Everyone has heard the saying about growing older gracefully. For most people, it simply means accepting that age is just a part of life – and accepting the things that come along with it. Things like gray hairs, laugh lines and wrinkles. For many older Americans, growing older gracefully means something else. It means fighting back the hands of time through cosmetic and other rejuvenating procedures to stay looking great. As a matter of fact, cosmetic procedures for older Americans are on the rise, according to recent statistics.
One of the most popular procedures for senior adults is the facelift. In fact, the number of facelifts performed on Americans over the age of 65 doubled between 2014 and 2015, according to the numbers from the American Society of Plastic Surgery. Blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift surgery, also increased significantly in the age group of 55 and older, with almost 98,000 procedures performed in 2015. Other popular procedures include abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck, forehead lifts, and even butt lifts. Additionally, noninvasive or minimally invasive procedures such as dermal fillers, Botox, and laser skin rejuvenation have also proved to be leading options for this demographic.
Older Americans are turning to cosmetic procedures for a few reasons, says Dr. Bill Johnson, M.D., a cosmetic physician located in Dallas, Texas. Johnson treats patients of all ages but has seen an increase in the number of patients looking to reduce the signs of aging. “Many patients are looking to reduce creases, wrinkles and other signs that may communicate their age, or may make them appear older than they actually are.” Many individuals in this stage of life are divorced or widowed, and want to regain their youthful visage in order to attract a mate, explains Johnson. “No one wants to be looked at negatively by a potential partner because they have an older appearance,” he says.
Often, there is a negative connotation with aging and looking older. The connotation can include myths about being feeble or weak, diminished mental sharpness or the inability to keep up or stay active. This stereotype often exists in the workplace. Sometimes the negative associations with aging can result in getting passed over for a promotion or, in some cases, even job loss. “Many patients are seeking cosmetic procedures in order to feel as if they are still able to compete in the workplace,” explains Johnson. This is important to many individuals because people are living longer, and need to work into their sixties or later, in order be able to provide for themselves later in life.
Cosmetic procedures are also more affordable now than they were in previous years. “Some patients are finally able to afford the procedures they may have always wanted, but put off due to cost,” says Johnson. While the cost of cosmetic procedures has certainly decreased over the years, the technology behind the procedures has definitely increased. New minimally invasive methods allow for easier recovery periods, less downtime and minimize risks to overall health, like an infection. This is especially important for older patients, but ideally, any cosmetic procedure patient should be in good health and discuss their health history with their cosmetic physician, says Johnson. “At any age, it is critical to discuss health history or underlying medical conditions with your provider – including what happened in your thirties or forties.”
Johnson offers minimally invasive cosmetic procedures to patients performed at his Dallas clinic. These procedures include tumescent liposuction, commonly called “awake” or “drive-thru” liposuction, and facial fat transfers. During the awake liposuction, the patient remains awake throughout the procedure, as anesthetizing fluid is pumped into the surgical site. The same goes for facial fat transfers, also known as FAMI, in which Johnson uses the fat taken during liposuction and injects into the face in order to reduce creases, lines and other signs of aging. By eliminating the need for general anesthesia for these procedures and others performed at Johnson’s clinic, patients recover easier, and go home the same day, eliminating costly hospital stays,” says Johnson.
Many older Americans also have gotten a green light for procedures because social climates have changed. Society accepts cosmetic procedures more readily than in years past. “There is no longer a negative stigma attached to having cosmetic work done, so many more individuals are choosing to update their look,” says Johnson.