Baby Boomers & Plastic Surgery
–By Julio L. Garcia, MD FACS
People desire cosmetic procedures for a variety of reasons. For some, it is because they are looking to enhance their appearance before re-entering the dating scene; some want to look on the outside as they feel on the inside; and some just want to look better in their clothing. It is a sign that after years of spending time on work and family, they want to spend a little time and invest in themselves.
But a result of recent financially trying times, there has been a trend in baby-boomers wanting to stay competitive in the job market. In years gone by, many would’ve waited to have plastic surgery to enhance their appearance once they were retired; but now, with first impressions and the competitive nature of the job market being what they are, people are seeking cosmetic enhancements much earlier as a way to prolong their working years.
According the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, people over 55 accounted for over 25 percent of all cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2013. But there can be hurdles for the mature patient undergoing a cosmetic surgery procedure. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
The Reality Of Recovery
Some patients are concerned about bouncing back and returning to work in a reasonable amount of time, and that is a valid concern: Healing and recovery can in fact take longer in mature patients. But in most cases, if they follow instructions and discuss with their surgeon what will be expected of them, returning to employment in an appropriate amount of time can be planned for.
It’s The Money, Honey
A hurdle for some people on a fixed income is that their desired elective procedure will eat into their nest egg. This is important when deciding the best plan of action to achieve one’s desired cosmetic result. Although non-invasive options can appear less expensive, in the long run (and if enough of them are needed), their cost can add up to almost the cost of a surgical procedure.
It must be understood that both surgical and non-surgical options are good, and that fillers and non-invasive procedures do not replace surgery (and, vice versa). For that reason, you should discuss your desires with your plastic surgeon as well as your short- and long-term goals. Some patients find that a surgical procedure is the most economical in the long run, with only small amounts of fillers to maintain the appearance as they age being the best option. But a frank discussion with the surgeon is required for plans and decisions to be made in the best interest of your wallet, and your body.
More Than Just A Pretty Face
Although most people think that the mature patients seek only improvements on their faces, body work on people over 55 can constitute more than a third of all body work a plastic surgeon does in a year. At times, the type of body work that should be done on a mature person is slightly less aggressive in order to avoid the prolonged recovery, but that is something that can be customized to fit the individual and their ability to take time off of work. As with all procedures, having an open discussion with your surgeon should assuage concerns or fears, but also set you up for ultimate success.
Protect Your Health, Protect Yourself
With all patients—especially those in the baby-boomer age group—pre-existing medical issues should be addressed and cleared by a primary care physician before any procedure. Additionally, not only is it important to evaluate a patient’s physical health, but their emotional health is also a prime factor in proper treatment. In all patients, but especially in mature individuals, an open discussion about motivations and expectations about the procedure must be discussed. A procedure’s result (and how dramatic a change can be) is, at times, more underwhelming in an older individual. A surgeon can apprise a patient of limitations and perhaps normalize expectations…but the patient needs to be frank with the surgeon.
Plastic surgery, in short, is not for everyone…but if you are wondering if it is an option that is safe, affordable, and will give you, the patient, the improvements you seek, make a confidential consultation to explore your options. A board-certified plastic surgeon, such as myself, would look forward to answering your questions in an effort to give you the best experience possible.
Julio L Garcia, MD FACS, is the founder of the Regenerative Medicine Institute of Nevada, which is dedicated to helping patients with adipose-derived cell therapies for the treatment of acute and chronic medical issues. For more information about Dr. Garcia, please visit his websites at www.lvcosmeticsurgery.com and www.rminlasvegas.com, or contact his office by calling 1-888-FACES-89 or (702) 870-0058.