A recent study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville TN, concluded that older patients are at no higher risk for complications from cosmetic surgery than younger patients.
Should older patients consider cosmetic surgery?
Over a five-year period, doctors analyzed data from 129,000 cosmetic surgery patients, including 6,700 with an average age of 69; 180 of these older patients were in their 80s. (Note: The younger patients had an average age of 39.)
Among the procedures studied, which ranged from facelift to liposuction, only one, abdominoplasty—better known as the tummy tuck—showed a statistically significant higher rate of complications for the older patients (5.4 percent vs. 3.9 percent). The rate of serious complications from all other cosmetic surgery was 1.94 percent for older patients, compared to 1.84 percent for the younger group—low in general and not statistically significant. This is impressive, considering that the older group had higher rates of negative health factors such as diabetes and higher average body mass index.
Kinds of surgery chosen
Among the older patients, facial procedures were the most common. (The younger set was more interested in breast enhancement.)
The number of older patients seeking cosmetic surgery is likely to continue to rise as the population ages. It is therefore good to know that cosmetic surgery can be a relatively safe procedure, equally so for both the young and the older patient.
Important safety tip
Before undergoing any cosmetic procedure, surgical or otherwise, you should consult your primary doctor regarding its possible effect on your personal health circumstances--especially if sedation or general anesthesia will be used.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Amy Wolthoff, dermatologist.