There is often a misconception that the elderly do not opt for cosmetic surgery as a means to enhance their physical appearance. However, over 80,000 cosmetic surgery procedures were performed on American patients older than 65 years in 2010. In fact the number of seniors undergoing cosmetic surgery has been steadily increasing year on year. There are both pros and cons in considering cosmetic surgery in the senior years and it should be a carefully though out decision. Medical advice from reputable professionals is always necessary before undertaking any procedure and the input of the family doctor is equally important.
The reasons for undergoing cosmetic surgery in the senior years are not significantly different than it is for younger adults. Cosmetic surgery is motivated by a person’s displeasure with some physical aspect and the desire to correct or enhance it. Considering cosmetic surgery is not so much of a physical matter but rather a psychological issue, it is largely considered to be a non-essential treatment. This simply means that it is not a matter of life or death but rather a personal choice.
Age-related changes to the body, particularly to face, can be minimized or even ‘undone’ to some extent with cosmetic surgery. Almost no other modern medical treatment option can offer the same results in as short a time as does cosmetic surgery. However, cosmetic surgery is not the ‘cure all’ to undo the effects of aging. It has its limitations and in the elderly in particular, the results are often not as long lived as may be the case in younger patients.
Nevertheless, cosmetic surgery may be more feasible in the senior years. The elderly may be in a better position to pay for often costly cosmetic procedures as their financial commitments ease in the senior years. With retirement payouts, freehold properties with savings on mortgage payments and extra time on their hands, cosmetic surgery may be more viable in the senior years. Irrespective of these benefits, it is a matter of what the individual desires and age should not be an issue if the person is healthy.
There are some dangers with considering cosmetic surgery in the senior years that is more often related to a person’s health status than age. The elderly are more likely to suffer with chronic conditions like diabetes mellitus and hypertension (high blood pressure) that can increase the chances of complications during and after surgery. With some diseases, surgery is contraindicated outright and even essential surgery has to be reconsidered or done with greater care.
However, a senior who is in a good state of health may not need to be concerned with these dangers. The average age for some procedures in American seniors is well into the 70s yet complications are minimal. There may be some risk associated with slower healing time in seniors but with proper post-operative management it may not be a cause for serious concern. Each case is different though, and the individual set of circumstances will determine the viability and safety as well as the skill of the surgeon.
There will always be a debate regarding cosmetic surgery, irrespective of a person’s age. However, there is also the added component of attempting to undo age-related cosmetic changes which are inadvertently going to return and worsen with time. Nevertheless, cosmetic surgery is a personal choice, which should be made after consulting with medical professionals. If a senior desires the procedure, can afford it without straining their future budget or inconveniencing others, and is in a suitable state of health to undergo surgery, then there is no reason why it is not suitable for the older patient. It may not be an option or preference for every senior but neither is it for younger adults who are concerned about physical ‘imperfections’.
It is always advisable that a senior consult with their family doctor before considering cosmetic surgery. Certain pre-existing ailments may mean that surgery can be a risky undertaking and is best avoided since it is a non-essential procedure. Never opt for cheaper cosmetic surgery in other countries as part of a medical tourism package. The elderly need greater care and attention and should therefore be in the presence of medical staff in their home country. The contribution and supervision of the family doctor who is familiar with the senior’s medical history is crucial. With these factors in mind, cosmetic surgery can be both a safe, viable and rewarding experience for seniors.