Highly educated men, aged 30 to 60 years holding or gunning for executive positions in their organisations, are the ones paying for cosmetic surgery.
Whereas aesthetic surgery for a long time has largely been affiliated with women, Kenyan men are now going under the scalpel, and parting with a fortune in the process in a bid to have that perfect body.
As a result of plastic surgery boom in Kenya top specialists from Europe and the US are setting up their clinics in the city to tap into the Kenyan men’s insecurities and genuine medical need.
Dr Pushpa Sachdeva, a cosmetic dentist at Ace Dental Care clinic in Nairobi, says that currently, the ratio of men to women seeking cosmetic dentistry is balanced .
“Both men and women rate smiles and teeth as the second most important attractive feature after eyes
This consciousness has pushed more men to seek dental surgeries to improve their smile by correcting gaps between teeth, discolouration and crooked teeth,” Dr Sachdeva told a local business daily.
Dr Ashraf Emarah, a consultant plastic surgeon at SVG Healthcare that owns Apple + Sense Clinic in Nairobi, agrees.
“The number of Kenyan men coming for different types of cosmetic surgeries is increasing and that’s quite normal. It is the trend worldwide,” Dr Emarah says.
Bleaching, composite veneers, ceramic veneers, crowns and invisible braces are some of the common cosmetic dental procedures sought by men, according to Dr Sachdeva.
“Surprisingly enough, more and more men are requesting for Botox injections for wrinkles. There is also an increase in the number of men asking for cosmetic surgeries after weight reducing surgeries’’ Dr Emarah adds.
Others are depigmentation of gums, removing black spots or patches with laser treatment, and alignment of gums.
According to Dr Tilman Stasch, a plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon at Valentis Clinic in Nairobi, body sculpting for cosmetic reasons in Kenya accounts for 70 per cent of all the procedures in this field.
“The most popular procedures among Kenyan men is reducing enlarged breasts, removal of belly fat, bariatric surgery, a procedure that leads to weight loss, upper eyelid lift and scar revision,” he says.
Only 30 per cent of his clients seek corrective and reconstructive surgery.
These plastic procedure however, don’t come cheap and one need to fork out anything between Sh500,000 – Sh1000,0000 ($100,000).
“I paid Sh490,000 ($4,900) for butt liposuction and pec implant. I was slightly backpedalled financially, but the procedure has completely transformed both my social and professional life. I would do it again and again,” one man who sought anonymity after going under the knife last year revealed.
Contrarily to what most people may expect, it is not only toy boys and rich fat kids that go under the knife, rather it is highly educated, aged 30 to 60 years and holding or gunning for executive positions in their organisations, that pay for cosmetic surgery.
“Most of the men looking for cosmetic dentistry surgery are those holding occupations that involve many social interactions such as high-level socialites, media personalities, actors and generally people who care about their appearance and oral health,” Dr Sachdeva.
The motivation to seek cosmetic surgery among Kenyan men, the doctors say, range from genuine need to fix body deformities, to sprucing up one’s physique.
“Some patients want to change their looks to solve a broken relationship. Others want to look like celebrities. Yet others ask for operations that are disproportionate,” Dr Stasch says.
While the need for cosmetic surgery might not be obvious to a bystander, this is usually a deep-seated personal concern that affects the patient emotionally.
“My sagging belly and irregular frame were embarrassing me. My two daughters would complain all the time. Working out and weight-loss pills were both ineffective. It was tough to pay such money for the procedure, especially because I didn’t have any health complications. But I feel confident now,” another man who parted with Sh560,000 for a package that included belly fat removal, calf enhancement and neck lipo sculpture said.