Pedro Alfaya lost more than 50 pounds, but in the process, he gained excess skin around his middle that he just couldn’t shed.
So last month, he got a tummy tuck.
“I feel much better about the way I look. But more importantly, the weight loss leaves all that skin that you are carrying around like luggage, and I feel like a weight has been lifted from around the belly section,” said Alfaya, 42, of Miami.
Plastic surgery has come a long way since Alfaya first began thinking of a tummy tuck in his 20s. It wasn’t accepted then, he said.
“This time around, it’s like getting a haircut,” he said. He has unabashedly told his friends and family about his surgery.
“I’m not ashamed to say I had it done,” he said. “On the contrary, I feel like I haven’t felt in a very long time.”
Alfaya is not alone. While men still significantly trail women in the number of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures performed nationwide, they are becoming increasing commonplace in South Florida waiting rooms, doctors say.
Dr. Johnny Franco, a plastic surgeon with Miami Plastic Surgery in Miami, who performed Alfaya’s tummy tuck, said more men come in for everything from Botox and dermal fillers to liposuction and tummy tucks.
“There’s not a day that goes by on the schedule, where you don’t see a man for something, which wasn’t true five years ago,” said Franco, who estimates that 10 percent of his patients are men.
Overall, 14.6 million cosmetic surgery procedures, including both minimally invasive and surgical, were performed on males and females in the United States last year, up 5 percent from 2011, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Men’s percentage of the total is not yet available for 2012, but in 2011, it was 13 percent for cosmetic surgical procedures and 9 percent for minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, or 9 percent overall, according to ASPS data.
Doctors say that men are often motivated to look better by their significant others, or they may be experiencing a difficult life transition such as a divorce.
Since 1997, men’s cosmetic procedures have increased 106 percent, said Dr. Onelio Garcia, Jr., a plastic surgeon with Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Miami and a spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The top five cosmetic surgeries for men are liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose jobs), eyelid surgery, gynecomastia (removal of excess breast tissue) and ear reshaping, he said.
“The taboo of men having plastic surgery is gone,” said Garcia, who figures that 10 percent of his patients are men.
He attributes the rise in part to an increase in eyelid surgery for men who find themselves competing with younger male co-workers who don’t have bags under their eyes — hence the nickname for the procedure: “executive surgery.”
Now, the latest surgery in demand by young men is “high definition liposuction,” a body sculpting that gives a better delineation of an abdominal six-pack, Garcia said.
“It’d done with VASER, an ultrasonic device that melts the fat before you remove it, and it causes tissue contraction and allows us to sculpt under the skin, and creates the visual ridges that you see in a six-pack,” he said.