By the Numbers
Top 5 cosmetic surgeries for men in 2014 and their average cost:
* Liposuction: 40,466 ($3,099)
* Nose surgery: 32,641 ($4,757)
* Eyelid surgery: 27, 765 ($2,981)
* Male breast reduction: 24,234 ($3,422)
* Facelift: 15,019 ($7,022)
Top 5 nonsurgical procedures in 2014:
* Botox injections: 413,363 ($324)
* Hyaluronic acid injections: 135,669 ($592)
* Hair removal: 106,606 ($311)
* Photo rejuvenation (Intense Pulsed Light): 51,650 ($360)
* Microdermabrasion: 44,816 ($127)
Source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Rob Praino visits the fountain of youth about every six months.
The 36-year-old local advertising salesman and interior designer says he's going to keep his youthful appearance as long as he can, thanks to simple cosmetic procedures like Botox injections and microneedling that he undergoes twice a year.
"I didn't like my crow's feet," says Praino.
He chose Botox treatments and microneedling, a procedure that stimulates collagen in the face and improves the appearance of wrinkles and reduces acne scars, because they're noninvasive -- or at least as noninvasive as having tiny needles prick the skin can be.
"It's painless, and I like the results," he says.
He's not alone. Praino is part of the growing trend of men in America seeking noninvasive or surgical cosmetic procedures to maintain or get back a youthful appearance.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, liposuction was the top surgical procedure performed on men nationally in 2014, followed by surgery on the nose or eyelids, breast reduction and facelifts.
When it comes to nonsurgical procedures, men most often chose injections of Botox, followed by injections of hyaluronic acid, which reduces wrinkles and helps skin look younger.
"Male plastic surgery rates have significantly increased since 2000, and the notion that cosmetic procedures are just for women no longer exists," says Dr. Scot Glasberg, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "Men are seeking to regain a more youthful look, improve their self-image and feel better about their appearance. It is great that plastic surgeons have procedures to meet and often exceed their expectations."
And the trend has reached Chattanooga.
Cosmetic surgeons Carey Nease and Chad Deal, owners of Southern Surgical Arts in downtown Chattanooga, say they're seeing more male patients every year.
"Ten percent of our patients are men," says Deal. "We know from our everyday practice we're seeing more and more men, but when we looked back in our records, we were surprised to see that in 2012-2013, our men patients were up 12 percent, and in 2013-14, it was up 26 percent."
While many women have been comfortable with the idea -- and reality -- of plastic surgery for years, men are just coming around to it, Deal says.
But not every man is at ease with acknowledging that he took the plastic-surgery plunge. Of the men interviewed for this story, only Praino was willing to give his full name. Another man wanted only his first name used and a third didn't want his real name used at all, then decided he didn't want to be interviewed, period.
Reasons for men getting surgery vary, Deal and Nease say.
"In the last decade, the male fashion market has exploded," Deal says. "We started then seeing men caring more about their appearance. Also, we've become healthier than generations before us. We're concerned about our general well-being, and with all the anti-aging products and hormones, people of all ages are feeling terrific."
But for some men, there's a practical side to the surgery -- boosting their careers.
"The appearance of youth gives an appearance of energy," Deal says. "An employer wants someone who is energetic and can get the job done."
"Some of the older guys in their 50s and 60s want a more youthful look because they're competing in the job market with 30- and 40-year-olds," Nease says. "They need to be competitive."
Even though Southern Surgical Arts have some male patients in their late 20s and 30s, most are 40 and up; in comparison, women as young as 18 now seek cosmetic procedures, the doctors say. While many men want face-rejuvenation procedures including Botox injections and neck and eyelifts, others go the full surgical route, getting six-pack abs and more.
Nationwide, average cost for these procedures range from about $127 for a microdermabrasion treatment and $324 for a Botox injection, both of which are nonsurgical, to about $7,000 for a facelift or a lower body lift, surgery that sculpts the abdomen, buttocks and thighs, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Using just his first name, 44-year-old Clay says he's had liposuction surgeries to reduce the size of his love handles (known as "flanks" in surgery circles) and his double chin. Clay, who's in the health care profession, says he had the surgeries in 2011.
"I had just turned 40 and I was working out five days a week and still couldn't lose the chin or the flanks, so I decided, after several discussions with Dr. Deal and Dr. Nease, that I would move ahead with the procedure," he says.
Four years later he has no regrets.
"It made me look younger and gave me additional self-confidence," he says. And he's considering additional cosmetic surgery.
"I'm actually discussing with Dr. Deal a procedure called high-definition liposuction. This procedure actually creates a six-pack ab," Clay says. "I have a good body for my age, but I've always worked towards having a cut abdominal area. Even with a strict diet and exercise, I still haven't achieved this for myself."
And he routinely gets Botox injections in his forehead and around his eyes.
"This is an ounce of prevention as I age," he says. "It always amazes me when I get comments on how young I look. Some men who are in their 30s actually look older than I do and seem to be jealous.
"When asked my age, I proudly say 44. Most people guess 38 to 40. I say it must be good genes and then laugh and say it's Botox. People are always surprised."
Today's male client walks into their office with little trepidation, Deal says.
"They've researched what they want done and come in with a lot of confidence," he says. "Men are very direct. They just want to fix things and not mess around. He's likely to say, 'Let's do this.' I find there's not a middle ground."
There is good information on the Web about cosmetic procedures, Deal says.
"People can get reasonably good information on the Internet if they go to reputable websites. There are, though, fantastic stories that scare people away," he says.
Clay offers advice to men considering cosmetic surgery.
"Whether married, divorced or single, we're all living longer and age takes its toll," he says. "We are all working longer hours to achieve our goals in life but, as men, we seem to think that our looks will always be there, until that day hits when you don't feel confident about your looks.
"If you lose confidence in your looks, your self-esteem goes with it, and that could affect your bottom line. No matter what your profession, looking good is an asset; protect and preserve that asset for as long as you can."
Contact Karen Nazor Hill at email@example.com or 423-757-6396.