In his posh Beverly Hills plastic surgery clinic, renowned surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley has noticed a new trend: Plastic surgery for seniors is becoming more popular than ever thanks to older people living longer and staying healthier.
Dr. Smiley has also mentioned that cultural and economic shifts—i.e., more seniors working past their retirement age and are being more active in dating and social activities than their predecessors—may also contribute to the growing number of plastic surgery patients aged 55 years and older.
In recent years, both surgical and non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures have grown. Seniors who are not ready for facelift and other invasive methods can opt for Botox, dermal fillers, Ultherapy, and chemical peels, which have lower risk of complications and entail no or very little social downtime.
According to data released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, last year patients aged 55 years and older accounted for about 23 percent of all cosmetic surgeries, with facelift, eyelid lift, and forehead lift included on the top five list of the most commonly performed procedures for this age group.
More than 387,000 cosmetic surgeries and about 3.7 million non-surgical treatments, the vast majority of which were intended to reduce facial aging, were performed on patients aged 55 years and older in 2016.
Among non-surgical treatments, Botox injection and dermal filler were remarkably popular, with about 1.6 million and 902,000 procedures performed, respectively.
Experts believe the trend will continue in the next coming years due to the aging Baby Boomers and the growing acceptance of elective procedures. Looming job insecurities among seniors further boost such trend.
Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Smiley says the vast majority of older patients do not want to look like someone who can be passed for 20 or 30 years old.
“Most patients want to look more rejuvenated, not significantly younger. After all, the appearance of drooping brows, jowling, and deep facial wrinkles can make someone appear perennially angry or sad. Fortunately, a meticulously performed facelift can address such facial discord,” says the celebrity plastic surgeon.
One caveat of plastic surgery for seniors is that increasing age is often linked to certain medical conditions. Hence, Dr. Smiley says lab screening, blood work, and stress test are almost mandatory prior to surgery to make it reasonably safe.
Nonetheless, he says that chronological age is not the main issue during patient selection but rather the individual’s health.
“I’ve seen some people in their sixties who are much healthier than someone half their age because they adhere to good lifestyle,” he says.