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Plastic surgery gains acceptance from males

But the 59-year-old engineering firm vice president wouldn't blame anyone for paying a plastic surgeon to make himself look better.

We're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we do, he said.
"I don't think it's a bad thing anymore. I don't think it's just for women. I don't think it's just for movie stars. For people who want to look better, it's an alternative," he said.

Cosmetic procedures among men have increased during the past decade - even in conservative central Pennsylvania.

"When I began practice almost 40 years ago, we would see one man for every 20 women for cosmetic surgery. But now we see one man for probably every four women," said Dr. James Yates, a Harrisburg-area plastic surgeon.
Yates said TV shows and other media focusing on plastic surgery have changed attitudes.

"There is so much hype over plastic surgery that it's no longer a rarity. The biggest group we treat is people from middle-income families. It's not the rich and famous," he said.

Dr. John Stratis, another plastic surgeon, also has seen a rise in men getting cosmetic procedures. Men account for 20 percent of his cosmetic procedures, up from 5 percent five years ago, he said. Central Pennsylvania is "getting more liberal, but it still lags behind the coasts and the major cities," he said.

Stratis said local men are often a little secretive, wanting to look better without co-workers knowing they went to a plastic surgeon.

"Under the radar" procedures such as laser skin treatments that involve minimal downtown are luring them, Stratis said. "Even in central Pennsylvania you can have these things done without anyone else noticing it."

Dr. Samir Srouji, a local plastic surgeon, said men used to be more bashful, often saying their wife was the driving force behind the decision to have a procedure. They've become more direct about what they want and why, he said.

Srouji attributes much of the rise in procedures for men to the fact that people are living longer and staying in better shape. "They want to look as young as they feel," he said.

Yates said his male clients can be divided into two groups: men whose careers require public appearances and men who have had a major change of life, such as a divorce.

He said his male clients have included CEOs who believe they are vulnerable to being replaced if they don't look young.

The local surgeons said the most common surgical procedures are liposuction, which involves removal of fat, and eyelid procedures.

Facelifts are more common, and they also see men who want fat and glandular flesh removed from their breasts.

LeVan's procedure involved removal of sagging flesh around his eye. The problem stemmed from getting hit with a hockey puck 25 years ago - an injury that put him in the hospital for weeks and nearly cost him an eye.

Over several years, the eye slowly returned to almost normal.
But as he aged, muscles surrounding his eye lost tone, causing skin to sag.
It began to affect his peripheral vision to the point he worried it might interfere with his pilot's license.

He didn't realize how much it affected his appearance until he saw photos taken during an event he hosted for his church.

In every photo, one eye was partially closed.
"I got tired of looking like Pop-Eye," the Lewisberry resident said. "I didn't try to look younger, but I tried to look better. I don't think it looks good when a guy is giving a presentation and he has one eye closed and he doesn't know."

Wayne Goho, of Wormleysburg, was 70 when he first had cosmetic surgery to tighten sagging flesh under his neck.

The sagging flesh eventually returned, so Goho had the procedure again at 80.
He said having a cosmetic procedure at 80 was driven more by practicality than vanity. Goho is an officer in a local Civil Air Patrol unit, and is involved in training cadets.

"I look better in uniform, I admit, if I don't have that," he said of the sagging flesh.
"This was unheard of 50 years ago," he said. "Society itself has changed. Today, a lot of people are keeping their jobs much longer. ... If I was going to stay at home, I probably wouldn't have done it. Appearancewise, it does make quite a difference."

Yates said an eyelid job costs about $3,100 for one set of lids, and about $5,200 for both sets.

Stratis said the noninvasive procedures, which ran from Botox to complex laser treatments, range from $350 to $4,500.

Since most aren't considered medically necessary, they're usually not covered by health insurance.