The Rise of Male Liposuction: Hollywood Heroes, Technological Advances, and Competitive Workforce

Chako S. on 28 May 2014 at 3:00pm

The Male Ideal Body in Hollywood: Batman Over the Years
Photo credits (L-R): 20th Century Fox Television, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures

Written by: Jim Gill


Oh, how the ideal male body has changed. All you have to do is look at Batman over the last 50 years: From Adam West looking broad-chested (but a little doughy) in the ‘60s; to everyman Michael Keaton ushering in the ‘90s in sculpted body armor that notably bulked up his smaller physique; to Christian Bale, whose physically imposing body is superhero-sized without the suit. And Ben Affleck’s Batman seems poised to raise the ante even further! Yes, Hollywood has definitely gotten more chiseled and increasingly angular over time, which means male body expectations are higher and more on display than ever before — and the pressure to conform to these standards extends far outside of Tinseltown.

According to statistics for 2013 from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), liposuction is not only the number one surgical procedure overall (knocking breast augmentation off the top spot!), but also the number one procedure for men. The number of liposuction procedures has increased 106% since 1997, with males making up 14% of the total. Anecdotally, many RealSelf doctors are seeing this increase of men having liposuction in their own practice.

What’s more? The annual spend on lipo topped more than a whopping $1 billion! These numbers are not surprising, according to Dr. Jack Fisher, president of ASAPS. “Technological advances, less-invasive procedures, and greater accessibility are making aesthetic procedures, surgical and nonsurgical, far more attractive to the public at-large. Further, the rebounding economy is encouraging people to start investing in themselves once again.”

Men and the Competitive Workplace
Along with these things, it’s a desire to stay competitive in the workplace that seems to be motivating men to seek body enhancement. Though the workforce is reportedly getting older (age 55 and older), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that millennials (those born in the 1980s to the early aughts) will overtake the majority representation of the workforce as early as next year, 2015. By 2030, it predicts millennials will make up the majority of the workforce at 75%. In order to be competitive with younger demographics, writer Kerry Hannon at Forbes suggests candidates aged 50 and over should “[be] physically fit and look and dress with an eye toward a vibrant, youthful appearance. Interviewers will judge a book by its cover, even if it is subliminal.” In other words: Looks do matter and first impressions are everything — for interviews and in-person meetings.

Dr. Douglas Steinbrech, a Manhattan-based plastic surgeon, stated in a recent article in Business Insider, “Men get surgery as a key tool to help them succeed. In a marketplace where looking fit, younger, and more masculine is imperative, the better you look, the better your chances of ascending the corporate ladder.”

MORE: Beyond Brotox: Are More Men Getting Cosmetic Surgery?


Chris Pratt shared this photo while getting uber-fit to play superhero Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Photo credit:  prattprattpratt on Instagram

Men in Hollywood

Some might find it farfetched that men would care this much about their appearance — that it’s only women who are faced with the pressures of society to live up to a particular body ideal. But if you are exposed to any media, from movies to comic books, you’ll see a male physique portrayed that sets a standard that’s hard (if not impossible) to live up to, even for guys who are active and in-shape. These days, male celebrities’ bodies are scrutinized just as much as women’s due to the growth of blockbuster superhero and action movies. As we see more leading men bulking up for these roles, male aesthetic ideals continue to rise even higher. 

But most men aren’t able to put in the same type of focus on their bodies as the Hollywood A-list. They may be in their prime professionally, but they may not feel as on top of their game physically once they hit middle age, especially when they see men of the same age (or older) on the big screen. (Cheers to guys like Jon Hamm, who are handsome and athletic but don’t look as if they spend every minute of their free time guzzling protein shakes and getting jacked at the gym.) At 40, most men work out, feel stronger than ever before, and have more endurance, but no matter what they do, there’s still not the muscle definition or the six-pack abs they had when they were 25.

There are many ways to get that lean look that makes every muscle pop, but career, family, and real life can make it nearly impossible to go all-in the way an actor can when prepping for a role. This is where liposuction becomes a possibility. Liposuction removes fat from the abdomen, revealing the muscles that are already present, which is along the same strategy that Hollywood trainers rely on when getting actors to “lean out” by having them maintain extremely low body fat.

Liposuction is most effective and has the least amount of recovery if the patient is already in good shape. According to Savannah plastic surgeon Dr. E. Ronald Finger, the most common areas for male liposuction are the "love handles", lower abdomen, breast, and neck. Sorry to say it, but if the main trouble spot happens to be a beer belly, liposuction may not be the answer.

Male Lipo: Before and After
Male RealSelf community members shared these liposuction before and after photos


What Are Real Men Saying?
This 43-year-old RealSelf member from Alexandria, Virginia will soon be undergoing the “female body makeover but for a man.” His reason for the transformation? “I am confident in who I am, but have never been objectionable to having a little help in making the body be more attractive for myself as well as my spouse.”

A 45-year-old RealSelf member from from Miami, Florida admits: “I have always had issues with my waist. Gym or no gym. I have actually embraced my midlife crisis and liposuction was way cheaper than a Corvette!”

A 47-year-old male from Chevy Chase, Maryland raves about his liposuction results: “Two weeks post-op on my abs, and I feel great! Would have done this 10 years ago if I knew the results! Lost 7 pounds and 4 inches around my belly. Went from 37-inch waist to 33/34 and from 197 to 190 pounds, and I have not gotten rid of all my swelling. Can't wait to see what it looks like at 90 days!”

A Little More on Liposuction
Recovery time does vary from person to person. Dr. Jon F. Harrell says that downtime can be as short as 2 to 3 days. “Swelling usually starts to go away in earnest at about 7-10 days after surgery and patients look good in clothes by this time.”

Liposuction has a 79% Worth It Rating, with an average recovery time of 3-10 days, and a relatively inexpensive cost: an average of $5,925. It’s no surprise that men find it such an appealing option.


View more RealSelf Liposuction videos

About 30% of our RealSelf community is made up of men, and we’d love to hear from them! Sound off in the comments below!

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