Cosmetic Surgery for the Elderly Carries No Added Risks According to Study by Plastic Surgeons at Vanderbilt UMC

It is a commonly held notion that the elderly are not ideal candidates for cosmetic procedures, quoting the additional risks they may face due to their health conditions affecting a complete and speedy recovery. However, a new study by plastic surgeons at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (UMC) gives some interesting information supporting the cosmetic surgery possibilities for the elderly with no added risks than youngsters. The finding is that senior citizens are at no higher risk for complications from cosmetic surgery than younger patients.

The objective of the study was to find out whether there were any important differences between the outcomes of cosmetic procedures for the elderly and younger candidates. Here are the details of the study.

  • The younger candidates in the study had an average age of 39. Elderly candidates had an average age of 69 and accounted for more than 6,700 in total.
  • Procedures included in the study ranged from facelift to liposuction.
  • Only comparable complication rates were observed for both categories.
  • The only difference was that the elderly had higher rates of other health factors including diabetes and higher average body mass index.
  • For abdominoplasty, the rate of complications was 5.4 percent for the elderly compared to the slightly lower 3.9 percent for the younger group.
  • No significant difference in complications was noted even in patients above the age of 80 compared to younger patients. When the rate was 1.9 percent for younger patients, it was 2.2 percent for those over 80.
  • Other interesting data that emerged from the study – facial procedures were the most common among the elderly while breast procedures were the most common among the younger set.
  • The elderly group also had a higher rate of males – 11.3 percent compared to 6.2 percent for the younger group.

The study data underlines the possibilities of increase in trend of elderly cosmetic surgery as it is almost equally safe for them as youngsters.

The study demonstrated that patients over 65 can safely undergo cosmetic procedures with a complication rate similar to younger patients when surgery is performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. However, one should be medically fit, whether elderly or young, to experience safe and optimal results.