Older people are not often thought of as trendsetters, but a recent study shows they’re putting a new sparkle on those so-called Golden Years, through plastic surgery.
The study, released recently at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® (ASPS) in Chicago, found that more elderly men and women in the United States are having plastic surgery and, more importantly, that their surgeries are just as safe as those performed on younger patients.
As a plastic surgeon who routinely works with senior patients in Albany, I am happy to report this news. That’s because cosmetic enhancement among this group, whether in the form of facelift, tummy tuck, or breast lift surgery, is perhaps the most rewarding among all ages.
Often, it’s the senior patients who could use a boost in confidence the most. It has been longer than they care to admit since they last invested in their appearance and overall happiness. Or maybe, like many people, they spent decades raising families and saving to put their children through college and just couldn’t afford to spend a little time and money on themselves until now.
Take, for example, one patient of mine who was nearing retirement age but felt much younger on the inside. In her kind testimonial, she wrote:
“I had turned 62, and looked 62, but my heart and brain felt I was 50. My question for myself was do I gracefully evolve into my senior years or do I try to make my appearance more in line with my spirit and the age I feel. I scheduled a consultation with Dr. Hargrave and explained what I wanted. He explained what he could do and we scheduled surgery. Dr. Hargrave performed an eye lid procedure and a facelift. Now, a year later, I look like I did ten or twelve years ago! I don’t look like a younger stranger; I look like a younger me. My friends tell me I look like I’ve turned back the hands of time! I am now more energized and more self-confident. It has been a game changer in how I view myself and my world.”
In the ASPS study, researchers found a “statistically insignificant” difference in the rates of postoperative complications for elderly patients (with a mean age of 69) and younger patients (mean age of 39). Researchers noted that the similar complication rate between the young and elderly (1.84% and 1.94%, respectively) occurred even though younger patients were often healthier overall.
I hope this new information gives you a bit of perspective on aging and on plastic surgery. Remember, you don’t have to be young to be young at heart.