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Best face forward
Advanced technology has produced such good results in cosmetic procedures that even men are getting it, not just women.
"Men are now more open to looking good and being fashionable because they're better travelled and they are also influenced by social media," observes Dr Samuel Ho, consultant plastic surgeon and medical director of Allure Plastic Surgery. "Plus it's so accessible these days."
The demographic most open to having work done would be working men aged 30 to 50 years. Personal vanity is one reason, but the stronger pull is career pressure. "Many of us are also judged at work by our physical appearance in addition to our actual work performance," says Dr Ho, citing an American study which showed that good-looking men were 15 per cent more likely to be in higher positions or paid more than their less good-looking peers.
Dr Ho has designed a signature treatment he calls the "Daddy Makeover", targeted at middle-aged men who need an "overhaul" but don't have the time for weekly treatments. The "Dad bod" is usually described as "softly round" - for men who are married with children and haven't had time to maintain a sculpted physique. Juggling work and family takes a huge chunk of time. On top of that, there are slower metabolic rates and hormonal changes for middle-aged men to deal with.
Patients who go to him tend to have similar concerns: fat around the abdomen, male boobs, thinning hair and weak chins.
So what are some of the most commonly recommended treatments? Dr Ho says liposuction is an ideal one-time treatment for men, offering definitive, obvious results. "Fat-freezing, laser lipolysis and other non-invasive techniques require multiple sessions and have limited results on larger fat deposits as they are more ideal for skin tightening and resolving smaller fat deposits. Men often do not have the time or patience for multiple visits. They also have larger fat deposits than women."
Hair loss in males has a number of causes, the most common being genetic male pattern baldness. The treatment requires multiple steps, starting with nutrition and haircare and ending with hair transplantation.
"I do Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) to harvest the grafts from the back of the scalp and transplant them to the front and crown. This is a permanent treatment for balding as the transplanted hair follicles are "resistant" to the 5HT testosterone hormone responsible for male pattern hair loss." He adds: "Hair transplantation is not just for balding; this can also be done for men looking to have thicker, more masculine eyebrows or a fuller beard or goatee."
Blepharoptosis, or droopy eyelids, is a condition that occurs with age. This is due to skin laxity of the upper eyelid and weakening of the upper eyelid muscles. Dr Ho explains: "Sometimes, the brows are also droopy due to weakening of the forehead muscles, exacerbating the problem. This may simply result in a tired look, the feeling of "heaviness" in the upper eyelid, or even obstruction of vision. This physical problem is quite easily corrected through a combination of excess skin removal and tightening of the upper eyelid muscles without any obvious scars."
Cosmetic procedures aside, there is still no substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise. Plastic surgery is not about turning ageing men into someone they are not, but to give them an added boost, says Dr Ho. "So that they have further impetus to maintain a healthy diet, work out regularly, as well as give them the added confidence at work."
Dr Samuel Ho is a certified plastic surgeon at Allure Plastic Surgery in Singapore.