The popularity of all forms of cosmetic surgery is growing and it spans all ages from teenagers to senior citizens for a wide variety of procedures. Age knows no limits when it comes to self-improvement and the desire to look as good as physically possible. While younger patients do inquire as to the safety of certain cosmetic surgery procedures, that very question becomes much more relevant in older patients who may more ailments and medical problems. Even when very healthy older patients naturally ask if their age places them at greater risk for complications.
In the September 2015 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal an article on this topic appeared entitled ‘Safety of Cosmetic Procedures in Elderly and Octogenarian Patients’. To evaluate the incidence of complications from elective aesthetic surgery in patients over age 65 (so called ‘elderly’), the authors looked at a data base of over 180,000 patients from the company CosmetAssure’s data base. Postoperative complications in elderly and younger patient groups were compared with a separate. analysis of postoperative complications in patients over 80 years old. From this database just over 6,700 patients over 65 years old were identified with an average age of 69 years old and with a higher number of men with higher body mass indexs.
They found that the postoperative complication rates was not higher than that of younger patients.When looking at the type of cosmetic procedure, only a tummy tuck had greater complication rates in older patients.The most common postoperative complications in older patients were infection and bleeding. (hematoma) Also the octogenarian patients had a complication rate of around 2% which was not different than that of any other age group.
As the U.S. population grows an older number of cosmetic surgery patients have come forth more than ever before. The first question that both plastic surgeon and patient alike ask at older ages is…is having this operation safe? Is the patient at increased risk because the patient is older? It is the plastic surgeon’s perception and experience that this is not so. This study supports that belief using data from a company that knows complications from having to insure against them and pay for them if they should occur.
Dr. Barry Eppley