emotionally distressing for many men. The desire for a more contoured and masculine chest appearance is driving men to seek solutions that provide confidence and comfort in their own skin.

The combination of liposuction and gynecomastia surgery offers a comprehensive approach to achieve these desired outcomes, further emphasizing the evolving landscape of male cosmetic procedures.

Nonsurgical procedures

Savetsky also revealed that there's been an increase in noninvasive procedures, which can help create a more youthful appearance in patients and thus may help further their career in the workforce.

Nonsurgical procedures can include dermal fillers to add volume and reduce wrinkles, Botox to relax facial muscles and minimize lines, laser treatments for skin rejuvenation and radiofrequency skin tightening to address mild to moderate skin laxity and improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin.

"These procedures offer minimal downtime, making them attractive to men seeking subtle enhancements without the commitment of surgery," said Savetsky.

However, he also pointed out that the longevity of results may vary, and multiple treatments might be required for maintenance. Consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon can help determine the best options based on individual goals.

Impact on male patients' professional lives

Savetsky recognizes that during times of economic uncertainty, some men may consider plastic surgery to enhance their appearance and remain competitive in the job market, but it is important to only seek plastic surgery for the right reasons.

"It is essential for anyone considering plastic surgery to make a well-informed decision based on their personal motivations, goals and realistic expectations," said Savetsky. "Plastic surgery should always be approached as a personal choice rather than a requirement to stay competitive in any job market."

Hadeed shared a similar sentiment, asserting that in his experience, most male patients seek out plastic surgery for themselves.

"They don't really do it for their spouses or significant others," said Hadeed. "They do it because they want to feel good about themselves, whether it's because they feel like they need to compete in the workforce or, maybe, there's something that they've always been self-conscious about."

Aside from any potential competitive edge in the workplace, there are many psychological benefits men receive from these procedures that can have a positive impact on their mental health.

"I think self-confidence and self-esteem is probably number one benefit, generally speaking," said Hadeed. "Once somebody has that self-confidence, it just translates into so many other aspects of their life – their personal life, their professional life and more."

Stigmas and ethical considerations

While male plastic surgery is undoubtedly growing in popularity and acceptance, some plastic surgeons believe there is still more work to be done in making it more socially acceptable for men to talk about their experiences openly.

"I would say there's more of a stigma attached to men than there is for women, but if you go back in time, there also used to be a stigma attached to women undergoing plastic surgery, and I feel like in the female demographic, a lot more women openly talk about their plastic surgery," said Hadeed. "In fact, you often see women on social media on Instagram sharing their stories about plastic surgery. So, I feel like we've reached a point now where it's more socially acceptable for women to have plastic surgery, and I feel like in the male demographic, we haven't quite gotten to that point yet. Although, my suspicion is that as time goes on, it will be more socially acceptable for males to talk about having plastic surgery out in the open."

Aside from the stigma sometimes still attached to male plastic surgery, there is also an ethical need for plastic surgeons to ensure their patients are choosing a procedure for the right reasons and have reasonable expectations.

"Surgeons must ensure patients fully understand the risks and benefits, setting realistic expectations while avoiding exploiting societal pressures," said Savetsky. "Psychological evaluations may be beneficial to assess patients' motivations and ensure well-being. Ethical marketing practices should not encourage unnecessary procedures, and surgeons should reject those that could compromise patient health. Patient-centered care and long-term considerations are essential to uphold ethical standards in plastic surgery."

Risks and considerations

Both surgeons highlighted the risks and potential negative outcomes of any plastic surgery procedure. Plastic surgery is still real surgery and, although uncommon, complications may occur that all patients should be aware of.

"Even though the risks, thankfully, don't tend to occur frequently, there's no such thing as a zero-risk surgery," said Hadeed.

Your plastic surgeon will always discuss the risks of any procedure with during your consultation. This consultation is also a time for the surgeon to understand your motives for surgery and what your goals are.

"I would recommend making sure that you're doing it for yourself, not because there's any outward pressure on you to get the procedure done," said Hadeed. "And then, I would recommend researching the surgeons in your area who have experience with the particular procedure."

The consultation isn't just the time for the plastic surgeon to get to know you, it's also an opportunity to make sure you feel comfortable with that surgeon.

"We always say it never hurts to have two or three consultations with two or three different surgeons just to get a difference of opinion and find somebody that you feel comfortable with and who you feel like would be a good fit for you," said Hadeed.

Plastic surgery can help at work, but it has larger benefits

The rising interest in plastic surgery among men demonstrates a shifting societal perspective on cosmetic enhancement – not only in the workplace, but beyond.

Whether motivated by the desire to stay competitive in an uncertain economy or simply to feel good about oneself, plastic surgery is increasingly for self-improvement and confidence-building for men. These insights from Hadeed and Savetsky underscore the importance of individual motivation, realistic expectations and ethical considerations when choosing to undergo these procedures.

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


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