Is It Ever Too Late to Get Facelift Surgery?

Is It Ever Too Late to Get Facelift Surgery?

Many people think about getting facelift surgery to rejuvenate their looks. For some, though, there comes a time when they look in the mirror and say, “It’s too late.” Is that true? Is it ever too late to get cosmetic surgery? Good news–the answer is no. It is not ever too late to get facelift surgery as long as the person is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia, surgery, and recovery.

Rate of Postoperative Complications Is About the Same for Older and Younger Patients 

From 2008 to 2014, researchers assessed postoperative complications for men and women 65 and older who got cosmetic surgery. These procedures included facelifts. The research was conducted because more and more older people are choosing to get these surgeries. 

The study was presented at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual meeting in 2014. It remains a landmark study today. The findings: 

  • The difference in post-op complications between older and younger patients was statistically insignificant (1.94 percent of older patients and 1.84 percent of younger patients experienced complications).
  • Among patients 80 and older, the rate of complications was 2.2 percent, still statistically insignificant when compared with the 1.94 percent and 1.84 percent rates.
  • Older patients opted for more facial procedures than their younger peers (62.9 percent versus 12 percent).
  • Hematoma, infection, and issues with wound healing were the top three most common complications among older patients.
  • The average age of an elderly patient was 69.1 years, while it was 39.2 years for a younger patient.
  • Younger patients were healthier overall.
  • Older patients had higher BMI (25.4 percent versus 24.2 percent) and were more likely to have diabetes (5.7 percent versus 1.6 percent).
  • Older patients were less likely to smoke (3.4 percent versus 8.5 percent).
  • Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) had the highest difference in complication rates, with 5.4 percent of older patients experiencing complications versus 3.9 percent of younger patients.

The bottom line is that as far as facelift surgery complications go, elderly people who have been approved for the procedure have no reason to worry more than they would if they were 30 years younger.

Facelift Efficiency Is the Same

A lack of complications is one thing, but how effective are facelifts on older people? Quite effective, actually. Research published in the official ASPS medical journal says that patients rate themselves as looking 12 years younger after the procedure. The average patient age in the study was 57 years, which means quite a few folks 65 and older were included. Most patients (97 percent) were satisfied with how their surgeries turned out.

A facelift tends to last 10 to 15 years. The skin inevitably begins to droop again, but you still should look 12 years younger than your biological age.

Facelift Surgery Factors to Consider if You Are Older

Your overall health, any medications you are taking, your hopes/expectations for the surgery, and the condition of your face/skin are critical considerations no matter your age but especially if you are 60 or older.

Your surgeon is unlikely to approve you for a facelift if he or she thinks your health or other factors put you at unusual risk of complications. Do ensure that your surgeon is board-certified either as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

When you discuss the procedure with your surgeon, ask to see before and after pictures specifically of older patients. Request to see pictures of younger patients too so you can compare.

One more thing: In many countries, insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures. Don’t be tempted to “cheap out.” It could prove more expensive in the long run if you get scars that need fixing or if you require further surgeries to fix a botched one.

What a Facelift Involves

During a facelift, the surgeon pulls back a flap of skin on each side of your face. The surgeon removes extra skin and adjusts the tissues underneath the skin as necessary. The overall result is a more youthful face shape that features smoother folds of skin on the cheeks and jawline and less sagging skin.

Many patients opt to get a neck lift at the same time they receive a facelift. A neck lift also enhances the youthful look of the face since it cuts down on sagging skin and fat on the neck.

However, facelifts and neck lifts do not address fine lines, wrinkles, and other skin issues resulting from sun damage. Other procedures such as laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels do that, though.

Facelift surgery marks an exciting time in many people’s lives. Folks are living longer and getting the surgery at later ages. As long as you are in reasonably good health, you should be approved for it no matter your age.