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Knowing what male patients expect is key to successful surgical outcomes

Article-Knowing what male patients expect is key to successful surgical outcomes

Key iconKey Points

  • Men tend to prefer single treatments and treatments that last longer
  • Don't push male patients into undergoing 'add-on' procedures
  • Let the patient drive the consultation

Dr. Clevens
Ross A. Clevens, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Melbourne, Fla., talks of a great industry paradox: "For the most part, we're all men — but for the most part, almost all of our patients are women."

Dr. Nayak
Despite being a man, Dr. Clevens says that knowing how to make his male patients happy has been a learning process. "As surgeons we tend to focus on the technical aspects of our procedures, rather than reflect upon the patient experience and the motivation and apprehension that drive our patients," he says.

Part of that focus, he explains, may stem from the fact that surgeons are fundamentally technicians. It may also be because many surgeons don't perform a lot of procedures on men, making the technical components a primary concern, he adds.

And given that men comprise 49 percent of the population and only 9 percent of cosmetic surgery patients, how should cosmetic and plastic surgeons adapt their management style to meet the needs of the male patient?

Dr. Clevens says he has doubled his male patient population over the past decade. As such, "I'm very comfortable with the technical aspect of performing facial surgery on men, so I've been able to be more reflective on the art of surgery and how to handle the male patient," he says. Now, he says, "I think in terms of how to deal with the patient, and this is more a sociological question than a medical question."

Mike Nayak, M.D., St. Louis, agrees. "As a cosmetic surgeon specializing in facial surgery, I have a practice that tends to have more male patients than a more broadly based cosmetic surgery practice that also offers breast and body surgery. In my experience, male cosmetic surgery patients approach facial cosmetic surgery differently than women."

HOW THEY TICK It all begins with how men make the decision to undergo a cosmetic procedure in the first place, Dr. Nayak says.

"While women tend to gather information, seeking input from their friends, the Internet and multiple surgeons' opinions, men tend to be more action-oriented," he says. "As a general rule, once their specific questions have been answered, men make their decision to proceed with surgery immediately."

Adds Dr. Clevens, "They (men) tend to have very focused concerns. They usually know what it is they want to have done and how much downtime they're willing to tolerate." (According to Dr. Clevens, that downtime is typically about one week.)

Men tend to prefer single treatments, Dr. Clevens says. "If you do a facelift on a woman, you do the whole nine yards. If you leave a whole bunch of lines and wrinkles, she's not going to be happy at the end of the process. (With) a lot of guys, you fix the turkey neck and they're happy," he says.

Men also prefer treatments that last longer. "Permanent results seem to be more important to men than to women," Dr. Nayak says. "In many cases, there can be more than one solution to the aesthetic problem, and men tend to gravitate toward the most permanent option."

As an example, he says, men are more likely than women to opt for cheek implants to revolumize the midface, despite results that can be achieved with soft-tissue fillers.

"Women seem to have fewer reservations about an annual 'top-off' filler visit to achieve and maintain a higher standard of result," he says.

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