Under the Knife
words by Christopher Metler
In today’s big-money, cutting-edge realm of Nip/Tuck-style plastic surgery, there’s a new bracket of clientele who want to look good, feel good and succeed in every facet of life: men! And not only are men engaging in cosmetic procedures at every level—both non-surgical and surgical—but with much more frequency.
Once upon a time, the male gender typically made up about 15-20% of a cosmetic surgeon’s practice. These days, prominent cosmetic surgeons like Toronto’s Dr. Cory Torgerson see approximately 45-50% of their practice consisting of men. The increase has been vast and it points to an evolution.
In the past, men traditionally preferred to pursue surgical fixes like hair transplants or rhinoplasty. But today, they are rapidly engaging in the full spectrum of non-surgical cosmetic procedures that aim to conceal aesthetic flaws and soften premature signs of aging. “Botox, fillers, lasers, and skin care… the shift is reflective of the society and advances in male style and grooming,” Dr. Torgerson believes. “This is now seen as an extension of personal grooming and maintenance rather than a reactionary step.”
A new trend making significant waves in the effort to augment masculine features has been that of artificial beard stubble. As one of Canada’s most talented and prominent facial plastic surgeons, Dr. Torgerson enthuses that, “the trend of beard enhancement is real! We are seeing it in among younger men primarily and it is largely driven by two factors.”
“First off, if you can't grow one naturally, why not explore your options? Second, Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplantation (NeoGraft) has been a game changer. It allows men to achieve natural results with no scarring and minimal downtime.”
The rationale for treatments like beard enhancement and the like varies. Beyond legitimate health reasons (often seen with male breast reduction), the demand for male cosmetic surgery was formerly a reactive one: to get a job in a competitive trade or to boost prospects in new relationships. Although this component still drives the industry today, Dr. Torgerson is quick to clarify that the field is now being overcome by, “men who want to maintain their appearance in a natural and sustainable way.”
Cosmetic surgery has of course long been a very lucrative market in Canada, the States, across Europe and beyond. In fact, the increased demand for cosmetic procedures over the years has turned it into a multi-billion dollar industry. Men have become a big part of that growth. And to further encourage it, there are now many effective entry points where men can engage which are more budget friendly than ever before. Because of this, Dr. Torgerson predicts that non-surgical, regular maintenance will continue to become conventional practice. “It’s much less expensive than cosmetic procedures, and, when started early enough, can give similar effects.”
While gaining more and more traction as an accepted option, there is no doubt still a greater stigma for men with regard to cosmetic procedures. While maybe considered commonplace for women—who, as Dr. Torgerson so succinctly puts, “can certainly get away with overdone lips more than men do”—men are expected to stay ‘natural’. For that reason, he maintains that men are certainly more conservative in their selection of what cosmetic procedures they want and how much they will have done. “Less is more for men, however I’m finding that they come in way more regularly to maintain their appearance.” In other words, perhaps the stigma is slowly fading away.
After all, beyond the obvious physical benefits for men in going under the knife, there are untold emotional and intellectual rewards that come hand-in-hand with it. “Better self esteem, more confidence, and a stronger sense of legitimacy,” Dr. Torgerson contends. And who could argue the advantages in that?