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Male Cosmetic Surgery Patients Need Different Approach
By Dr. Kenneth Dickie
Aug 26, 2008 - 2:50:49 PM

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Men may not be from Mars, but they do pose some unique challenges for the plastic surgeons who treat them. And as a growing number of men seek cosmetic procedures, it’s important for physicians to realize the differences between male and female patients are much more than physical.

Plastic surgeons also must address key differences in the psychological makeup between the sexes and tailor treatment protocols to achieve positive outcomes. Many plastic surgeons find men are more likely to approach a consultation for a cosmetic procedure as they would buying a new car, often attempting to negotiate price or work out some sort of a “deal”. They are also more likely to want to close the deal quickly without asking as many questions or considering much beyond the procedure they want.

Men don’t listen as well as women. While this may not be a shocking fact for many, it does require plastic surgeons to spend more time making sure their male patients completely understand all facets of a cosmetic procedure beforehand, from preoperative preparation to postoperative care.

Women tend to be more collaborative throughout the treatment process than men. Both are generally well-informed about the procedures they seek, women are more accepting of complications should they occur, and they do listen and follow directions more closely.

Most plastic surgeons find the greatest disparity between male and female cosmetic surgery patients lies in the recovery phase – specifically his or her diligence in adhering to recommendations for postoperative. With men, you have to leave no stone unturned.

Male patients often try to dictate what procedures they need without much input from me. This is a marked difference from most of my female patients, who expect me to make a recommendation based on what goal they’d like to achieve.

Across the board, men appear to be less patient than women with the entire cosmetic surgical process. Women, in general, are used to getting more beauty treatments – manicures, facials, hair removal and the like.

Most men don’t engage in the details. Because of that, they are not always realistic about results – or the amount of healing time required to achieve them. Part of the reason men don’t fare as well as women postoperatively is that they tend not to have a support system to help them during recovery. Many cosmetic procedures are isolating in nature due to the extent of swelling and bruising involved. Men think they won’t need any help, so they don’t ask for it. And because they don’t want to wear concealing makeup, men often are unrealistic about when they can return to ‘normal’. As a result, they get depressed and frustrated faster then women.

Managing expectations throughout the surgical process is critical to ensuring positive outcomes in male patients. They do require more time and effort on the plastic surgeon’s part, but it’s time well spent to avoid issues later on. Men do take longer to heal in most cases than women, because their skin is generally thicker and less pliable. This also affects the length of postoperative swelling and pain.

As the percentage of men interested in cosmetic procedures continues to grow, plastic surgeons will have to change their communication approach to accommodate men’s needs and defuse any potential issues that could arise after surgery. Men are different than women…period.

Have a plastic surgery question for Dr. Dickie? If so, e-mail us at info@BahamasInstituteOfPlasticSurgery.com. Dr. Kenneth Dickie is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Plastic Surgery. He specializes in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery as well as Plastic, Reconstructive, and Hand Surgery. Dr. Dickie has been in clinical practice since 1984, and is currently a member of the Canadian and American Societies of Plastic Surgery, and the Canadian and American Societies of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. For a consultation, please contact the Bahamas Institute of Plastic Surgery at (242) 351-1234

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