Despite the obvious growth in male cosmetic patient market, could it be possible that we’ve only scratched the surface? Not only does one plastic surgeon believe so, but he thinks this is an area ready to explode. The question is, are you poised to keep up in your practice?
Aesthetic practices intent on capturing the lucrative male patient market need to be aware that men are not as tolerant to downtime as women, according to Michael Burgdorf, M.D., M.P.H., founder and president of Music City Plastic Surgery in Nashville, Tenn.
“In other words, you do not lead with a facelift,” says Dr. Burgdorf. “You have to start out slow with guys.”
Dr. Burgdorf tells Cosmetic Surgery Times that clinicians also need to ensure that most of their male clients do not feel their walking into an exclusively feminine domain when they walk into the office. “Perhaps you want to display pictures of more rugged guys as opposed to more flowery images for women,” he says.
Related: Surgical nuances of the male patient
Dr. Burgdorf also observes that men are more direct than women when asking questions. “They want to know number 1: What is the procedure?; Number 2: What is the downtime?; and Number 3: What is the cost?” he says. “These guys are coming in and are ready to make a decision.”
Since opening his practice in 2012, Dr. Burgdorf’s male patient cosmetic revenues have climbed from 2% to 15%, in part due to the nationwide surge in breast reduction surgery, which has increased by roughly 35% from 2000 to 2015.
“In 2015, 40% of all breast reductions were in men,” Dr. Burgdorf notes.
“Thanks to the media, the procedure is not as stigmatized for males as it used to be.”
NEXT: Male Patient Targets
Male Patient Targets
It’s great that media is helping to usher in the male cosmetic patient, but there’s also some work to do from inside the practice in terms of what type of men you want to target.
“The stereotype is metrosexual men or homosexuals — only guys that openly desire to take care of their looks or their appearance,” Dr. Burgdorf says. “In reality, though, that is not true at all.”
Other populations, like ex-athletes and current businessmen, also want to appear healthy, according to Dr. Burgdorf. “However, they want to appear as though they do not take time to make effort, when in fact they do,” he says.
At Music City Plastic Surgery, Dr. Burgdorf targets ex-athletes, including NFL players that have issues with gynecomastia and have stopped working out to their previous levels. “They now have extra fatty tissue that has redeveloped or reappeared,” Dr. Burgdorf explains.
The male model and the corporate executive, on the other hand, are typically interested in facial rejuvenation, either nonsurgical fillers and toxins, or facelifts and other surgical means such as blepharoplasty.
The male model tends to range in age from the early 20s to the late 40s, whereas corporate executives are mostly mid-40s through 70 who want to remain competitive in the business world. “These are experienced veterans who do not want to be passed over for promotion because they do not appear to have the energy and virility like their younger counterparts may. We are seeing a big uptick in these clients,” Dr. Burgdorf says.
Second-time dads or divorcees that hope to get back in the dating game can also be worthwhile targets. “Divorcees may now consider their appearance much more than they did when they were married,” Dr. Burgdorf says. And for remarried men, “maybe they have a younger wife and do not want to look conspicuously older than the rest in a crowd of younger people.”
Facial rejuvenation is popular with the remarried and divorced men. Additionally, the submental fat dissolver Kybella (deoxycholic acid) “…has been huge for us across the board,” Dr. Burgdorf says. “Guys with a thick, heavy turkey neck get dragged in by their wives or girlfriends.” In fact, Kybella, he says, could become their gateway drug for plastic surgery.
Similarly, the uptick in younger men entering the military has resulted in demand for gauged earlobe reconstruction to repair piercing holes.
“I believe the male patient is an untapped market,” Dr. Burgdorf says. “I think this is an area that is going to explode. We have just scratched the surface in the last year or two.”