Male Breast Reduction Operations Sag in UK, Statistics Show

Jan 29, 2013 7:00am

In Britain, breast reductions for men are out and fat injections for women are in.

Last year, 20 percent fewer British men than the year before sought surgery to treat gynecomastia, better known as “moobs” or enlarged male breasts, according to just-released data from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

And for the first time ever, British women had more fat injected into them than they had removed. Demand for fat injection procedures that plump up the face and smooth out lumpy thighs and flat bums rose 13 percent, while former best sellers like liposuction and tummy tucks fell by more than 10 percent.

Face lifts, brow lifts and other anti-aging touch-ups for the face were up by double digits. Eye lid surgery as well as face and neck-lift operations both soared in popularity for both sexes in 2012.

Of the more than 43,000 Brits who went under the knife for some cosmetic renovation, 90 percent were women.

Meanwhile in America, the ratio of men to women having cosmetic surgery is virtually the same as in the UK. Like the British, Americans have shown growing fondness for anti-aging fat injections as well. Americans still love liposuction and tummy tucks, but the big rise was in chin lifts — “mentoplasty” to pick up and reshape the chin rose by 71 percent in 2011, according to American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

One thing remained the same on both sides of the pond: The most common cosmetic procedure by far was breast augmentation. In the U.K., nearly 10,000 women opted for breast enlargement last year. In the U.S., more than 300,000 women surgically enhanced their breasts in 2011, the last time American statistics were released.

Cosmetic surgery in both countries remained big business despite a sagging economy. Americans had nearly 14 million cosmetic procedures last year, to the tune of $10.1 billion. In Britain, the number of cosmetic procedures performed rose by a little over 5 percent.

Dr. Malcolm Roth, past president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said he thought the down economy might actually be helping the plastic surgery business despite the hefty price tag attached to many of the procedures.

“In the past, people were reluctant to take time off from work to recover from a cosmetic procedure for fear they might be seen as dispensable,” he said. “But as time marches on and as more people are out of work, we’re seeing the pent-up demand from those who’ve decided it’s time to move forward and take care of themselves.”

Roth also speculated that the first wave of people who have been staving off the signs of aging with Botox and fillers are starting to find these minimally invasive procedures are no longer doing the trick.

“You can only camouflage the effects of aging for so long before surgery becomes the next option,” he said.

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