10 Tips for Safe Senior Plastic Surgery
If you’re enjoying your “golden years,” you no doubt remember the once popular slogan, “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better.” Nowadays, more seniors are taking that sentiment to heart by looking into plastic surgery. In fact, the numbers of older people seeking cosmetic surgery are increasing faster than for some other demographics.
Why are seniors opting for plastic surgery more and more often? Is it because people are living longer? As Baby Boomers, perhaps they just want more out of life? Is it due to people wanting to remain competitive in the workplace or the dating scene? Or maybe just a desire for an appearance that reflects their dedication to good health?
Yes, yes, yes and yes.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, just over 5% of the total plastic surgery procedures were performed on people 65 and over in 2010. In 2014, the figure rose to nearly 8%. Whatever their reasons may be, seniors are electing to go under the knife in larger numbers than in the past.
If you’re in your golden years and considering a cosmetic procedure, you undoubtedly have questions. Like many, you may not be thinking so much about whether it’s an appropriate move for you, but how you can ensure a safe, rewarding experience. As one of the top plastic surgery practices in New York, with three decades of delivering great results for all kinds of patients, we have some thoughts to share.
Are Seniors More at Risk During Plastic Surgery?
We agree with the position of most doctors: age itself is not the number one critical factor when it comes to plastic surgery safety. Older people can have cosmetic surgery if they are in good health, follow sensible practices and are free of serious medical issues. Minor medical concerns—such as high blood pressure—can even be handled. In fact, we have operated on many senior citizens while having to turn away younger, obese patients with related health issues.
What Steps Can You Take to Ensure Your Safety?
Even if you do consider yourself to be in tip-top shape, however, it pays to think things over carefully and take precautions if you’re a senior considering plastic surgery. Here are some must do’s:
• Be honest with yourself about your state of mind. It’s not unusual for seniors to suffer general depression. If this is the case for you, cosmetic surgery is not the answer.
• Talk over your plans with your primary care physician. Be 100% honest about any concerns you may have about your health, and schedule a complete physical including an EKG and blood work.
• Understand the impact of medications you may be taking. If you are on blood thinners, for instance, you may need to suspend usage for a short time.
• Be willing to make lifestyle changes if needed. If you smoke, you may not be a candidate for plastic surgery at all, since nicotine restricts blood flow and inhibits healing. At very least you will need to stop before and after for a time. You may also want to reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption.
• Ensure the change you’re thinking about involves reasonable surgery. Combination procedures—such as a tummy tuck and breast surgery—may be possible for younger patients, but probably not for you. You don’t want to be operated on for more than a couple of hours nor have a longer recovery prospect.
• Find a board certified plastic surgeon who has experience with older patients. Make sure you understand what certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery means and find a doctor with those credentials.
• Ensure your surgeon has privileges at an accredited hospital nearby. This buys you two things: the peace of mind that your surgeon is in good standing in the local medical community and that you can be admitted for care in case of emergency.
• Consider opting for twilight sedation instead of general anesthesia. In our cosmetic surgery practice in New York, IV sedation or twilight anesthesia is our choice for most patients—allowing for full sleep during the procedure and an easy initial recovery with no nausea, headache, sore throat or wooziness.
• Plan for recovery knowing it may take a little longer than for younger patients. You can do your part by resting, eating properly and avoiding strenuous activity too soon, but you will still need to be patient. It takes extra time to heal when you are older.
• Commit to following your plastic surgeon’s instructions. The very best way to recover as fast as possible and realize fabulous results is to do exactly what your doctor advises. If there’s any question before or after the procedure, be sure to ask.
We Invite You to Work with Us
With 30+ years in practice, located in the heart of Manhattan and with a diverse team ourselves, we are ready to help you have a great plastic surgery experience. Our staff can make arrangements to support you, whether you need simple car service or someone to assist you after the procedure.
Give us a call at 212-570-6080 and let’s talk!