Men on a job search turning to cosmetic surgeons

Cosmetic surgeryThe Great Recession not only hit industries like retail and construction hard, it also knocked a lot of men who are in their prime earning years out of the workforce. And to help get an edge in their job searches, more men are turning to cosmetic surgeons.

One in five men ages 25 to 54 are on a job search, according to Larry Summers, President Obama's economic adviser.During an April event held by the Center for American Progress on the American worker, Summers predicted that "when the economy recovers, five years from now, assuming we return to normal cyclical conditions, one in six men who are 25 to 54 will not be working at any point in time."

It's not surprising, then, that in order to compete in this tough hiring environment, men are doing all they can to get a leg up on the competition -- even turning to cosmetic procedures. In 2009, men had more than 900,000 cosmetic procedures, a jump of 8% from 2008, according to a study from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). During that same period, the overall number of cosmetic procedures dipped by 2%.

"While men remain a minority of cosmetic plastic surgery patients, the recent recession has pushed more and more older men to consider plastic surgery as a way to help compete for jobs with their younger counterparts," says Dr. Anthony Youn, a board certified plastic surgeon based in Michigan. "They say you're only as young as you look, and many men are taking this literally."

According to ASAPS and the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, here are five of the hottest cosmetic procedures for men:

Thinning the middle
Liposuction topped the list of cosmetic surgery procedures. Done right, it can take away years by targeting those exercise-resistant areas like the love handles, stomach and chest. Because the incisions these days are small, there is minimal scarring and less downtime than before, said Youn. But, he cautioned, "This is still surgery and can be painful. When overdone, it can create unnatural-appearing lumps and dents. Almost any doctor can buy a liposuction machine and some are creating some pretty terrible results with it."

The price starts at $3,000.

Thickening the top
Nothing ages a man more than developing a bald spot. Luckily, new hair transplant techniques, in which follicular units of one to three hairs that naturally occur in the scalp are grafted, offer very natural looking results. There is also minimal scarring, and recovery is just a few days, said Dr. Jack Fisher, a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in Tennessee.

The downsides: The amount of donor hair can limit how much can be replaced, and, frankly, it's hard to hide a new head of hair.

In addition, the surgery starts at $5,000.

Lifting the eyes
As men age, their eyes start to look "tired." Today's eyelid lift can tighten the skin with little scarring and a downtime of only five days. Using a blepharoplasty with an incision on the inside of the lid, surgeons like Dr. Andrew Jacono, a dual board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in Manhattan, borrows the natural fat from the eyelid to fill in the dark areas underneath the eyes.

Results last up to 10 years with no touch-ups or follow-ups. This will take a $7,000 bite out of your wallet.

Relaxing the face

Use of the nerve-freezing Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox and Dysport) increased by 14.5%. Men are clamoring for it, because it makes the upper part of the face appear more youthful within a few days of a visit.

"Softening wrinkles with Botox goes a long way in helping project an image of strength and vitality," said Dr. Alexander Rivkin, founder of Westside Aesthetics in Los Angeles and Malibu. "When done correctly, the changes appear natural."

But the perks of no recovery time and no scarring come at a price.

Each procedure to smooth out the forehead and crow's feet can run $500 and must be repeated every four to six months.

Filling the face
Losing volume in areas like the eyes and cheeks is another sure sign of aging. To combat Father Time in the central cheek area under the eye, Rivkin likes to inject Radiesse ($800), a wrinkle filler. In 10 minutes, the round, youthful-looking cheeks are restored, and the patient is good to go for almost a year.

Juvederm is another popular filler for smile lines, lips and under the eyes. Rivkin likes how Juvederm doesn't cause any bumps or contouring imperfections when injected in the delicate tear trough crescent of the eye. "The other advantages is it lasts for a very long time (4 years or more) and it's reversible via an injection of an enzyme that dissolves the material within a day," he explained.

The cost: $1,100.
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