Most people associate the words "plastic surgery" and "breasts" with women making theirs larger. But Dr. Tanya Atagi tells the stories of two men who she helped with gynecomastia, the treatment of enlarged male breasts. One was an older man who wanted to be able to take his grandkids to the beach. The other was a young Broadway actor who wanted to stop being the butt of his friends' jokes. Both would have been helped by the kind of event for men that Dr. Atagi will be hosting tonight, entitled "Real Men Do Bro-Tox."
"He never really participated in sports in high school," Atagi says of the older gentleman. "He would never take his shirt off at the beach or the pool because he was so self-conscious about looking like he had breasts. After the procedure he was virtually in tears because it changed his life in terms of being able to go to a gym and being able to change in the locker room and take his shirt off."
She says the younger patients' friends would regularly grab his chest and that it was a running joke among his peers.
"I don't think they get that it's incredibly embarrassing and he's very self-conscious and very sensitive about it," Atagi says. "Yes, people want to stay young and look good, but there are things that really impact people on an emotional basis like that."
While most of the plastic surgery treatments men seek today fall under the category of staying young and looking good, Atagi will be discussing gynecomastia and many other procedures tonight when interested men can gather from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse in Greenwood Village. To even out the "manliness" of an event that centers around cosmetic surgery, there will be a whiskey tasting.
Atagi will be making a short presentation to men interested in plastic surgery and conducting a Q&A session. She says the meeting will focus more on in-office and less invasive procedures such as Botox and skin rejuvenation and conditioning. She's hosted similar functions for women, but the idea for this event came from a practice management consulting group with which her office works. But the term "Bro-tox," well, she's claiming that.
"It's kind of a term we've coined," Atagi says. "It's sort of a dude-oriented event, so it's more of a pun than anything."
She aims to help men who might be interested in plastic surgery, but might not want to come to the office for a consultation. While Atagi estimates only about 5 percent of her clientele is male, she knows that number can and should go up.
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"It's interesting because, in terms of statistics, the male population is a growing population for us in terms of the aesthetics industry," she says. "I kind of get a sense that where men are with the whole thing is probably where women were with it fifteen years ago. It's something that piques your interest, but you don't have a lot of friends who are doing it or talking about it and people tend to want to be a little more quiet and private about it."
While the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says in its annual report that men constitute only 9 percent of all cosmetic procedures in 2011, that number is up 6 percent from 2010. The greatest growth for any procedure was chin augmentations in men, which rose 76 percent over 2010's number.
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"It was interesting because as we had been thinking about and putting this event together about a month ago, I had my one day of in-office consultations and was seeing new patients, and all the patients we saw that day were men," Atagi says. "That's not particularly usual and I think it's indicative of the fact that more and more men are investigating some of these options."
Atagi says men are most commonly concerned with appearing natural after cosmetic procedures and having a short recovery time. Her event will focus on such treatments.
"The main message is there are a lot of really terrific options available to help keep yourself looking refreshed and doing more maintenance things that are not particularly invasive or necessarily even surgical," Atagi says. "This is a great time to investigate rejuvenative procedures because there are so many things out there that are really more maintenance and a lot more natural and a lot less invasive."