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Should Your Parents & Grandparents “Grow Old Gracefully?”

It doesn’t surprise anyone when friends or family members between the ages of 45 and 60 choose to undergo facial cosmetic surgery. After all, as we age, we’ll all experience sagging, bagging and wrinkling, which is particularly visible on our faces. Although I make every effort to help my Washington, DC patients age gracefully by utilizing Botox and dermal fillers, eventually they’ll need more correction than these non-surgical methods can provide. Ultimately, a facelift is the best choice for those with signs of facial aging. In my Virginia-area facial cosmetic practice, I’d estimate that 55 is the average age of patients seeking facial rejuvenation, with some patients opting for age-related corrections earlier than others due to lifestyle habits and inherited aging patterns.
 

However, did you know that those over the age of 65 are embracing aesthetic enhancements at a rapid rate? It’s true. The Baby Boomers, the largest cohort group in the US, are increasingly represented in our facial plastic surgery office here in Washington, DC. In fact, procedures that were once deemed for those of “middle-age” are now quite popular for grandmothers and grandfathers, too!
As an indication of this trend, there was a recent story in the London press about a 65-year-old woman, Joan Lloyd, who decided that as a fairly new widow, she needed cosmetic enhancements in order to “help me find love again,” in her words. When asked why she decided to have her breast augmented to an F-cup, she replied, “I decided to get maximum impact.”
Although this charming woman no doubt did create maximum impact, most of the Virginia and Maryland men and women I see for facial cosmetic surgery are more likely to desire a facelift that’s a bit less “maximum” in terms of revealing that they had anything done. A beautiful facelift should suggest rest and relaxation; nothing pulled, nothing jarring, just soft and full, like the face of youth. If there is a lesson to be learned by Mrs. Lloyd, certainly it’s that there is no shame in wanting to look as young as you feel, or even to look younger than you are. As long as a patient is in good health and has realistic expectations, I have no qualms about older patients undergoing cosmetic procedures. 
Are Older Americans Getting More Plastic Surgery?
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that in 2010 there was a 2% increase in the number of both male and female patients over 55 that underwent a cosmetic procedure. It could be, at least to an extent, that older celebrities are very open about the work they have had themselves to look younger. Even Betty White has recently admitted to undergoing cosmetic procedures. With so many older celebs praising plastic surgery, it is only natural for the older crowd to accept cosmetic procedures for themselves as well.
I’m interested in hearing what you think! Is cosmetic surgery a good idea for those 65, 70 and older or should they “grow old gracefully?” What would you think if your parents or grandparents chose to undergo a cosmetic procedure?
To your health and beauty,

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    Houtan Chaboki, M.D.