Plastic Surgery Safe for Elderly Patients, Study Finds

elderly coupleThe question of whether you are too old for plastic surgery has been addressed by a recent study from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Researchers found that elderly patients undergoing plastic surgery procedures were at no greater risk for complications than their younger counterparts. This is good news for senior citizens who want to maintain a youthful appearance in their later years to match their youthful energy and active lifestyles.

About the Study

Vanderbilt physicians examined records from 129,000 cosmetic surgery patients over a five-year period. Elderly patients (over the age of 65) had an average age of 69 and made up more than 6,700 of the patients in the database. Younger patients (under the age of 65) made up the rest of the database, with an average age of 39. Researchers compared the two groups to determine whether plastic surgery outcomes were different between the two groups.

Researchers found that patients under the age of 65 had an average complication rate of 1.94 percent, versus 1.84 percent for patients over 65. This similar outcome was seen despite the fact that the older patient population had a higher incidence of underlying medical conditions like diabetes and higher body mass indexes (BMIs). The only procedure that had a higher incidence of complications in the older population was a tummy tuck, with a complication rate of 5.4 percent versus 3.9 percent in the younger population.

Researchers also failed to see a significant increase in complications in patients 80 years and older. This subgroup of patients had a complication rate of 2.2 percent, compared with a complication rate of 1.9 percent in patients younger than 80.

Other Differences

In addition to studying complication rates in different age groups, researchers also examined the differences in plastic surgery trends between the two groups. They discovered that facial procedures were more common for older patients, while younger patients were more likely to choose breast enhancement procedures. The older age group also had a higher percentage of male patients – 11.3 percent versus 6.2 percent in the younger subset.

This research reinforces the idea that plastic surgery can safely benefit patients at any age. Dr. Kahlil Andrews looks at many factors to determine whether a patient is a good candidate for a plastic surgical procedure, including medical history, underlying medical conditions and a patient’s reasons for wanting plastic surgery. Any red flags that arise during the initial consultation will be addressed at length prior to a procedure, to ensure the patient’s safety during and after surgery.

If you are considering plastic surgery, Dr. Andrews can help you determine the best procedure for you. Contact Dr. Andrews Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery at 319-800-6877.

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