Ever looked in the mirror and desperately wanted ears that didn’t stick out so much? Or spotted a bald patch you wished wasn’t there?
Well, cosmetic surgery could be the game-changing solution. While men only account for around 10 per cent of cosmetic procedures carried out in the UK today, more of us than ever before are at least open to the idea of having a little ‘work’ done.
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, though, we’re moving away from radical procedures and towards more minor tweaks – attempting to enhance what we already have, rather than trying to build again from scratch, so to speak.
There are myriad procedures now available to men (including beard transplants) but the most common are rhinoplasty (more commonly known as nose jobs), blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), male breast reduction (in cases of gynaecomastia), liposuction and otoplasty (ear correction), while an increasing number of guys are opting for hair transplants.
“Men want to look good for their age nowadays, especially as there seems to be more competition in the workplace,” says Bernadette Harte, non-surgical manager at The Harley Medical Group. According to Harte, eyelid surgery is the most common procedure with middle-aged men, while younger men tend to want fat removed, most commonly from their chests.
Considering going under the knife? Then you might find this article a helpful resource for getting the low-down on surgery – from what procedures involve, to how much they’ll set you back. As with any reasonably invasive means of improving your appearance, it pays to know the facts.
Rhinoplasty, or to give it its colloquial name, the nose job, is one of the most performed aesthetic surgeries in the world and – with over a thousand performed every year – one of the most popular with men in the UK.
Some men are simply unhappy with the nose the big man gave them, while others book in for the procedure to correct a nose broken in an accident, or as a result of a sport-related injury.
A fairly straightforward procedure, the rhinoplasty operation is carried out inside the nose, so no scars are visible following the surgery. An incision is made inside the nostrils, which allows access to the bones and cartilage beneath. The surgeon then re-shapes the bone and cartilage – either removing some or adding tissue to the area – before folding the skin back over the new ‘framework’, changing the size and shape of the nose.
The operation usually takes around two hours, requiring a local anaesthetic and an overnight stay in hospital. While the op itself is relatively quick, you can however expect signs of the procedure to linger for a while.
“Bruising is very individual,” says Harte. “It usually tends to last about ten days post-rhinoplasty, though some people may not experience any bruising at all – just mild redness.” It’ll also take a while for the final result of the rhinoplasty to be fully visible: “It can take the nose a year to look its best,” she says.
Prices vary, but expect to pay around £3,000-£5,000 depending on whether you just want the tip changed or a more extensive overhaul.
Hair transplants officially came out of the cosmetic surgery closet the moment Man United striker Wayne Rooney tweeted:
Just to confirm to all my followers I have had a hair transplant. I was going bald at 25 why not. I'm delighted with the result.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) June 4, 2011
Rooney’s not alone. With 40 per cent of under-35-year-olds already going thin on top, there’s a sizeable market out there for transplants.
Some men embrace baldness – and props to them – but for others thinning hair can negatively affect their self-esteem. A hair transplant can help achieve fuller locks and boost self-confidence.
The procedure Rooney opted for – and the most popular form of transplant – Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), is a much less invasive treatment than previous techniques and involves removing individual hairs from the back or side of the head (or the chest if you’re already too thin on top for hair to be harvested from your bonce) and implanting them elsewhere on your scalp, usually where hairs once grew.
Carried out under local anaesthetic, the procedure takes around eight hours (remember to pack a good book) and costs around £10,000. “FUE is simple, minimally invasive and there are no stitches or obvious scars,” says Dr. Raghu Reddy of The Private Clinic in London’s Harley Street.
Since the more hair you’ve lost, the more the procedure is likely to cost, he advises addressing the issue sooner rather than later. If you leave it until you look like Jean-Luc Picard, you’ve probably left it a little too late.
Also bear in mind that one FUE procedure may not permanently solve thinning hair problems. If you are predisposed to male pattern baldness (MPB), you will likely have to undergo repeat procedures as often as every couple of years to fend off hair loss; Rooney, for example, has already had at least two treatments.
Given the popularity of facial hair – and some men’s disappointment at what, if anything, emerges from their chins when they try to grow some – it was inevitable that beard transplants would grow in popularity once the beard craze really kicked in.
In fact, according to a poll by WhatClinic.com, surgeons saw a 72 per cent rise in enquiries about beard transplants in 2014. There was a 21 per cent increase in enquiries about pubic hair transplants too, but let’s leave that one for another time.
A transplant is a long-term solution to patchiness in your beard. Or maybe you have very little facial fuzz and just want a bushier, thicker beard.
Like Follicular Unit Extraction, individual hairs are extracted from the hair at the back of the scalp (body hair can also be used) and replanted, one by one, where they’re needed most.
A full beard requires around 4,000 hairs to be transplanted while a goatee needs around 1,500. It’s expensive (expect to pay between £3,000-£6,000) and time-consuming (taking between three to nine hours) but the results, which will need several months to bed in, can look great and scarring is minimal.
Worth considering if you’re hung up on your patchy (or non-existent) beard, but probably not best advised if you’re only interested in jumping on the current beard bandwagon.
“Usually the men that come to see me are in their thirties or forties and they’re from all walks of life – from office workers and city boys to labourers,” says Harley Street Surgeon Dr. Roberto Viel from the London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery – one of the first surgeons to use a fat-busting technology called Liposelection.
“Sometimes they just want a little excess removed or they want to tackle beer bellies and back fat, but some want further definition [achieved] by removing fat covering muscle.”
Sometimes there are stubborn pockets of fat that no amount of dieting and exercise seems to shift. Fat removal techniques like Liposelection offer a fast and effective solution to love handles and more.
If you’ve seen liposuction in action, you’ll know it’s basically a procedure where fat is sucked out of the body using a tube. A gentler, less invasive procedure is Vaser Liposelection, which offers a precise way of removing small pockets of fat from the abdomen, neck and chin.
Vaser Liposelection uses ultrasound waves to break up fat while leaving other tissues undamaged. The broken-up fat is then removed with a small tube as part of a local anaesthetic procedure that can take as little as an hour.
“Because this type of surgery removes fat but leaves your other tissues intact, your skin retracts smoothly and evenly after the procedure, and pain and bruising typically associated with fat removal is minimised,” says Dr. Veil.
Recovery time is quick, too: days, rather than the weeks sometimes required following a traditional liposuction procedure.
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)
Especially popular with guys in middle age, blepharoplasty is an operation to get rid of droopy eyelids or any ‘excess ocular luggage’ you might be carrying.
Few things age a man quite like eye bags. “They make you look tired too,” says Harte. “In fact, people often comment [with regard to their own appearance] that they look tired, when in fact it’s the excess skin and obvious fat pads that make them tired-looking,” she says.
Small incisions are made in the natural folds of the eyelids to remove excess skin and fatty tissue that cause hooded eyes or eye bags. The procedure can also be used to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet.
It takes around one to three hours, costs upwards of £3,000, and you’ll need around a week’s recovery time.
Otoplasty (Ear Pinning)
With one in twenty Brits convinced their ears stick out too much, ear correction, or otoplasty, has become one of the most popular procedures with men. A relatively simple operation, it involves a re-sculpting of the cartilage at the back of the ear to reposition the ear or bring it a little closer to the head.
Some people simply aren’t happy with the shape of their ears, while others may have suffered an injury that cosmetically affected the appearance of their ears.
An incision is made at the back of the ear – in a fold that makes any scar difficult to see – to expose the cartilage. The cartilage is then reshaped or partially removed, allowing the ear to adopt a more ‘regular’ position.
The procedure takes around one to two hours, is usually performed under a local anaesthetic and costs £3,000+. Results are usually good but cartilage can change over time, affecting the results.
The biggest downside it that you’ll have to wear a head bandage for around a week afterwards, so you might want to consider taking advantage of some of that annual leave.
Any cosmetic procedure – from the smallest tweak to the most invasive procedure – involves risk. If you’re thinking about having cosmetic surgery, do your research first and, if possible, consult a surgeon on the basis of a recommendation.
“Asking about revision rates (the cost of tweaks potentially needed after the op if you’re not happy with the results) and the amount of experience a surgeon has had doing a specific procedure is particularly important,” says Harte. “It’s also worth ensuring they are consultant level and work, or have worked, in the NHS at that level.”
Finally, beware overseas bargain procedures. Enquiries about hair transplants to overseas clinics in countries like India and Turkey were up 169 per cent last year and while it can be economical, it’s vital you research the clinic thoroughly and think about how you’d organise aftercare while abroad if needed. To find a surgeon in the UK, see the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons website at baaps.org.uk.
Have you had cosmetic surgery to improve your appearance, and would you recommend it? Or do the risks outweigh the rewards for you?
Comment below to let us know.