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Summary: According to the Mayo Clinic, a growing number of older adults are choosing to undergo cosmetic surgery.  We see this trend in our practice as well: more seniors are consulting us about plastic surgery in New York City than ever before.  And, like the Mayo Clinic, we expect the numbers to grow as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age and “going under the knife” for cosmetic improvement becomes ever more commonplace.

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Older adults have a variety of reasons for seeking plastic surgery.  Often, our patients cite goals related to their careers.  Sometimes people feel they need a procedure to remain competitive in the workplace as they age, but many others simply want to look their best as they continue to enjoy their professional lives.

Rather than a specific reason for choosing a rejuvenation procedure, however, many seniors seek plastic surgery for a more general “quality of life” reason.  An article published two years ago in the Wall Street Journal highlighted this motivation.  The article quoted patients, plastic surgeons and researchers who discussed the fact that people are living longer and simply want to get the most enjoyment possible out of their later years.

When older adults consult us about plastic surgery in New York City, the first thing we tell them is that age itself is not a reason to hesitate.  When it comes to safety and the prospects for a good result, overall good health is more important than the year on a birth certificate.

With that in mind, here are some things to know if you’re a senior considering plastic surgery:

  • It’s vital to get the green light for elective surgery from your primary care physician.  You will need to undergo some basic tests to ensure indicators of good health are on target.
  • If you have a health condition that requires you to see a specialist, you may still be a good candidate for cosmetic surgery with some extra accommodation.  For instance, you may need additional medical staff on hand for your procedure.  This can raise the cost of surgery.
  • For older patients, healing can take a little more time.  You can prepare for this to some degree—by ensuring you get plenty of protein in your diet, for one thing.  You’ll also want to follow your doctor’s recommendations to the letter.
  • General anesthesia, while considered very safe today, carries a small additional risk for older patients.  You may want to investigate practices such as ours where intravenous or “twilight” sedation is the rule for nearly every procedure.

When it comes to considering cosmetic surgery goals, there’s one key to satisfaction that’s the same for patients young and old: realistic expectations.  A procedure for the face, breast or body can no more ensure a widow is ready to get back into dating than it can find someone in their 20’s a romantic partner.  Plastic surgery can, however, help improve body image, confidence and general contentment with life—at any age.

 

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