Men Are an Untapped Market for Plastic Surgery

DECEMBER 28, 2015
Jeannette Y. Wick, RPh, MBA, FASCP
Few surgical specialties can report figures like this: between 1997 and 2014, the annual number of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States increased by more than 274%. Plastic surgeons performed the vast majority of those procedures on women, although the number of men undergoing cosmetic procedures increased somewhat. Researchers from New York University Medical Center have published a study examining plastic surgeons’ marketing practices. Published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, their findings suggest that plastic surgeons could do a better job of advertising to male patients.
These researchers used the Internet to find popular plastic surgeons’ websites in the 48 contiguous United States. They analyzed the first 10 solo or group practice websites identified in Google with specific attention to the first 10 images featured, presence of a male services section, and which procedures the websites promoted for men.
Since 5 states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont, and West Virginia) did not have 10 unique solo or group practice websites, the researchers included 453 websites. Almost all of the web sites included in the final analysis advertised solo practices.
They found 4,239 images, 94.1% of which depicted women. Only 5% depicted men alone, and 0.9% showed a man and a woman together.
Only 22% of website included a male services page, and the procedures feature most often included gynecomastia reduction (58%), liposuction (17%), blepharoplasty (13%), and facelift (10%). Plastic surgeons practicing in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Tennessee were most likely to market directly to men.
Fewer than 1 in 10 web sites offered other procedures to males.
These findings identify an opportunity to improve online marketing efforts directed at men. Men are becoming more comfortable with plastic surgery, and failure to cater to this population represents a missed opportunity.

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