Cosmetic Surgery on the Rise in Men

Bill Hendrick

March 25, 2011

March 21, 2011 — Growing numbers of male baby boomers are fighting harder than ever against the effects of aging by enthusiastically embracing facelifts, liposuction, and other cosmetic surgical procedures aimed at making them look younger, new research suggests.

While overall cosmetic surgery procedures in men rose 2% in 2010 over the previous year, many types of operations, such as facelifts, increased dramatically, says a new report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The report says facelifts increased 14%, ear surgery (otoplasty) increased 11%, and soft tissue filler increased 10%.

All told, men underwent more than 1.1 million cosmetic procedures in 2010, some invasive requiring surgery and others being minimally invasive.

In 2010, the majority of the top fastest-growing cosmetic procedures for men were surgical. The new statistics reflect a change in a trend in which minimally invasive procedures were previously rising faster.

Cosmetic Surgery for Baby Boomers

“The growth in cosmetic surgical procedures for men may be a product of our aging baby boomers who are now ready to have plastic surgery,” Phillip Haeck, MD, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and a partner in Plastic Surgery Associates of Seattle, says in a news release. “Minimally-invasive procedures such as Botox and soft tissue fillers work to a point. However, as you age and gravity takes over, surgical procedures that lift the skin are necessary in order to show improvement.”

Stephen Baker, MD, a plastic surgeon in Washington, D.C., says people often think of celebrities when they hear about men going under the knife, but it’s also becoming more common among regular guys.

He says the typical patient he sees is “an average guy who wants to look as good as he feels.”

Baker, program director of the department of plastic surgery at Georgetown University Hospital, also says most of his patients “are ‘men’s men,’ the kind of guy you might not think would have plastic surgery.”

But with more and more baby boomers reaching retirement and increasingly showing signs of aging, many “want to look good,” and opt for plastic surgery when they feel they have the financial resources to do so.

Top Cosmetic Procedures for Men

Here are the top 10 fastest-growing male cosmetic procedures by percentage increase in 2010 over 2009:

  1. Facelift 14%

  2. Ear surgery (otoplasty) 11%

  3. Soft tissue fillers 10%

  4. Botulinum toxin type A 9%

  5. Liposuction 7%

  6. Breast reduction 6%

  7. Eyelid surgery 4%

  8. Dermabrasion 4%

  9. Laser hair removal 4%

  10. Laser treatment of leg veins 4%

Here are the 2010 top five most popular surgical procedures by number for men:

  1. Nose reshaping 64,000

  2. Eyelid surgery 31,000

  3. Liposuction 24,000

  4. Breast reduction 18,000

  5. Hair transplantation 13,000

Here are the top five most popular minimally invasive procedures by number for men:

  1. Botulinum toxin type A 337,000

  2. Laser hair removal 165,000

  3. Microdermabrasion 158,000

  4. Chemical peel 90,000

  5. Soft tissue fillers 78,000

According to the 2010 American Society of Plastic Surgeons report on cosmetic procedures in men and women, breast augmentation remains the top overall cosmetic surgical procedure, a position it has held since 2006.

Overall, breast augmentations rose 2% in 2010, but eyelid surgeries rose 3%. Liposuctions overall rose 2%, tummy tucks 1%, and nose reshapings (rhinoplasty) declined 1% in 2010.

Botox treatments rose 12%, laser hair removal 5%, and soft tissue filler procedures were up 3%.

Microdermabrasion procedures for men and women combined fell 9%, and there was no change in chemical peels.

Other key findings:

  • 48% of all cosmetic procedures are done on people between the ages of 40 and 54.

  • 91% of all cosmetic procedures are on women.

  • $10.1 billion was spent on cosmetic procedures in 2010, up 1.2% from the previous year.

  • The region with the most cosmetic procedures performed, 3.7 million, was the Mountain/Pacific region.


News release, American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons Report of the 2010 Plastic Surgery Statistics, March 21, 2011.