PSC Roundtable

Older Patients and Their Desires for Plastic Surgery

Older Patients and Their Desires for Plastic Surgery

The allure of cosmetic rejuvenation with plastic surgery is no longer constrained by age. Older patients show as much interest in cosmetic procedures as do the rest of the population. And while this previously may have caused surgeons to be hesitant due to the risks involved with surgery, attitudes, and lifestyles, have shifted. Older patients, so long as they’re healthy, have every right to any procedure they deem ideal.

Board certified plastic surgeons discuss this trend and how older patients are guided in the plastic surgery process.

Age is “Irrelevant”

There are two things worth noting when it comes to older patients and modern plastic surgery:

  1. There is a growing, if not already huge, trend in older patients seeking rejuvenation
  2. So long as the patient is healthy, age is almost entirely irrelevant

“It’s a huge trend; I’d say the majority of patients I see are in this category,” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Cooper. “Age has nothing to do with anything. I almost avoid the topic and conversation about chronological age entirely when I’m talking to these patients. They just want to look better.”

Dr. Cooper speaks to a broader trend in modern life, one centered on health through diet, exercise, and better living. This trend doesn’t stop when someone becomes “old.” In fact, many in the older generations are embracing this lifestyle fully, meaning that they are feeling much younger than their exteriors may otherwise show.

Older patients and cosmetic surgery.

For these reasons, older patients are aplenty in plastic surgery. Considering that this older generation is more or less healthier than previous older generations, their resistance to the risks of surgery is greater. This allows surgical procedures to take place safely and effectively in patients in their 60s, 70s, and sometimes even 80s.

“I think all of us are seeing more of these gals,” explains Dr. Bruce Van Natta, a board certified plastic surgeon in Indianapolis. “There’s been a generational shift in terms of attitudes. There’s some things you can do something about, some you can’t – as long as they’re healthy, that’s the key. I don’t care how old they are but they’ve got to be healthy, and that’s part of our job to make that assessment.”

Modern Health and Exercise Trends Keep Old People Young

Perhaps in no other period in human history has health and exercise been this important. With a backbone of empirical evidence and research, the tactics employed to obtain the best nutrition, as well as participate in increasingly science-based exercise, have never been better, nor more available. Patients who work hard with their nutrition and exercise lead longer, healthier lives, even if their exteriors may not always show it off.

“I have tons of older patients. They come in and they look amazing,” says Dr. John Diaz, a board certified plastic surgeon who sees many of these types of patients in Beverly Hills. “They’re working out, they’re super fit – they’re fitter than I am! – and they want their faces to look like their bodies.”

It’s a rather simple concept that has leapfrogged the prior importance of age. When before age may have represented a good guess at health, the modern, health-conscious lifestyle is upending that metric. There are men and women in their 60s who maybe be in better shape than someone in their 40s! Why can’t they, too, have the same cosmetic procedures to look how they feel inside?

Older patients want to look good, too.

“I recently had a patient come in in her 70’s, she’d been a professional dancer, and she came in for breast reduction,” shares Dr. Pat McGuire, a board certified plastic surgeon in St. Louis. “At the end of the consultation, she said, ‘You know what? What about liposuction? Could I have liposuction at my age?’ When she came back in, I walked into the room and she had tears in her eyes. She said, ‘I feel like I have my dancer’s body back.’ She really feels good about herself, and you could tell by how she looked.”

This kind of experience can be seen across numerous plastic surgery practices. Older patients, healthier than the generation that preceded them, are curious about cosmetic procedures and wanting to look a bit more youthful, even at an older age. Again, so long as they’re healthy, and find and trust a board certified, experienced plastic surgeon, the sky is the limit.

“Age is not what it was a generation ago, and it’s certainly not a disqualifier for cosmetic surgery,” says Dr. Cooper. “Maybe a generation ago, we would have thought, ‘You know what, this person really shouldn’t do any surgery, it’s too risky, they’re really not a good candidate.’ I just don’t feel that way now. I think the patients are much happier, they happen to look great, and they’re some of our happiest patients.”

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