TODAY | April 15, 2011
>>> plastic surgery has long been considered a woman's domain, but last year men accounted for more than 1 million cosmetic procedures. what's driving them to go under the knife? here's nbc's mara schiavocampo.
>> reporter: when it comes to staying in shape, 43-year-old steve does everything right -- running marathons and eating smart. despite his diligence he wasn't happy with the man in the mirror and the love handles reflecting back.
>> if someone's working out all the time, making the effort and they still can't get the results they want you can accept it or get some help.
>> reporter: he opted more help. two and a half years ago he got liposuction around the mid section, shedding several inches and two pants sizes. he paid $15,000 for the procedure but gained so much more.
>> it makes you feel a little more healthy, stronger and confident although i know it sounds vain to do it. but it made me happy.
>> reporter: he's part of a growing boys club . men underwent more than 1. 1 million cosmetic procedures last year. the highest number since 2005 . the fastest growing surgeries, facelifts up 14%. liposuction up 7%. breast reductions up 6. men aren't just going under the knife. they are also facing the needle, the most popular procedures, quick, cheap, nonsurgical tweaks.
>> like laser hair removal and chemical peels and the king of them all, botox, by far the most popular of all cosmetic procedures for men.
>> it will be a little stick right here.
>> reporter: dr. norman rose says 20% of his patients are male.
>> the saying that men age gracefully is well and fine, but men are saying, why? why do i have to age gracefully? why can't i try to remain youthful-looking?
>> reporter: dr. rose says his patients come from all walks of life. from lawyers to mechanics to men in their 50s.
>> makes you feel good?
>> reporter: to those still in their 20s.
>> i'm turning 30 in june.
>> reporter: hoping to beat mother nature to the punch.
>> i'm a strong believer in preventative measures. don't wait until the problem is there to fix it.
>> reporter: the fix isn't cheap. this set of facial injections costs $2,400. but doctors say men are willing to pay to get the beauty benefits long enjoyed by women.
>> it will continue to grow. the stigma is falling by the wayside. the walls are crumbling.
>> reporter: clearing the way for a growing group of men who want to look as good as they feel. for "today," mara schiavocampo, nbc news, new york.
>> here to talk more about men and plastic surgery are psychiatrist dr. joshua winer and donny deutsch . for years there's been a term distinguished gray which is a compliment. why now are guys thinking, i have to do something about this?
>> you know, i think there is the distinguished gray thing. it's a small minority and i will disagree with the doctor in the piece. i'm curious about that. there is a stigma. i have yet to hear a man talk about having any procedures done. while women will say, oh, i did this. and it's accepted. men are doing it, but i think there is a stigma to a man not in terms of what he does to his body, exercising, staying young but having a procedure done. do what makes you feel good but we have a long way to go.
>> you like to work out, take care of yourself.
>> people ask if you have had work done.
>> i was telling a producer i lost weight. friends of mine said, donny got work done. made my skin crawl. i think there is a double standard for men. whatever works for you, but i think most men publically would have an issue coming out publically saying i have had work done.
>> what do you think, doctor?
>> the way you look has an impact on the way people treat you. this society values beauty and there are benefits that come with looking good. studies show people who are more attractive are viewed as smarter, social, more likely to get a job, make more money.
>> the list of top procedures -- nose, eyelids, lipo, breast reduction , hair transplants. that would suggest men are becoming as body conscious.
>> looks matter in our society. as someone who's hired hundreds of people, you hire on performance but someone's overall attitude, vitality matter. but if i were interviewing a guy and it looked like he'd had work done i would go, hm. is there insecurity there? i'm contradicting myself because women can look like they have had work done and there is no problem. i would hire somebody with wrinkles but acted vital versus somebody with a face like this not acting vital. for me it's performance and how you act.
>> if a man has had it, how willing are they to talk about it? if i had work would i tell you or would i tell a woman first?
>> probably nobody. i think maybe you would tell a woman. but if you were to tell somebody, i think that right now men still perceive it as a stigma. it's viewed as not macho, something reserved for women. i do see a generational shift. it wouldn't surprise me if in 10, 15, 20 years men are more comfortable with it.
>> we are seeing a blur. if you go to skin care on television you see dove for men. you never would have seen this years ago. we are seeing the evolution. but the big picture and i will put men and women together. i don't know where, as a society, we start to celebrate this look, why it's better than wrinkles. i don't know why that's being sold to men or women. i don't get it.
>> what do you think?
>> i have a little thing here.
>> we'll get back after your local news.