A recent study suggests that older patients thinking about whether its safe to undergo a cosmetic procedure need not worry about age being a factor in their decision.
“Safety of Cosmetic Procedures in Elderly and Octogenarian Patients,” a study led by Max Yezhelyev, M.D., Vanderbilt University, Department of Plastic Surgery, finds that the complication rate among older men and women who have cosmetic procedures is no different than that of younger patients.
The mean age of senior patients in the study was 69.1 years, while the mean age of younger patients was 39.2 years. Basing their conclusions on an extensive review of information from May 2008 to May 2013 from the CosmetAssure database, the researchers found that postoperative complications among the elderly occurred at a rate of 1.94 percent, statistically insignificant when compared with the 1.84 rate among younger patients. Rates were similar despite older patients having above-average health-related indicators, such as a higher Body Mass Index (25.4 percent compared with 24.2 percent in younger patients) and a higher incidence of diabetes (5.7 percent to 1.6 percent, respectively). On the other hand, older patients smoked at a rate of 3.4 percent compared to the younger patients’ 8.5 percent rate.
Narrowing their focus to 80-year-olds, the researchers found that patients this age or older had a complication rate of 2.2 percent, which is also statistically insignificant compared with both the 1.94 percent rate of all patients 65 and older and the 1.84 percent rate of younger patients.
“We believe the results of our study will help plastic surgeons educate elderly patients about the safety of cosmetic procedures they may be considering,” Dr. Yezhelyev tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. “Additionally, the study can reassure our plastic surgery colleagues that cosmetic procedures can be safely performed in carefully selected patients of advanced age.”
Dr. Yezhelyev says the best way to educate patients is by having “a detailed discussion of risks and benefits of aesthetic procedures between a patient and a plastic surgeon in each individual case.”
The study was presented at Plastic Surgery The Meeting, the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, held recently in Chicago.