A GROWING number of Scottish middle-aged men are turning to cosmetic surgery to help them regain the body of their youth and hold on to their job in an increasingly competitive workplace, figures suggest.
One clinic in Glasgow reported a 150 per cent increase in men over 50 undergoing a technique to remove fat and sculpt the body in the past year.
Elsewhere, surgeons said more men were coming forward for procedures including facelifts and removal of “moobs” – man boobs – as they became more aware of the importance of maintaining their appearance in the business world.
Psychologists said the men believed they needed to look younger and fitter to hold on to their status and fend off younger rivals in the workplace.
Dr Dennis Wolf, joint medical director at The Private Clinic in Glasgow, said that cosmetic treatments had become more affordable in recent years and many men were also more knowledgeable about what therapies or treatments might help them achieve a youthful facade.
“In terms of people trying to get work in the current economic climate people want to optimise not just their knowledge in the industry they work in, but with the competition that is around from younger males they want to optimise themselves in terms of how they look,” he said.
“That is not just the way they dress or come across as a person but also first impressions.”
Wolf said people expressed concern about the way they looked, but many men also have “let themselves go” due to a lack of exercise and bad diets. In most cases a swift “nip and tuck” would yield results faster than embarking on a diet and exercise regime.
“They may find they have put on a stone and a half and want to get rid of it,” Wolf said. “To do that through exercise may take six to 18 months.”
The medic said that some people saw the liposuction treatments as a “kick-start” to a new healthy lifestyle.
One technique which has been particularly popular among men is a procedure called Vaser, which uses ultrasonic energy which is passed through fatty tissue.
The ultrasound beams break up and liquefy the fat, which can then be sucked out. The technique can also be used to help sculpt and define muscles, giving a more toned appearance.
The technique is less invasive than traditional liposuction, making it a popular choice for many patients. It also offers a quicker and easier recovery.
The clinic has seen a 150 per cent increase in men over 50 undergoing Vaser treatment in the past year. Overall the clinic treated 30 times as many men and women using the technique last year compared with 2010.
Depending on how many areas of the body are treated, the technique can cost from around £2,500 to more than £10,000.
Wolf said they had treated a lot of businessmen using the technique, but also tradesmen who were generally quite fit but wanted help to define their physiques.
Vivek Sivarajan, a surgeon with Confidence Cosmetic, based at the Nuffield Hospital in Glasgow, also reported an increase in older men seeking treatment to enhance their looks.
“I have treated four or five guys in the past couple of weeks for liposuction, all of them in their 40s and 50s and all independently wealthy individuals – three of them owned their own companies,” he said.
“I am definitely seeing an increase in liposuction cases in men and other types of surgery as well.”
Sivarajan said he saw a lot of men who, despite their efforts to work out in the gym, just could not shift the last bit of extra weight around their stomach or reduce their “man boobs”.
“I see a lot of liposuction patients and I’d say 18 months ago 80 to 90 per cent of my patients were female,” he said. “Now it is closer to 50-50. In the last few weeks it’s been more men than women.”
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, agreed that the current economic climate was making men more aware of their appearance as they strive to maintain their positions in the workplace.
“Thinking about job insecurity out there, thinking that people from the top floor to the shop floor can be made redundant, you can see why people want to look really healthy and vigorous,” he said.
“It is part of an image, and if you are in certain sectors, like the financial sector or senior management generally, looking resilient and fit becomes very important.
“It is probably not that they want to look more attractive, it is wanting to appear that they are young and physically fit.
“People believe that if this guy looks after his health, he will look after me professionally as a client or for our business.”