Although it’s commonly associated with female patients, plastic surgery is becoming more and more common among men. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of men requesting face lifts increased by 14 percent in 2010. In 2013, there were more than 133,000 face lifts performed on male patients, making up 10 percent of all plastic surgeries performed on men.

Since men and women have many physical differences, performing a face lift on a man is a slightly different procedure than it is on a woman. Risk and complications are more likely in male patients than in female, due to facial differences. If you are a man considering a face lift, learning as much about the procedure and what you can expect in advance is a must.

The Male Face

One of the major ways that the male face is different from the female face is the presence of facial hair. While women can grow facial hair in some cases, it’s usually not desired. A face lift might change the way hair grows on your face. For example, if the location of hair follicles changes, you might find that you need to shave closer to your ears after the surgery, or that you have to shave behind the ears.

Men also have different hairlines than women, shorter hair or less hair if they are balding. While women can often rely on their hair to conceal any incision lines, men don’t have that convenience. It can be particularly difficult for men to conceal incision lines if they are nearly bald or completely bald.

The structure of the male face is also considerably different from the structure of a female face. A man’s face is usually larger than a woman’s, which means that a surgeon typically has more to work around. The tissues and ligaments that make up a man’s face also usually thicker and stronger, which present more of a challenge to a surgeon.

Is it for You?

A face lift is usually performed to tighten up the skin in the lower part of the face, such as the jowls and cheek area. In a man, a face lift can restore a strong, masculine jawline. Along with deciding whether or not a face lift will give you the desired results, it’s important to determine whether or not you’re physically healthy enough for the procedure.

Male patients do have a higher risk for complications from a face lift than females. During an initial consultation with your surgeon, he will review your health and medical history to see if the surgery is appropriate for you. If you smoke, you’ll be asked to quit before the face lift, as tobacco use slows down healing and can affect the incisions. Conditions such as diabetes might mean that your surgeon has to adjust the surgical technique to avoid complications.


Societal expectations can make recovering from a face lift more challenging for men than it is for women. Ideally, a man should let himself rest and recover from the procedure for about two weeks before going back to work. Any instructions given by the surgeon should be followed to the letter to avoid complications and to ensure the desired result.

Arrange to have someone, either a spouse, partner or close friend or relative, help you out after the surgery. You’ll need someone take you home from the procedure and to stay with you for at least the first night. Don’t feel you have to return to work right away. There will be swelling and bruising on your face, particularly around the third day after the surgery. While women can wear makeup to hide any bruising or redness, it’s less socially acceptable for men to do so.

Risks and Complications

A hematoma, or a pool of blood beneath the surface of the skin, is one of the more common complications after a face lift. Since men a greater supply of blood to their face, the risk for a hematoma after the procedure is higher in male patients. Men are also more likely to experience complications after surgery related to blood pressure. Even patients who usually don’t have high blood pressure can have greater risks after a face lift. To reduce the chance of complications, it’s essential for a surgeon to fully evaluate a male patient’s health before the surgery.

Choose a surgeon with plenty of experience performing face lifts to ensure the best results. Chicago’s Dr. George Moynihan is a double board certified surgeon and the founding doctor of Gold Coast Plastic Surgery. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Moynihan, contact his office by calling 312-988-9300.

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