summary:If the term “grandma plastic surgery” isn’t familiar to you, you’re not alone. In the last five years, the phrase has entered our lexicon to account for the newly enlarged portion of the population, defined by their age, who have been undergoing plastic surgery procedures in unprecedented numbers.
Plastic Surgery for Americans Aged 65 And Over
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery notes that “the number of people 65 and older getting facelifts and cosmetic eyelid surgeries has more than doubled in the last two decades, with much of that increase occurring over the last five years.” Most of these people are aged between 65 and 75, but the most fascinating statistic is that around three-quarters of this new cosmetic surgery group are new to plastic surgery, meaning that the one they undergo in their advanced age is the first cosmetic surgery that they’ve ever had.
In 2015, 39,772 eyelid surgeries and 37,632 facelift surgeries were performed on people 65 and older. Furthermore, eyelid surgery even made the list of the top five cosmetic procedures of 2015, with 169,708 performed throughout the year. So, why are these numbers increasing dramatically? Well, experts have a few ideas. For one, demographics are a contributing factors. As the baby boomer generation ages, the number of living people over age 65 has grown significantly. People are living longer than ever before, and numbers-wise, there’s just a higher population of people who have the option to choose plastic surgery.
The Washington Post notes that culturally, society also seems to be accepting plastic surgery as a norm in a way that wasn’t possible in the past: “The trend appears to reflect both cultural and economic shifts, including a growing acceptance of elective surgery helped along by popular shows like Nip/Tuck and a reduction in the procedures’ cost and invasiveness. Then, too, people are remaining in the workforce and dating game later in life, and fear falling victim to age discrimination.”
Altogether, there’s a plethora of factors that may be contributing to this upswing in “grandma plastic surgery,” and as is the case with most cultural shifts, it’s difficult to attribute the trend to any specific reason.
Top “Grandma Plastic Surgery” Procedures
Dr. Marc Mani tells People that he has “seen a dramatic increase in older patients choosing facial rejuvenation surgery. Newer technologies and advances in facial rejuvenation make results more natural than ever.” As you might expect, then, the majority of plastic surgery procedures performed on older patients deal, in some way, with the face.
In addition to the aforementioned eyelid lift and facelift surgeries, neck lifts, Botox injections, and dermal fillers have also helped the elderly reduce wrinkles and provide their face with a youthful appearance. According to Dr. Mani, some of these surgeries for the elderly can also be corrective procedures for those who have been using fillers for years: “Their skin has been stretched out and they need a facelift more than in the past. It’s become a routine for me to dissolve fillers with an enzyme and then do a deep-tissue facelift, which leaves patients looking younger in a more natural way, rather than ‘blown up’ with fillers.”
However, the stigma for older patients to receive cosmetic alteration on other parts of your body seems to be receding, as well. When 70-year old Linda Prejean underwent a breast augmentation to increase her cup size from A to D, she certainly received criticism, but not without support. The motivational speaker’s followers called her “brave, tough, and strong,” and said “she looks wonderful with and without the breast implants.” According to Prejean, who experienced the two-hour surgery with the blessings of her family and husband, she wishes she’d done the surgery even sooner (this YouTube video provides more information about Prejean’s surgery and responses to breast augmentation at an advanced age).
Is It Dangerous?
One of the most common questions about plastic surgery for people over the age of 65 is regarding whether or not it’s actually safe to undergo an intense surgical procedure at that age: Won’t it be dangerous? Is there an increased risk for complications? You might be surprised to learn that in medicine, overall physical health is much more important than any specific age number. Indeed, with some of the surgeries, like the eyelid surgery, it’s more commonly performed on older patients, anyway. For example, Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Charles Polsen notes that eyelid surgeries are typically age 35 or older. And, as Polsen notes, your surgeon will work closely with you to make sure that no matter your age, you’ll benefit from the eyelid surgery before taking any additional steps to move forward with the process.
If you’re working with a responsible surgeon, they should perform tests before making any decisions to ensure that elderly patients will undergo the procedure with minimal side effects. So, if your grandma wants a facelift, there are no medically sound reasons why her age should prevent her from doing so (taking into account general physical health).
It might be a surprise to see your grandparents with alterations from cosmetic surgery, but there’s also something empowering about living in a society where people feel increasingly free to make choices about their bodies and appearances without fear of cultural stigmas. If you’re above the age of 65 and looking for a surgeon to help you learn more about your choices in cosmetic surgery, feel free to leave a comment in the section below, anytime! We’d be happy to help connect you with someone to help.