In the year that has seen the likes of Liam Neeson, Tom Cruise and Sean Penn all reveal their toned torsos, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of male patients in their fifties and sixties seeking cosmetic treatment in order to achieve a more defined, muscular physique at a later stage in life.
One such man is 54-year-old Donovan Nelson, who has undergone laser liposuction and pec implants to keep up with his 33-year-old wife. Donovan from Braintree, Essex, was once in very good shape – exercising regularly and eating healthily – but nevertheless he struggled to maintain a body that was toned and muscular through exercise alone.
Honed to perfection: 54-year-old Donovan underwent a new type of lipo so that he could keep up with his 33-year-old girlfriend
Maintenance: Donovan struggled to maintain a lifestyle that was active enough to give him the body he wanted alongside his younger wife
Dr Comins targets the underlying fat during the procedure and suctions it out around the musculature to create a more defined, finished result. Speaking to MailOnline, Donovan said: "You can only go so far with exercise and at my age it's much harder to keep the weight off. I do a lot of cardio but it's hard to shift the fat in certain areas, especially after a certain age. The good thing about this treatment is it's targeted weight loss off the area you want to lose it from. I had love handles and fat below my pecs and I wanted to get rid of it." He underwent the treatment six months ago and it set him back £10,000 but he maintains that it was worth every penny.
Before and after: The candid photographs show the before (L) and after (R) effects of the £10,000 treatment
He said: "Now I feel so much more confident and I love walking around without my top on. I like to go to Ibiza every summer for a few days and dance with my top off - being over 50 it's hard to dance around with your top off unless you're in good shape. I would say to other men, try and get in shape through exercise first, but if that doesn't work then perhaps surgery is a better option. Also, the amount it costs is a good incentive to keep it off."
Staying in shape: Donovan maintains his great shape with Muy Thai boxing and weight training 4-5 times each week
He said: "I do get told I look very young for my age. I once got stopped at passport control as the officer didn't believe it was me, because of my age." He also had a pec implant a few years ago and is keen to have more treatment on his lower abdomen next as he wants more definition there. And it seems that Donovan isn't alone in his quest for more definition. The number of men above the age of 50 who have undergone the non-surgical alternative to liposuction at The Private Clinic of Harley Street has increased by more than 110 per cent in the past two years. Now, almost 20 per cent of the total number of men who undergo VASER at the clinic are above the age of 50.
Confidence: He says he feels so much more confident with his new shape and loves taking his shirt off in Ibiza
Experts have put this increase down to a more open attitude to cosmetic surgery amongst men, together with the presence of older males in the public eye - from heads of industry and politicians to actors and musicians - who are today being photographed looking fit and well later in life. Dr Mike Comins, cosmetic doctor at The Private Clinic, who has performed more VASER treatments than any other practitioner in the UK, said: "Some four-five years ago the average age of a patient who came to me expressing an interest in such treatment was around 30 years old. At that time it was incredibly rare for men in their 50s and 60s to seek the treatment. Now a considerable proportion of the males I treat are 50 or older, which demonstrates a dramatic change in attitude towards cosmetic treatment."
Not alone: Donovan isn't alone is his quest for greater abs, the Private Clinic have been a 110 per cent surge in men seeking the treatment
"There are a number of reasons I would attribute to the rise in numbers. A lot of the men I treat have exercised regularly and maintained a healthy diet their whole lives in order to remain in shape. When these men reach their mid fifties and their metabolism begins to slow, they struggle to maintain that physique but they are not prepared to give up the body that they desire. I’m also increasingly aware that captains of industry are taking a much greater interest in their general health, fitness and physical appearance. The image of a senior male figure in business today is very different to what it was some 10-15 years ago."
Trim and toned: With age, Donovan, who owns his own marketing company, couldn't maintain his physique so this was perfect for him
"Gone are the days where men can afford not to care about the way they look and their physical health and fitness. Now these men are in the public eye and they care a great deal about looking and feeling fit and healthy beyond the age of fifty. For these individuals, treatments like VASER can go hand in hand with regular exercise, to help ensure that they look and feel fitter and younger. It is also far more suitable for these patients than traditional liposuction because it involves very little downtime, allowing the patient to get back to their day to day working routine almost immediately."