How Plastic Surgery And Aesthetics Fit Into The Male Landscape

Dr. Russell Babbitt is a Plastic Surgeon in private practice in Southeastern Massachusetts and is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. He offers the full scope of plastic surgery of the breast, body, and face, with a special interest in complex aesthetic breast surgery and revision aesthetic breast surgery. After receiving his Medical Degree from the University of Massachusetts in 2003, he continued at UMass Medical Center for internship and residency in General Surgery and completed his fellowship in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery there in 2010. In addition to his clinical experience, Dr. Babbitt has done research in the areas of microsurgery, human anatomy, limb reconstruction, complex models of wound healing, and abdominal wall reconstruction. He is currently an officer for the New England Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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When you think of plastic surgery, your mind instantly goes to breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, or mommy makeovers, when in reality, it's not just that. In fact, there is a menu of plastic surgeries that are designed just for men or are co-ed. Ask around, there is a high chance you'll find out your significant other or a friend of yours received an aesthetic treatment.

The concerns men face, in many ways, are similar to the concerns women have. Haute Beauty expert Dr. Babbitt notes how the mentality that plastic surgery and aesthetics are just for women has changed dramatically in the past several years. Men want to look better, more refreshed, and more comfortable.

What are the most popular procedures and treatments that men are doing these days?

Within Dr. Babbitt's practice, the most common procedures and treatments for men include liposuction/body contouring, correction of excess breast tissue, and facial rejuvenation like face and neck lifts. Injectables and non-invasive treatments are not as popular, with the exception of Botox. Many patients start out as significant others of female patients. It almost presents a component of "If they can do it, why can't we?"

Procedures for men are more accepted these days. There is a lot of talk in the media, mostly about how bodies are portrayed for both men and women. It's commonly talked about in terms of creating unnatural body image ideals for women and girls but I think it's in many ways just as bad for men and boys but it doesn't get discussed. There are plenty of examples of bigger muscles, broad shoulders, chiseled abs, and great jawlines out there.

How can men retain their natural look and not look 'done' if they opt for cosmetic procedures?

Subtleness is key in male plastic surgery. Looking to “worked on” shows up much more in men. Hiding incisions, minimizing deformities, and erring on the side of under-correction (which you can make better) rather than overcorrection in irreversible ways are key components to natural results. Etching superhero six packs into someone’s abdominal fat might look good on the operating table, but if you gain weight, there’s a good chance you’ll look like a lactating Rottweiler.

You need to know what you want to accomplish, have realistic expectations, and find a board-certified plastic surgeon with a solid track record of good results. If they can’t show you good, properly photographed, long-term outcomes, it probably means they don’t have any. Photos of patients on the table immediately after surgery DO NOT COUNT! It’s misleading. If that’s the vast majority of what you see on a surgeon’s social media or website, then you need to wonder why.

What percentage of patients are men versus women?

Dr. Babbitt's aesthetic practice is about 90 percent women, but 10 years ago, that was probably closer to 99 percent. The men come from all age groups, including young men who need to have gynecomastia corrected, middle-aged men for body contouring, and older gentlemen looking for facial rejuvenation. Of course, those procedures aren’t confined to those age groups.

Why is high-definition liposculpting popular with men?

Liposculpting to enhance the appearance of muscles or to “sculpt” muscles is popular with men because appearing more muscular and defined is more of the aesthetic ideal for men. When done properly, it can be an excellent way to enhance existing anatomy and bring out the underlying definition, but there are not many surgeons who do it well. More commonly, Dr. Babbit is correcting bad results where a surgeon without a good command of technique and poor artistic sense has tried to create the look by overdoing some areas and leaving too much in others. It looks great on the operating table when the patient is all greased up, but there’s a reason why it is so hard to find examples of good long-term results. Furthermore, even when it might look good in static photos, it doesn’t move like real muscles and often jiggles like fat instead. Liposuction or liposculpture in men and women, when done well, is technically similar. What varies is how the surgeon plans and performs the procedure to enhance the male and female anatomy in a natural appearing way.

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What are the most popular facial procedures amongst men?

In Dr. Babbitt's practice, the most common male facial procedures are eyelid rejuvenation (blepharoplasty) and neck lifts. Both of these procedures, when done well, can make a man look younger and healthier without looking like too much was done or overly feminizing the face.

Where do fillers and injectables fit into the male landscape of rejuvenating procedures?

There’s an obvious role for injectables and fillers for men—and this is a recurring theme—but it needs to be applied in a way that doesn’t look overdone (this applies to women too). High cheekbones and a puffy appearance are not a good look, but creating a more masculine and angular jawline can do wonders. Botulinum toxin is good for everyone and can help men have a more relaxed appearance and diminish certain expressions that might convey negativity or anger.

When it comes to facial procedures, why are men super concerned about retaining a natural look?

We don’t have to look hard to find negative examples of overdone facial procedures in the celebrity world, which stands out much more in men. Every man who considers getting something done has those bad results in mind and doesn’t want to look like that. There are clearly double standards, but men usually don’t want to look drastically younger or tight. Certain signs of aging make a man look “distinguished,” as they say, while a loose saggy neck or jowls or droopy eyelids convey a less healthy or haggard appearance.