As the baby-boom generation ages, we’re seeing an increasing number of older patients come in for cosmetic surgeries such as anti-aging facial procedures and even liposuction and breast augmentation at my New Jersey practice. One of the common concerns they express during their consultations is whether there’s a greater chance to have complications during or after surgery because of their age.
That actually was the subject of a study presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® (ASPS) that I attended in October. The results are reassuring for patients 65 and older who elect to get plastic surgery. Researchers who conducted the study reviewed information from May 2008 to May 2013 and concluded that the rate of postoperative complications among elderly patients was “statistically insignificant” when compared with younger patients.
This didn’t surprise me, based on my years of experience with older cosmetic surgery patients. Successful outcomes really have more to do with getting guidance from a board-certified plastic surgeon prior to the operation. A thorough physical examination is important for prospective surgical patients at any age because good overall health is one of the primary factors related to low rates of postsurgical complications.
Although certain factors such as anesthesia may affect older patients, the researchers found that the complication rate is similar to younger patients even when older patients have a medical condition, such as diabetes, or have a higher body mass index — as long as the surgery is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon.
The study’s message is clear: Getting older shouldn’t discourage men and women from pursuing cosmetic procedures that they want. The key is simply to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon who puts safety first.