When you were in your late 40s, a number of circumstances, from your health to your smoking habits, might have made you not the best candidate for facial plastic surgery. Now that you’re older, your health has improved, and you’ve given up smoking for good, you might wonder if the ship has sailed when it comes to surgery. You might wonder if there is an upper age limit for certain procedures or other factors play a bigger role in deciding who’s right for surgery and who might consider other options.
Age is Just a Number
Age is merely a number when it comes to assessing who’s a good candidate for a surgery such as a facelift and who isn’t. A 2011 study from the Cleveland Clinic looked at more than 200 patients three years after their surgery. It found that patients over the age of 65 were no more likely to have complications after their surgeries than younger patients, provided they were properly screened before the surgery.
Age is also just a number when it comes to who is ready for a facelift or other rejuvenating procedure. A person in her 40s might not have the appropriate amount of sagging or skin looseness needed to benefit from a facelift. She might not have an adequate amount of loose skin until she is much older. Alternatively, a different person might have developed very loose skin and jowls at a younger age, thanks to lifestyle choices such as tanning or smoking.
Health is More Important
A patient’s health was the big caveat in the Cleveland study. Those over age 65 weren’t more likely to have complications after surgery, provided that their surgeon performed a full workup and screening on them before the procedure. Older people might be statistically more likely to have certain conditions that can interfere with or increase the risks of surgery, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. But, not every older person has those conditions and ruling them out beforehand is one way to reduce the risk of facial plastic surgery.
Even younger people who seem completely healthy should have their surgeon perform a full examination before they have any type of surgery. Some health conditions can be silent, such as high blood pressure or some types of liver disease, but can greatly increase a person’s risk on the operating table.
Lifestyle Choices Play a Part, Too
The other major variable when it comes to deciding who is a good candidate for surgery or not is lifestyle. A 40-year-old pack-a-day smoker who doesn’t want to quit is less suited to facial plastic surgery than a 70-year-old never smoker. Smoking or using anything that contains nicotine can make healing more difficult after surgery, as it disrupts blood flow, and can make scarring worse.
Other lifestyle choices that can impact a person’s facial plastic surgery outcomes or whether he or she is even a good candidate include dietary choices and the amount a person drinks. Moderate drinkers will likely have no ill effects during or after surgery, particularly if they follow the surgeon’s advice to avoid drinking in the days leading up to and following the procedure. Heavier drinkers might have more trouble and a greater risk for complications, no matter their age.
A person who eats a healthy diet that contains a lot of vitamins and minerals might be better equipped when it comes to healing after surgery, as his or her body will have the nutrients needs to replenish the body and help it recover. Eating a lot of processed foods or sugary sweets can not only affect the body’s ability to heal, but can also make the results of the surgery less durable.
Degree of Aging Also Matters
Finally, the amount of facial aging a person has plays a bigger role in deciding whether surgery is the right option or not. Health and lifestyle factors play a part in determining how much a person’s aged, as does his or her genes. A person who drinks a lot, smokes a lot and has untreated medical conditions is likely to look considerably older than a non-drinker or moderate drinker who doesn’t smoke and who is in good health. That can complicate the issue, as a person who might benefit from a procedure the most is also usually not the best candidate for surgery.
Dr. Edward Buckingham, a board certified facial plastic surgeon in Austin, TX, can evaluate a number of factors, from your health to the amount of aging you have, to help you decide if facial plastic surgery is right for you, no matter how old (or young) you are. Call 512-401-2500 for an appointment today!