Study Assesses Safety of Cosmetic Surgery for Older Adults

Cosmetic SurgeryAn increasing number of seniors are undergoing cosmetic surgery to rejuvenate their appearance and enhance their self-confidence. However, there are concerns about post-operative complications and how having aesthetic surgery will affect their health. A study conducted to assess whether it is safe for seniors to have cosmetic surgical procedures found that when compared to younger patients, the risks are not significantly higher for older patients.

The researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Alabama, Birmingham compared the frequency of postoperative complications in elective cosmetic surgery patients 65 and older with those in younger patients. About 183,914 cosmetic surgical procedures were reviewed using the prospectively enrolled group of patients in the CosmetAssure database.

The patient cohort included a total of 6,786 elderly (65 and older) patients. The mean age of the elderly group was 69.1 and that of younger candidates was 39.2 years. When compared to the younger patient group, the other group had more men, a higher mean body mass index, a greater incidence of diabetes mellitus and fewer smokers. A subgroup of patients 80 and older (the octogenarian group) were considered for a separate analysis for postoperative complications.

The findings of the study which were published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal in April 2015 are as follows:

  • Among the elderly patients, Up to 62.9 percent had facial procedures while the corresponding percentage for their younger counterparts was just 12 percent.
  • The overall postoperative complication rate was not significantly different between the two groups.
  • Taking the cosmetic procedures performed, the postoperative complication rate was higher among seniors for abdominoplasty. Complications included hematoma, infection and problems with the healing of wounds.
  • The octogenarian group had an overall complication rate of 2.2% which was not considerably different from the younger group.

The researchers concluded, “Cosmetic procedures in elderly patients, including octogenarians, remain safe with an acceptable complication rate compared to younger patients.”

Consulting an experienced cosmetic surgeon is extremely crucial for older people considering aesthetic procedures. Seniors need to be carefully evaluated to ensure that they are in good health to reduce the risk of post-surgical complications and to promote faster recovery. The plastic surgeon would also need to make sure that older patients fully understand the implications of surgery, and that they have realistic expectations. Some patients may need counseling. Nevertheless, with the advancements in technology, cosmetic surgery which is typically skin deep, has become safer and more effective than ever before. With an experienced and knowledgeable surgeon, seniors can expect customized cosmetic surgical procedures to meet their unique goals.