Plastic surgery on the rise among seniors

September 9, 2011

Plastic surgery on the rise among seniors
Plastic surgery on the rise among seniors

Recent statistics show that plastic surgery is becoming more accepted, especially among those over the age of 65.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's (ASAPS) Consumer Attitude Survey 2010, 67 percent of Americans say they would not be embarrassed if their friends and family knew that they had cosmetic surgery.

Many seniors are even more comfortable with an occasional nip and tuck, according to the survey. It found that 77 percent of those over the age of 65 would be willing and open about undergoing cosmetic procedures.

Statistics show that these older Americans are not just talking about their feelings toward plastic surgery. The number of procedures performed on those over the age of 65 has increased in recent years. In 2009, 676,930 of those in their so-called golden years underwent both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures. In 2010, that number increased to 684,768.

"People say, just because my life age is 84, doesn't mean I have to be happy or content looking 80," a New York-based plastic surgeon recently told ABC News. "The whole population is getting older. People in their 40s and 50s are now in their 60s and 70s getting things done. Americans are aging and their length of life is increasing."

The most common surgical procedures among the 65-and-older set last year included facelifts, eyelid surgery and liposuction. However, other surgeries that are common among younger patients, such as breast augmentations and breast lifts, are gaining popularity with older Americans as well.

An 83-year-old California woman, Marie Kolstad, recently underwent a breast lift and got breast implants as well. She told the New York Times that at her age "your breasts go in one direction and your brain goes in another."

"Physically, I'm in good health, and I just feel like, why not take advantage of it," Kolstad told the newspaper. "My mother lived a long time, and I'm just taking it for granted that that will happen to me. And I want my children to be proud of what I look like."

The three-hour surgery was a success, and experts say many of the procedures undergone by older individuals are as well. In fact, the New York Times reports that a study done by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in June suggests that the risk of surgical complications is no greater for those over the age of 65 than it is for younger patients.

However, experts say it's important for patients, especially older ones, to be aware of potential complications and the fact that advanced age may mean that recovery will take a little longer than usual.

Some plastic surgeons may require medical clearance from another doctor before performing cosmetic procedures and say it's imperative that those who want to go under the knife for aesthetic reasons should be honest about their medical history.

"This is not like getting your hair done, and there are potential risks and complications," a New York-based plastic surgeon told CBS News.  


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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