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When performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon, plastic surgery can yield life-changing results. Surgical intervention can help to reduce the visible signs of aging, providing you with a refreshed and rejuvenated physical appearance. As such, plastic surgery is a popular option among adults of all ages.

This is true even of older patients, who are often especially concerned with addressing the visible signs of age. The question is, are older patients eligible for safe, successful procedures? Or does their age place them in a higher category of surgical risk?

What Studies Say

Naturally, this is a question that many plastic surgeons have wrestled with in the past, meaning that there is a body of evidence regarding the surgical risks experienced by older adults.

One report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons outlines some encouraging insight. According to this report, “Older men and women who choose to undergo cosmetic procedures remain safe and have complications at a rate no different than their younger counterparts.”

More specifically, the report notes that patients who are over the age of 65 can pursue plastic surgery without experiencing any higher rate of risk or complication than patients who are younger.

The American Academy of Dermatology arrives at a similar conclusion, noting that patients 65 and older do not face higher risks than other patients who seek plastic surgery, with one exception. According to their findings, older patients do see higher risks associated with the tummy tuck procedure, in particular.

The AAD report goes as far as to say that older plastic surgery patients tend to be in better health than their younger counterparts. Often, they are closer to their ideal body weight, and they are also less likely to be smokers.


Ensuring Your Safety

The bottom line is that plastic surgery can be performed safely on patients who are in their late 60s, their 70s, even in their 80s. However, the safety of older patients, as with younger patients, depends on a few factors:

  • Be sure to choose the right surgeon. Specifically, choose a surgeon who is board-certified in plastic surgery. This is the best thing you can do to verify that your surgeon has the skill and experience needed to keep you safe, and to control your surgical risk. Additionally, surgeons who are more experienced will be better-suited to address any problems that do arise.
  • Schedule an appointment for a consultation. A consultation allows your surgeon to verify that you are a good candidate for a safe, relatively low-risk procedure. During this appointment, the surgeon will perform a physical examination, ask some questions about your medical history, and explain the details of the procedure. This appointment is also a great opportunity for you to ask any questions or raise any concerns about the procedure.
  • Choose the right procedure. It is also important to follow your surgeon’s guidance regarding the type of procedure you want. Older patients are most often interested in facelifts or other treatments to address facial aging. Your surgeon can advise you on the approach that will be the safest and most in line with your aesthetic goals.
  • Follow all aftercare instructions. After your surgery, you will be discharged with a detailed set of post-operative instructions. These instructions may touch on subjects such as what you can eat, when you can resume physical activity, and how you should care for your wounds. Following these instructions is crucial for minimizing post-operative risks.

Schedule a Consultation with J. Hopkins Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is generally just as safe for older patients as it is for their younger counterparts. No matter your age, the first step in the process is having a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hopkins, contact our office at your next opportunity.