World renowned cosmetic surgeon Dr. Woffles Wu talks to Cynthia Hamasaki about the surging popularity of Cosmetic Surgery amongst men today.
In Dr. Woffles Wu’s posh, all white clinic in uptown Singapore, a revolution is taking place amongst his male clients. ”It’s remarkable really,” he remarked, “five years ago I was seeing perhaps one to two male patients out of ten. Suddenly I realise our clinic is seeing double that and on some days we actually see more men than women. It’s fantastic! Men have always wanted to look good but were afraid to come out in the open about having cosmetic surgery.”
Better information, better access and predictable, safe results are amongst the factors more men are undergoing the knife these days. “Looking good is not the prerogative of women alone. I think it is in our genes to want to look beautiful –it’s imprinted, part of survival. From time immemorial, we have admired both beautiful men and women. Look at the wondrous Greek sculptures of men with their perfect physiques and chiselled features.” Dr Wu says, “Good looking men make women swoon and other men jealous. The only difference until recent years was that women were more keen to surgically acquire beauty of the face (if they did not have it) whilst men concentrated mainly on improving their bodies shying away from the cosmetic surgeon.”
All that has changed now with men also wanting harmonious, balanced facial features to go with their sculpted bodies. According to Dr Wu, part of this revolution was sparked off by the growing Non Surgical Facial Rejuvenation philosophy of which Dr. Wu is one of the world’s pioneers and proponents. “Botox and the development of newer, safer synthetic fillers really sparked this trend off about 7-8 years ago. This allowed us to relax the muscles of the face that convey negative emotions and to restore volume to the facial hollows that inevitably develop with age and yet still be able to get back to work in the afternoon,” he said. “This was very appealing to men as they could now have something done without bruising or downtime and not lose time from work. Add to that the newer skin resurfacing techniques and the facial tightening and lifting techniques such as the Featherlift and the WOFFLES LIFT and we now have a comprehensive form of treating all aspects of male facial aging without surgery. These simple procedures helped to destigmatise cosmetic surgery for men.”
Dr Wu observes that men today are not as shy about admitting they have seen the cosmetic surgeon as they were a decade ago. They are no longer embarrassed sitting in the clinic nor having to justify why they want to look better. The age range has also widened to include teens who want double eyelids, rhinoplasties or chin augmentation to men in their thirties and forties who want their breasts reduced and to older gentlemen who just want to look younger and spruced up.
“The Non Surgical Facial Rejuvenation opened the door for men to come in to the cosmetic surgeons‘s clinic. It then made the surgical procedures more palatable. In fact this latter segment has grown as remarkably as the former since it is a natural progression to move on to surgery eventually.” says Dr Wu.
Dr Wu adds that with male cosmetic surgery, the key is to keep the results as natural as possible. There should be no exaggeration of features nor feminisation of the face which is the most common mistake of male aesthetic surgery. A sensitive cosmetic surgeon who understands the male face is utterly important. To achieve this Dr Wu modifies some of his existing techniques which he uses in the female face. “In the male face one has to be so careful. Our standard blepharoplasty and facelift techniques have a propensity to drag the eyes upwards making them more exotic and slanted. In a woman this is great but in a man this can be disastrous.”
Here is a summary of the most popular surgical procedures Dr Wu performs on his male patients:
Upper Blepharoplasty: As far as possible Dr Wu tries to avoid the standard, open blepharoplasty incision, opting for the closed, suture blepharoplasty technique he pioneered which leaves no scars, looks natural and more importantly heals quickly. Originally designed for younger men wanting double eyelids, Dr Wu has widened its scope to include older eyes where he reduces the excess skin by redraping it into the sulcus of the eye. He tries never to remove fat nor skin as this confers an artificial sunken appearance but will resort to this in selected cases.
Lower Blepharoplasty: The transconjunctival technique without skin excision is his preferred technique as it reduces risks of scleral show, rounding of the eye and a visible external scar which can sometimes look like a mascara line. Occasionally some patients may require a pinch of skin to be removed or may be candidates for fat redistribution which he will perform with a modified Hamra Technique. Over reduction of fat leads to hollowing of the eye maing it look sickly and devitalised.
Rhinoplasty: extremely popular amongst men who want a stronger look, more chiselled features. Dr Wu will use a variety of techniques that include silastic augmentation mixed with cartilage and soft tissue fascial grafts, tip refining and nostril narrowing. His favorite trick in older male patients is to insert a thin gortex or silastic veneer over the dorsum which youthens the nose an dhelps to take up sokme of the slack skin that accumulates between the eyes.
Chin and Cheek Augmentation: Possibly the most powerful procedures for the male face, these are Dr Wu’s favorites. “I feel the chin augmentation is the single most powerful operation for changing the face. It just strengthens the whole face shape and gives depth and youth to the lower face, neck and jawline. Cheekbone enhancement also makes the face more masculine and handsome. Patients who have had these performed are amongst his most appreciative.
Facelifts: Although there are a whole host of facelift techniques available, Dr Wu prefers skin and SMAS tightening and the MACS Lift. “I want the pull to be as vertical as possible yet not deform the eye and make it slanted as this is too feminising. I also don’t like pulling it back to the ear as this flattens the face and makes it look ghoulish with a big mouth. Concomitant volumetric restoration either using fat injections, implants or soft tissue sculpting is also essential for a good result. This is something I learnt from Bruce Connell and Leo Rozner over a decade ago.”
Gynecomastia Reduction: Dr Wu performs the WW Stealth Areola incision which renders the scar almost invisble to perform a complete removal of the gynecomastia. He feels that the standard areola scar is not sufficient as it leaves a white, curved line in many cases, easily seen when the patient is at the pool or in the gym. He seldom performs liposuction as this is unable to remove the breast tissue directly under the areola leading to surgery ultimately.
Liposculpture: currently a popular procedure, the most requested areas are tummy, love handles back and thighs, many male clients request etching a ‘Six-pack” formation over their anterior abdomen to simulate chiselled abs.
Buttock Augmentation : Dr Wu has recently started a supramuscular, subfascial technique for buttock augmentation which renders it less bloody and reduces the risk of sciatic nerve damage. In contrast to women who desire their implants placed lower, men require their implants a little higher so that it creates a tight, sensual appearance especially when in their 501s!
Dr Wu sees his male clientele set to grow even more with an influx of medical tourists from Germany, San Francisco, India, Japan, Britain and Holland. “After all,” he adds,”in the animal kingdom it is really the male species who is more vain. I know I am!”