Today, people are living longer, working longer and generally being more active for longer. It’s no wonder that more people are choosing to have plastic surgery at an older age. According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, people over age 55 received the second highest number of procedures in 2016. Those in the 55+ group had a total of 387,000 plastic surgeries last year. That’s up 4 percent from the year before.
As the age of patients gets older, it’s not surprising that some people might wonder if it’s possible to be too old for surgery. The answer might surprise you.
Health Matters More Than Age
During your consultation to discuss a plastic surgery procedure, your surgeon is probably not going to pay much attention to your year of birth. Instead, he is more likely to look at your overall health. Whether you want a facelift or some other type of rejuvenating procedure, your surgeon is going to focus more on how your health could raise or lower your risk for complications. He’s less likely to focus on whether you recently entered your seventh or eighth decade.
Whether you smoke or not is one thing your surgeon is likely to look at when deciding if you’re healthy enough for surgery. Smoking increases your risks for complications during and after surgery. Patients are usually told to quit smoking several weeks before a procedure. And they’re often advised to keep avoiding tobacco for weeks afterward. If you’re a smoker, your surgeon might ask you to quit. He might even recommend postponing the surgery for sometime. That can give your body plenty of time to recover from the damage caused by nicotine and the other ingredients in tobacco.
Your surgeon is also going to want to know about any health issues you have. Being older doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to have diabetes, high blood pressure or a heart condition. However, older people are more likely to have such issues, and some health problems can be hidden. That’s why your surgeon may perform a full medical exam or ask you to see your primary care doctor for a full work-up and exam before scheduling the surgery.
Other factors that can affect your health and your candidacy for plastic surgery include the following:
- Drinking alcohol in excess
- Being severely overweight
- Having a bleeding problem
Popular Plastic Surgery Procedures for Older Patients
Age might just be a number, but it also tends to influence the type of surgery a patient wants to have. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, people over the age of 55 were more likely to seek out plastic surgeries that turned back the hands of time in some way. Of the five surgeries performed most often on people over 55 in 2016, only one, liposuction, wasn’t an anti-aging surgery.
The other four most popular procedures were as follows:
- Eyelid lift – Nearly half of all eyelid lift surgeries performed in 2016 were performed on people over age 55.
- Facelift – 65 percent of facelifts in 2016 were performed on those over age 55.
- Browlift/Forehead Lift – More than half of all browlift or forehead lift procedures were done on those over 55.
- Dermabrasion – Slightly more than 40 percent of all dermabrasion procedures were performed on the over 55 set.
You Might Be Too Young for Surgery
While being older might have little to do with whether you’re a good candidate for surgery or not, it is occasionally the case that a person is too young for surgery. Whether you’re too young or not often has less to do with your overall health and more to do with whether you can benefit from a particular procedure at that point in time. For example, if you don’t have significant sagging in the lower part of the face or you don’t have much drooping in the eye area, a facelift or eyelid lift won’t help you much.
There are other options available to people who are deemed too young for surgery. Injectable fillers or Botox can help minimize early wrinkles. Laser treatments can help improve the texture and tone of your skin, reducing certain early signs of aging.
About Dr. Ran Rubinstein
Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein is a board certified plastic surgeon. He performs plastic surgery on patients of all ages at his practice in Manhattan. He can guide you through the process of choosing the plastic surgery or cosmetic procedure that best meets your needs and fulfills your goals. Dr. Rubinstein offers patients a variety of procedures, from fillers to rhinoplasty, at Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC in Newburgh, New York. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rubinstein, call 845-863-1772 today.