updated 17 Sep 2013, 05:38
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Tue, Sep 17, 2013
Her World
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S'pore's plastic hubbies
by Jeanne Tai

A year ago, J, a 32-year-old financial professional, visited The Sloane Clinic for a consultation. The clinic is known for offering a range of cosmetic surgery procedures, including nose jobs and tummy tucks. But she wasn't there for herself. It was for her husband.

Ned* is in his late 30s and he was finding it extremely hard to lose some excess fat around his midsection through exercise," she explains. "We both decided that liposuction was the only effective way, so we went to consult the doctor together."

After that, Ned got fat from his tummy and love handles removed via liposuction and ended up with a trimmer core. "He definitely looks much better now, even when he dresses simply in T-shirt and jeans," says a happy J, who confirms that both she and Ned are "very pleased" with his new hot bod.

So impressed was J by her hubby's transformation, that she was prompted to get some "work" done to improve her own looks. She and her husband are both active, outdoorsy sorts who enjoy going for beach holidays. "Naturally, I wanted to look as good as him when we're in our bathing suits."

So, with Ned's blessings, she went for a boob job two months later to get a fuller chest. She's not at all fazed by being one half of a "plastic couple". She believes that it's important for both men and women to look presentable, never mind that they are far from au naturel. "When you look good, it brings out your confidence and you emit a positive energy. This has a good impact on your work and social life," she reasons.

It certainly has had a positive effect on her marriage. More than a year on, the couple are still enjoying each other's "new look" and J claims it's even helped put some sizzle into their relationship. "We definitely enjoy our beach holidays a lot more now," she says.

"Honestly, I think I would have been jealous of Ned if I hadn't gone for a procedure myself. Now, we just enjoy looking at each other!"

The "Ken Doll" phenomenon

These days, don't bat an eyelid if your man 'fesses up to some nip and tuck. Like Ned, more Singapore men are opting for cosmetic surgery in their quest for physical perfection.

"It was like when male skincare first came out," explains Marcus*, 35, a media and advertising consultant who has been treating lines on his face with Botox for eight years. "Now it is only a matter of time before men everywhere start getting aesthetic enhancements.

"I do Botox and filler treatments every year or whenever "touch-ups" are required."

"To me, it's as normal as getting a haircut."

Five doctors who perform cosmetic procedures told Her World they are seeing more male clients. At the Singapore General Hospital, men now constitute 10 per cent of patients seeking cosmetic surgery compared to 5 per cent a decade ago, says Professor Colin Song, senior consultant of the department of plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery.

Dr Tan Ying Chien, consultant plastic surgeon at The Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre, estimates a 15 to 20 per cent increase in the last few years, while Dr Colin Tham, director of the aesthetics division at Asia Health Partners, says figures at his clinic have doubled compared to five years ago - he now sees 25 to 30 men per month.

He adds: "Men are also less likely to conceal surgery from their partners." These men are usually white-collar workers, though doctors have spotted civil servants and even students. They cut across all ages, from undergraduates asking to correct ears that stick out; professionals getting liposuction so they can shimmy into slim-fit shirts, and even older towkays looking to "fix" eyebags and droopy lids.

Like Ned, some men come with their wives for "couple surgery", says Dr Tan. "You've got the man getting liposuction to remove his moobs, while the wife's next door getting her breasts done."

Doctors say the most popular procedures for men include liposuction, rhinoplasty, upper eyelid surgery and Botox. Given how society loves rock-hard abs (who can forget that Abercrombie & Fitch ad in Orchard Road?), it's no surprise that the torso is what men focus on the most. "The biggest concerns are flabby bulges on tummies and assorted bits and bobs, followed by male boobs or moobs," says Dr Kevin Teh, medical director of Singapore Lipo, Body & Face Centre.

He says more unusual requests include men who ask for their butts to be shrunk so they can fit into their swimming trunks or to have their chests enlarged to look like breasts. There was even one "wacky fellow" who asked for the fats in his tummy to be pumped into his too-small penis. In case you're wondering, yes, technically it's possible.

But Dr Teh says that in rare cases, injecting fat into the wrong place can block blood flow, causing the penis to get infected, turn black and shrivel up. "I turned him down flat!" he says.

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