Once considered a woman's domain, cosmetic surgery is increasingly attracting American men keen on remaining competitive in the workplace, improving their love life or getting rid of physical hangups.
With procedures for droopy eyelids, bulging love handles and over-sized breasts, more men are readjusting their bodies to enhance their looks and stack the odds in their favor career-wise.
"It's much more acceptable in society today for men to seek plastic surgery," Dr Phillip Haeck, a plastic surgeon in the western state of Washington, told AFP.
"There is an incredible push for men to smell good, to have smoother skin and coincidentally to pay more attention to how they look," said Haeck, 53, who underwent surgery on his eyelids two years ago and who has seen a 19 percent increase in male clients in the last five years.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the total number of cosmetic procedures on men grew by 16 percent between 2000 and 2005 with breast reduction, tummy tuck, lip augmentation, eyelid surgery and liposuction among the most popular.
Breast reduction surgery, for example, increased by 17 percent between 2004 and 2005 and liposuction by 10 percent. Tummy tuck surgeries grew by 37 percent between 2004 and 2005 and by 156 percent between 2000 and 2005 while lip augmentation jumped by 61 percent between 2004 and 2005 and by 458 percent between 2000 and 2005.
Tom, 51, of Philadelphia, said he decided in December to confront his lifelong hangup about his large breasts by undergoing surgery, and he has not looked back since.
"It's like a ton of bricks lifted," said Tom, a construction supervisor who did not want his last name used and who paid 4,000 dollars for the procedure. "It was such a psychological relief to have this done.
"I went out of the house for the first time this week with just a T-shirt on," he added. "When I was growing up, I would never take my shirt off anywhere and when I got married and had kids, I never went to the beach or learned to swim because of that."
Dr Mark Solomon, a plastic surgeon in the eastern state of Pennsylvania, said he believes the baby boomer generation is behind men seeking "six-pack abs" and youthful looks beyond their 40s, 50s and even 60s.
"Competition for jobs continues to increase at an intense pace with people trying to maintain their level of advancement both professionally and personally, and more people are divorced than ever before," Solomon said. "People are also less concerned today about appearing feminine."
He said his male patients, who make up 30 percent of his clientele, span all age groups and backgrounds, from mailmen, to prison guards to executives willing to spend between 2,000 and upwards of 10,000 dollars, depending on the surgery.
Eyelid surgery typically runs between 3,000 and 4,000 dollars and breast surgery about 5,000 dollars. Most of the surgeries are out-patient and require a brief recovery period.
"With regard to facial surgery, most of them want to get rid of the tired look," Solomon said of his patients. "For body contouring, it's more that they've dieted and exercised and still can't make their body look they way they want it to."
Haeck said some of his older patients seek a nip and tuck in a desperate bid to keep up with their younger counterparts at the office.
"I've heard everything from 'I've got a younger wife and I want to look younger to I have to hold on to my job and there are a lot more younger people getting promoted and I want to look like them," Haeck said.
Jim Larson, a 41-year-old nurse at Haeck's office said he decided to get rid of the extra skin around his eyelids two years ago because he felt it made him look tired and old.
"I don't regret it at all," he said. "It has made me look a little more younger, a little more awake and alert. "If women can do it, I don't see why we can't?"