More seniors seek out plastic surgery

Additional risks and concerns for this age group


Barbara Del Giudice, 73, likes the idea of aging gracefully, she just doesn't like the way it looks.

"I wanted to have my eyes done because I thought that would start me and I would look more relaxed," she said.

But when Del Giudice learned her surgeon would have to turn off her defibrillator during the procedure, she backed out.

"Even though they told me there was no risk, I was afraid," Del Giudice said.

A recent survey found that 77 percent of Americans over the age of 65 would consider plastic surgery but not all are good candidates.

Conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure increase with age and increase the risks of surgery.

Older patients are also more likely to have complications from anesthesia and may not heal as quickly, which increases the risk for post-operative infection.

"Older patients also have different considerations due to their skin type and texture," said plastic surgeon Dr. Jorge Perez.

"As some people age their skin thickens in some areas and thins in others. Lines and wrinkles and sun damage are more pronounced. All of this means is the older patient needs to be much more realistic to the limitations of cosmetic procedures."

Perez said patients need to be carefully screened for the proper procedure.

"The so-called 'lunchtime' procedures are not recommended.

"They generally need more comprehensive work," said Perez. "Things like neck lift, eye lid surgery and and things that a lunchtime facelift are not going to accomplish.

When properly chosen, Perez said older patients do very well and are usually the most happy with the outcome.

"They adhere very well to post-operative guidelines and are typically the most satisfied with the results," he said.

Susanne McCoy, 63, fits into the group. After a successful tummy tuck she turned to Perez for a face lift.

"I'm active, I enjoy being engaged and involved and I wanted my outward appearance to match that inner view. Now it does," she said.