Interest in plastic surgery is on the rise — particularly among adults over the age 55 — according to data released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. However, along with the increased popularity in plastic surgery among seniors comes the question: Is plastic surgery safe for older patients? Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Himansu Shah of Signature Institute of Aesthetic Sculpting explores the answer.
Why Seniors Are Pursuing Plastic Surgery
There are many possible reasons for the increase in the popularity of plastic surgery among adults over the age of 55. With many seniors more focused on living healthier, more active lives than previous generations did, plastic surgery can be a great way to ensure that their outward appearance properly reflects their youthful spirit and vigor.
Also, seniors are staying in the workforce longer than their parents did. Some are pursuing plastic surgery to look energized, so they can stay competitive amongst younger colleagues.
Finally, many older adults are re-entering the dating scene after divorce. These individuals may simply wish to look their best, giving them a boost of confidence as they go on first dates.
Safety of Plastic Surgery Among Seniors
There is good news for seniors pursuing plastic surgery: recent data have demonstrated that cosmetic surgery is as safe for elderly patients as it is for younger ones. Several Vanderbilt doctors recently came to this conclusion after reviewing five years’ worth of data relating to plastic surgery complications. The data was provided by CosmetAssure insurance company, and was based on claims filed across the United States.
The data demonstrated that elderly patients (with an average age of 69) suffered a 1.94-percent postoperative complication rate from plastic surgery and that younger patients (with an average age of 39) suffered a 1.84-percent postoperative complication rate. The difference in these rates is statistically negligible. In addition, patients over the age of 80 only suffered a 2.2-percent complication rate, which again is a negligible difference in comparison to rates of complications suffered by younger patients.
The only time that elderly patients experienced more complications than younger patients was following abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck” surgery). With this procedure, seniors experienced a 5.4-percent complication rate in contrast to the 3.9-percent rate among younger adults.
Health Indicators Among Elderly Patients
Interestingly, these similar complication rates occurred despite the greater presence of health-associated indicators among seniors versus younger patients. The elderly patients had a higher Body Mass Index (25.4 percent) than their younger counterparts, who had a 24.2-percent BMI. The seniors also had a 5.7-percent incidence of diabetes in contrast to a 1.6-percent incidence of the disease among younger patients.
However, not all the health-related indicators were negative. Seniors smoked less than younger patients: They smoked at a rate of 3.4 percent compared to the 8.5-percent smoking rate among the younger adults.
Most Popular Procedures Among Seniors
Perhaps one of the most significant differences between older and younger patients is the type of procedures that each age group pursues. Not surprisingly, elderly patients pursued facial rejuvenation surgery at a rate of 62.9 percent while younger patients only pursued facial cosmetic surgery at a rate of 12 percent.
Seniors Seeking Surgery
If you are a senior seeking aesthetic surgery, you can rest assured that undergoing cosmetic treatment is a safe and effective option to help you improve a cosmetic concern or simply look more youthful.
Also, for individuals who would like to enhance the results of their cosmetic surgery procedure or for those who are not yet ready to pursue surgical treatment, Signature Institute of Aesthetic Sculpting offers a wide range of nonsurgical cosmetic treatments, including Ultherapy skin-tightening treatment and Micropen and IPL facial rejuvenation treatments.