IT'S OFFICIAL- MEN ARE JUST AS VEIN AS WOMEN

PLASTIC SURGERY - MOM, I WANTED TO BE A PRETTY BOY - BY HANDRIE BASSON - FINANCE WEEK

WOMEN are usually the ones to opt for wrinkle fixes, liposuction and face lifts, right? Wrong.

More than a million American men underwent cosmetic plastic surgery in 2000, accounting for 14% of these operations. And though the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) does not have the latest figures available, the society's president Walter Erhardt said there can be no doubting the trend. "The statistics confirm what we see in our practices. The general stigma attached to cosmetic surgery as a privilege for the rich and famous is disappearing. Moreover, men are becoming more aware of their looks, with many opting for plastic surgery to improve their looks," he says. Though in SA, mainly women opt for this type of beauty treatment, the number of male patients is on the increase. As in the US, cosmetic operations on men are mainly nose and eyelid jobs. They also have hair transplants and undergo liposuction to remove fat.

Dr Tom Ford, secretary of the Association of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery of SA (APRSSA), says many people have unrealistic expectations of plastic surgery. "It's important for people to be realistic about their physical image, for we cannot perform miracles.

That's why surgeons must first discuss the matter with prospective patients. A plastic surgeon makes a living from performing operations. But he builds his reputation on not performing operations." Ford says he regularly turns away people not suited to an operation. APRSSA was formed in 1956 and has over 120 members today. Ford says that SA unfortunately does not have the same type of statistics as the US because SA law prohibits publicising details of an operation.

The fact is that people, especially men, are getting used to the idea of plastic surgery. The next time your boss returns from holiday saying it's the fresh Cape sea air and sunshine that made him look so young, take it with a pinch of salt.