Gay men keep plastic surgeons in business despite recession
Published Thursday, 21-Jan-2010 in issue 1152
Something changed in the first decade of the new millennium. In the late 20th century, men undergoing reconstructive surgery was only acceptable when it came to nose reconstruction after a sports injury. But today, men – especially gay men – are the largest growing segment of patients signing up for elective reconstructive surgery.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a growing percentage of gay men have had some type of surgical procedure performed on their body or face. An even larger percentage of men said that they would like to have some work done.
“I’ve thought about it, especially lipo[suction],” says Lance, a local resident who didn’t want to give his last name. “I’m always working out and I watch what I eat, but it’s almost impossible to get a six pack. It would be so much easier to just get it sucked out.”
Nearly 250,000 Americans underwent some sort of liposuction last year, skyrocketing the surgery as one of the top-five cosmetic procedures of 2009.
“In the last 15 years, the proportion of men pursuing liposuction surgery has jumped from 10 percent to 15 percent,” says Dakota Calloway, a spokeswoman with the ASPS. “Last January, male patients started outnumbering women in the practice.”
Calloway says that sexual orientation isn’t a typical question on a patient questionnaire, so specific numbers relating to gay men undergoing elective cosmetic surgery aren’t available. However, it seems that men with no children and disposable incomes are typical patients.
“We have to go based on what we observe,” says Calloway. “We don’t ask if someone is gay or straight, but we’re an open-minded profession, so patients usually don’t hesitate to share their personal stories with us.”
Many gay men find a surgeon they like and keep coming back for more.
Men – gay men in particular – have become a friend of his practice, according to Dr. Paul Chasen of La Jollla, who says he gets a lot of support from his San Diego based gay clientele.
“If I can take populations of people, they’re one of the best populations of people to operate on,” Chasen says.
“For men, they’re much more knowledgeable about plastic surgery. They’re into aesthetics, they want to look good,” he explains, noting gay men are not afraid to tell their friends about their surgery and help spread the word.
“Plastic surgery is not as stigmatized as it once was, especially in the gay community. Many clients come in on referral from friends. Some want more or less work done than others, and that is OK.”
Botox injections are still the number one non-invasive procedure performed on men and women, according to the ASPS. Nearly 5 million women underwent the procedure last year compared to 314,000 men. The number of men who elect for the procedure is growing more rapidly than in women, Calloway says.
“Often, a man is judged by his outward appearance – just as much, if not more than a woman,” Calloway says. “If he is obese, he may be perceived as lazy or incompetent at his job, because he is unable to take care of himself properly. An overly aged man may not seem appropriate for some jobs and he may have difficulty meeting single people. The point is that men seek plastic surgery for the same reasons that women do – to boost their self-esteem and allow them to appear on the outside as whom they are on the inside.”
Over time, the age of desirability for gay men seems to get younger and younger. The age discrimination and lack of attention older or mature gay men receive is synonymous to the pressure some women feel to get married or have children by a certain age.
Today, gay men are coming out at younger ages. It’s no longer a shock to hear of an openly gay 14-year-old or a 16-year-old in a gay relationship. Even gay bars see floods of 18-21 year old gay boys seeking love and sex from their peers, leaving older gay men on the side lines. The recent attention and broader acceptance of gay marriage has also contributed to increased pressure for gay men to find love “before it’s too late” or “while they are still desirable.”
Of course, this doesn’t make mature gay men charity cases, it only increases the pressure as aging gay men begin to think about their futures. Some gay men also argue that other gays continue to search for the “fountain of youth” with plastic surgery, eating disorders, excessive gym hours and am obsession with body image.
Calloway adds that those who do undergo a procedure like liposuction should expect to change their lifestyle if he or she wants to maintain the trimmer waist line.
“The bottom line is,” she says, “if you get lipo and you still lie around the house and eat bad foods, your weight will come back. We encourage patients to become active before and after a procedure so they can maintain the new figure.”
Plastic surgeons agree that the practice is no fountain of youth.
“The modern day fountain of youth is diet and exercise, but I can certainly make people look good on the outside,” Chasen says, noting there’s a simple reason for that. “When you exercise, you have a peripheral dilation of your skin which is your largest organ dilates, gets blood supply, oxygen, and nutrition. If you regularly exercise, most people‘s skin looks better.”
Having ones body, nipped, tucked or sucked is not the only way gay men are taking advantage of the growing industry and drive to look and feel younger.
Many men who want to be free of having to wear glasses and see perfectly for distance take advantage of the work and procedures by San Diego ophthalmologist Dr. Forrest Murphy of Murphy Eye Center.
“I think for the most part, we’re not a generation that likes glasses,” says Murphy, who specializes in Lasik and Conductive Keratoplasty (CK). “My patients are more natural in their eating habits and how they approach life and just want to see perfectly and without any effort,” he explains, noting procedures, such as the ones he performs are becoming more affordable. “With the dip in the economy, I’ve made custom Lasik the most affordable it has ever been.”
Lens removal has also become popular. Such procedures literally take the glasses and place them permanently in the eye.
“It is the same as cataract surgery, except there isn’t a cataract. Instead I remove the lens and put in multifocal lens implants for middle aged guys and gals who don’t want to wear any glasses at all,” he explains.
Doctors and patients alike agree that another reason why cosmetic surgery and other related procedures are so popular among gay men is simple: higher disposable income.
“The [GLBT community] doesn’t have a lot of extra expenses to burden them like children, and college tuition,” Murphy explains. “The community has a little more expendable income in order to spend it on more extravagances.”
Chasen agrees also noting that he sees many more clients with Type A personalities. “They’re probably Type A in business so that makes them successful, they’re also Type A in the way they look so they care about their appearance,” Chasen explains, noting he feels that is a trait seen in many gay men.
For those not exactly ready to go under the knife, skin procedures such as microderm abrasion and chemical peels are gaining popularity at local salons.
Aestheticians, such as those at About Face in Hillcrest, go the extra mile with their services. “All facials include a complete skin analysis, customized masque and a face, neck, and shoulder massage,” accord to the salon’s Web site. These professionals also offer “non-surgical” face lift facials. This luxurious facial experience allows clients to see “immediate results allowing one to age gracefully.”
And while the reason for gay men keep plastic surgeons in business despite recession might have some scratching their heads, one thing is for sure, they can scratch a full head of hair, as hair transplantations are also gaining momentum among men.
For Lance, who is 34 and has a full head of hair, a hair transplant isn’t even on his radar. But he says in the future, he wouldn’t be opposed to different procedures that could help him retain his youth.
“I know several men who have had face lifts or some other procedure, and they look great,” Lance says. “It’s something that generations before us didn’t have available, so why shouldn’t we take advantage of it?”
Portions of this article reprinted with permission by Watermark Online.
Meet Dr. Chasan
Dr. Paul E. Chasan is an accomplished San Diego plastic surgeon who has helped numerous patients enhance their youth, revitalize their beauty and rejuvenate their appearance. Dr. Chasan is committed to staying abreast of the latest plastic surgery technologies and techniques, incorporating advanced surgical approaches and state-of-the-art technologies into his practice to offer patients safe, unsurpassed care. An innovator in the field of plastic surgery, Dr. Chasan has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals regarding his surgical advancements.
Dr. Chasan applies his extensive training, advanced surgical skills and compassionate care to every procedure – an approach that allows him to consistently deliver remarkable aesthetic results. Because of his outstanding surgical record, Dr. Chasan has performed surgery on several other plastic surgeons, and is the one plastic surgeons trust with their aesthetic makeovers.
Located in La Jolla, California, Dr. Chasan’s offices feature many amenities that promote a sense of ease and well-being. He begins all treatments with a one-on-one consultation to evaluate the patient’s medical background and create a customized treatment plan. His treatment philosophy combines personal attention with state-of-the-art procedures in order to create remarkable yet natural-looking aesthetic changes.
Paul Chasan, MD, FACS
9850 Genesee Ave., Ste. 880
La Jolla, CA 92037
Meet Dr. Murphy
At the heart of the Murphy Eye Center is Dr. Forrest P. Murphy. A distinguished and qualified surgeon, Dr. Murphy is a warm, caring physician with over 20 years in practice. His many credentials include:
Former Chief of Ophthalmology at Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla
Fellow of the Opthalmology Division for the International College of Surgeons
A Diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners
Board Certification by the American Board of Ophthalmology
Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
Dr. Murphy is held in the highest regard within his field, both nationally and internationally. He is a clinical instructor with UCSD Medical Centers and is on staff at Scripps and Sharp Hospitals. Traveling world-wide as a speaker, Dr. Murphy teaches LASIK Vision Correction, the NearVision CK Procedure, Topical Cataract Surgery, and Small Incision Eye Surgery to other physicians. Dr. Murphy has extensive experience and a track record of thousands of safe, effective surgical procedures.
Dr. Murphy and his staff are committed to providing you with the best vision and finest medical care possible.
Murphy Eye Center - Forrest Murphy, MD, FACS, FICS
9834 Genesse Avenue, Ste. 209
La Jolla, CA 92037
Recommended Local San Diego Specialists
Murphy Eye Center
Forrest Murphy, MD, FACS, FICS
9834 Genesse Avenue, Ste. 209
La Jolla, CA 92037
San Diego Eye Institute “CHOICES”
Dr. Robert M. Thomas Jr., M.D.
3900 Fifth Ave., Ste. 270
San Diego, CA 92103
Cosmetic dentistry:
Sunshine Dentistry
Dr. Kambiz Ardjman DDS
4230 30th Street,
San Diego, CA 92104
Mark. B. Griffiths DDS
3565 Fourth Ave.,
San Diego, CA 92103
Oasis Dentistry
Christopher Rhoades, DDS
2020 Camino del Rio North, Ste. 108
San Diego, CA 92108
Strober Dental
Rod Strober DDS
3330 Third Ave., Ste. 302
San Diego, CA 92103
Hillcrest Dental Centre
Timothy Rorman, DMD and
Carlo Moreno, DMD
1060 University Ave., Ste. A201
San Diego, CA 92103
Minimally invasive plastic surgery:
Dr. Parvin Mani M.D.
5555 Resevoir Dr., Ste. 208
San Diego, CA 92120
Ageless & Beautiful
Dr. Daneshmand MD
1080 University Ave., Ste. H201
San Diego, CA 92103
Ulan Med Spa
7510 Hazard Center Dr., Ste. 607
San Diego, CA 92108
Plastic surgery:
Wilshire Aesthetics
Dr. Campbell
1855 First Ave., Ste. 200
San Diego, CA 92101
SK Sanctuary
6919 La Jolla Boulevard,
La Jolla, CA 92037
New Image Cosmetic Surgery
Dr. Jeffery B. Schaffer, MD, FRSM
230 Prospect Place, Ste. 350
Coronado, CA 92118
Paul Chasan, MD, FACS
9850 Genesee Ave., Ste. 880
La Jolla, CA 92037
Kayou Clinic West
1951 4th Ave.,
San Diego, CA 92101
Kayou Clinic East
450 Fletcher Parkway,
El Cajon, CA 92020
Spa treatments:
About Face
Bill Winfree
514 A Pennsylvania Ave.,
San Diego, CA 92103
Palmer Skin
Salon 5th Avenue Hair & Spa
Carrie Reichert, LE
3076 5th Ave.,
San Diego, CA 92103
Body wraps:
Segue Body Wraps
10066 Pacific Heights Boulevard,
Ste. 114
San Diego, CA 92121
Genital augmentation:
Penile Cosmetic Surgery Center
Dr. Alexander A. Krakovsky MD,
7946 Ivanhoe Ave., Ste. 106
La Jolla, CA 92037
G – Spot Augmentation for Women
Dr Alexander A. Krakovsky MD,
7946 Ivanhoe Ave., Ste. 106
La Jolla, CA 92037

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