Plastic Surgery and Older Adults
Some of the most common procedures for older adults include the face lift and tummy tuck. Dr. Widder describes his experience with this population and their motivations for cosmetic changes.
Q: Some say “60 is the new 40.” How does your work help your older patients keep up with that concept?
Cosmetic surgery is definitely part of the story. Overall, people are taking better care of themselves today than in the past. Medical care is better. People are eating better and exercising more. People are just in better shape. Plastic surgery helps a great deal when attention to health and fitness doesn’t achieve everything a patient desires.
A woman who is 68 came to my center a while ago. She is dating a fellow in his 40’s. He thinks she’s got the nicest butt in Washington, D.C. and he doesn’t even know she’s had a butt implant. I worked with another woman who had multiple procedures including a face lift and tummy tuck. She’s in her 70’s and nobody is able to guess her age.
It’s not unusual in my practice to find women in their 60’s who date men in their 40’s. Better overall health is part of the equation, and plastic surgery can work wonders as well. Looking younger after cosmetic surgery can be a huge emotional boost.
Q: What are the main reasons sited by older people for coming in for a cosmetic surgery consultation?
A few of them will tell me they feel a disadvantage in the workforce. Younger people are being hired and they feel they are treated differently as older employees. Others tell me they still feel very energetic but when they look in the mirror, they see their mothers. They want to look the way they feel. Those are the most common reasons people are looking for surgery.
Q: Which procedures do the most to boost confidence in your older patients?
The tummy tuck and the face lift are the most popular. A tummy tuck makes patients feel younger and a face lift makes them look younger. Those are great confidence boosters.
Some patients start out by sticking their toes in the water, so to speak, and won’t go for a full face lift at first. They’ll go for the eyelids and will wait to see how that works out for them. Once they have the eyelids done and the results are satisfactory, they will go for something more. Those patients are the minority, however; the majority of patients come in with the pre-made decision and they go for it.
Recently, a patient in her 60’s came in after three or four consultations with other doctors. There were three reasons for her decision to have the surgery with me. One was that I took the time to give her the common sense explanations of why I do the face lift procedure the way I do. This was something she didn’t get from other doctors. Another factor was that I showed her extensive before and after examples. She saw that what I was talking about really occurs in actual patients. Finally, I was able to demonstrate how the technique I have been using for the past 10 years is quicker, less risky, and less expensive. For her and her husband, it was a ‘no-brainer’. Her surgery is scheduled for the beginning of next month.
Q: What are the main questions and concerns for older patients?
I noticed that my older patients almost exclusively come to me through word of mouth. If an older patient is referred, it’s much simpler for them to talk with me and trust me. Everyone, at first, is worried about surgery risks, but if they have been referred by someone else who had surgery in my center, they feel more at ease.
Another common concern is about the outcome of the procedure. Since an older person was most likely referred by someone they know and have seen my work on their friends or family members, they usually feel confidence and comfort relatively quickly. Knowing that the surgry center where they are having the surgery is accredited and that they will have a board certified surgeon and anesthesiologist is also very helpful and comforting to them.
It is very beneficial to older patients to see and speak with our office staff. We have a woman in her 60’s who works in our office and she’s had multiple surgeries. The staff sees what is going on in the surgery center. Patients realize that if staff members thought that there was a surgical risk with the surgeon or the anesthesiologist, they wouldn’t be willing to have their own surgeries there. In our case, older patients can see and speak with a woman on staff who has had five or more operations. She looks terrific. That makes it easier for potential new patients to make the decision.
If you would like to learn more about plastic surgery options, costs and considerations give us a call or fill out our online inquiry form. 703-506-0300
*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.