More men are swapping the gym for the clinic –with male tummy tucks the fastest-growing cosmetic surgery procedure in Britain, figures show.
Men asked for 4,298 procedures last year, with a 15 per cent increase in abdominoplasty, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). Nose jobs were the most popular treatments for men, with 1,043 carried out last year – a 5 per cent rise. The number of male breast reductions rose by 7 per cent.
Billy Brandham, 21, from Luton, had his breasts reduced recently –paying part of the £2,000 fee from his student loan. "For nearly a year I had played football and worked relentlessly on an American body-sculpting programme called P90X. It started to get really embarrassing. I wasn't able to wear a T-shirt without people noticing.
"People haven't noticed the changes much. I think it was just a 'me' thing – something I had to do. Something I had to do to feel better."
Cheaper treatments, wider availability and the breaking of a taboo are among the reasons cited for the rise in cosmetic surgery among men. "Ten years ago, you may not have seen David Beckham advertising Armani underwear but those sort of images are commonplace now," said Rajiv Grover, the president-elect of BAAPS.
"Wayne Rooney had a hair transplant and Boris Becker recently had a facelift." The recession has not hampered the appetite for a nip or tuck, with 43,069 operations completed last year – almost 6 per cent more than in 2010. Most customers – 38,771 – were women and breast enlargements the most popular.
Meanwhile, the cosmetic surgery industry called for calm last night over claims that a second type of breast implant could be linked to cancer. Following the scandal over faulty PIP implants from France, a senior manager at Nuffield Health warned doctors not to offer a product called Silimed and to withdraw existing stocks.
Silimed implants, which may have been fitted in up to 20,000 British women, have a coating which previous studies have found could release a cancer-causing toxin. But Fazel Fatah the BAAPS president, said Nuffield seemed to be taking an "overtly cautious attitude", possibly as a reaction to the PIP scandal.
CASE STUDY: Tony Lewkowicz
After losing 8st (50kg) in 30 months, the Doncaster council worker had excess midriff skin the NHS refused to remove. Mr Lenkowicz, 27, went to David Lam, a Sheffield surgeon, for a £5,000 tummy tuck operation.
"He showed me pictures of men who had had the treatment," he says. "Until I saw those, I thought plastic surgery was just for women. Over two days I had 5kg of skin removed. Now I feel confident and happier. I can finally buy the clothes I want.
"I have a scar across my stomach to near my chest, but it was worth it."