Vanessa L. Jackson

Yo-Yo Ma plays in Dr. Gregory Buford’s deep blue all-wheel-drive vehicle. It’s a drastic difference from last night’s intense weightlifting exercise where a combination of heavy metal and rap ranging from ACDC to Wacka Flacka blared from his iPod’s ear buds.

This morning, Dr. Buford skips reading the morning paper to stay focused and opts for a homemade protein concoction consisting of organic chocolate milk, soymilk, raw eggs and a tablespoon of coffee for breakfast. He adds a full cup of coffee and a glass of water to maintain hydration.

Dr. Buford’s mentally preparing to perform blepharoplasty, a delicate procedure to help improve and rejuvenate the appearance of the lower and upper eyelids. The Denver Board Certified Plastic Surgeon specializes in non-invasive and cosmetic plastic surgeries and is the lead author of “Beauty and the Business.”

Reality shows like “Dr. 90210” or FX’s “Nip/Tuck” have helped bring plastic surgery to the forefront. Additionally, significant advances in technology has made plastic surgery less invasive, time constraining, more rejuvenating and have increased techniques to make the skin and body more attractive.

Males account for nine percent of all cosmetic procedures, according the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. And despite the economic crisis, the overall percentage of people getting plastic surgery only decreased by one percent in 2009.

“Although plastic surgery has always been more common among women, more men are using it to be more competitive in not only the boardroom but also the bedroom,” Dr. Buford says.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the top five cosmetic procedures for men in 2009 were Lipoplasty (Liposuction), Rhinoplasty (Nose Surgery), Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery), Gynecomastia (Breast Reduction) and Hair Transplantation.

Gynecomastia, the procedure dedicated to male breast reduction, affects 40 to 60 percent of men.

HEA-Focus-surgery-bodies“Men want to look their best too,” says Plastic Surgeon Ariel Rad of The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

James Truax of Sherman Oaks, CA is already thinking about how plastic surgery may improve his life. Shifting from the party scene to corporate offices, James is removing several tattoos—a bird from his neck, skull on one hand and mad man on his other. He still has two sleeves, his back, chest and legs tattooed. One tattoo reads Sarah.

“They were no longer pertinent when I wasn’t doing red ropes,” says James about his former career as a party promoter.

Tattoo removal is a common procedure for men. Tattoos of past memories or girlfriends rate high. The procedure is done around ten times and takes four to eight weeks to heal from each procedure, according Marla Esposito, the Executive Director at LaserAway, who adds that it can be painful. The laser breaks up ink particles in skin and the ink dissipates over time.

“It’s more of an aesthetic issue to get rid of a tattoo that represents someone in the past that you don’t want to bring into [your] marriage,” Dr. Shalini Kapoor of Santa Monica LaserAway adds.

Frank Gitto is a fifty-something South Florida businessman. The dark-green eyed man considers himself in shape, good looking and on a healthy diet, but decided at a young age to repair excess baggage underneath his eyes.

“It wasn’t to the point where I looked terrible and didn’t want to go out,” Frank says.  “But, it was something I always wanted to do and I did it.”

In his forty’s, Frank consulted and eventually got his friend and South Florida based cosmetic plastic surgeon to do his brow lift (forehead lift) and remove his dark circles.

“I was very impressed by my doctor and still get compliments,” he says. “The more you grow older the more you have excess skin. I would have neck surgery to have excess skin taking off my neck.”

Preparation

Just as you shopped around for the perfect flat screen high definition TV, you need to do the same when selecting a plastic surgeon. Do your homework. Make sure they have the necessary experience, training and credentials. Visit the facilities to ensure it is sanitary and they are accredited. Also find out who’s administering your anesthesia.

Pre Operative Care

A surgeon always has the option to refuse surgery. You may be turned down because of high health risks or body dimorphic order—when a patient is focused on insignificant imperfections that can’t be addressed surgically. Reveal your expectations directly and determine if your desired surgeon can deliver.

During your early consultations, chest X-rays, blood work, EKG and other health tests are done to determine potential risks. Disclose your medical history and family medical history at this time to ensure your surgeon knows as much as possible.

Some surgeons recommend medical clearance from your primary doctor. In California it is required. Named the Donda West Law, it was passed in honor of rapper Kanye West’s mother who died of complications related to cosmetic surgery a day after her operation.

The overall possibility of complications is less than one percent. The risk is dependent upon the extent of surgery, the length and form of anesthesia, injections and bleeding.

Post Operative Care

“Post operative care is very important and determines the recovery process,” says says Dr. Z. Paul Lorenc, MD, FACS an aesthetic plastic surgeon in New York.

You should always have an escort home, a reliable family member or friend. Utilize a private duty nurse, if possible, for follow-up care and to guide you to health. If you have the operation in a different city, use a hotel room . A stable location serves as a place to dispense medicines, take blood pressure and monitor recovery.

Cost varies and depends on the location, facility fees, procedures, doctor’s office or hospital fees, anesthesia, surgical costs and implant costs. Basically, you’ll have to shop around.  Many plastic surgeons can direct you to financing companies if desired. Whether cash or credit, get a written estimate of charges before you pay to help avoid unexpected expenses.

“Patients have plastic surgery because they have an idea of how they feel inside and have an idea of how they want to improve on the outside,” Dr. Buford says.

Headed home after a successful day, Dr. Buford has changed from his most comfortable scrubs, a pair of socks and his favorite clogs. He’s completed a couple of successful surgeries while mixing in consultations and prepping for his next round of surgeries. Another surgery will be tomorrow. His breakfast may be another protein concoction. He’ll decide that later. For now his mind focuses on whether he’ll start tonight’s workout with  Back in Black or  Encore.