Women over the age of 55 are now the fastest-growing demographic seeking cosmetic procedures, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In fact, the number of cosmetic procedures for senior patients has increased over 63 percent in the last five years. These patients are looking for every kind of cosmetic procedure ranging from minimally invasive options like dermal fillers to even Brazilian butt lifts. Cosmetic surgeons do not expect to see a slowdown in this demographic’s demand for procedures anytime soon, either.
Overwhelmingly, senior patients are opting for cosmetic procedures to regain their youthful appearance. Their desire to look younger, however, is motivated by several different factors. One such factor is the desire to simply look their best – no matter what their age. A freshened appearance gives all patients a self-esteem boost that keeps them active and engaged. In fact, the desire to put their best face forward has driven up the number of face-lift surgeries, facial fat transfers, and filler applications performed in the United States. Additionally, blepharoplasty, a procedure to correct drooping upper eyelids, is also a popular option for the senior set, for both function and aesthetics. Seniors in the age bracket of 55 and older made up 48 percent of the blepharoplasty procedures performed in the United States in 2015, a total of 97,800 surgeries.
Another factor behind seniors seeking surgery is their wish to attract a new mate, as a large segment of this age group is widowed or divorced. Patients who are opting to go under the needle or the knife do so in hopes that they’ll attract a partner or love match, says Dr. Mona Alquali, M.D., Ph.D., FACOG.
"It is natural to still want to be attractive as you age," Alquali said.
Other procedures sought after by baby boomers include breast implants and tummy tucks. Resculpting procedures like liposuction, and its noninvasive counterparts like Thermage, are also popular. Over 22,000 liposuctions were performed on patients in 2015.
Alquali, a practicing ob-gyn, offers several cosmetic procedures to patients of all ages at her Clinton and Bettendorf, Iowa, practices, including fat transfer, breast reduction surgery and liposuction. She also offers Botox, fillers and skin rejuvenation therapies.
"Patients looking for cosmetic procedures like having options provided by a doctor they know and trust," Alquali said.
Patients visit Alquali through many stages of their life ranging from pregnancy to menopause and beyond.
Another reason for increased senior surgeries is that patients are staying in the workplace longer, which may seem to be an odd motivation for having a cosmetic procedure.
"Ageing often has an unfair, negative connotation that comes along with it," Alquali said. "Many people equate getting older with being weak or feeble, and this assumption impacts a senior citizen’s employment."
As lifespans have lengthened, it is especially important for many individuals to be able to provide for themselves into their seventies and beyond. Some patients are opting to have cosmetic procedures because they are able to finally afford to have the procedures that they put off due to the expense of raising a family. The cost of procedures has decreased significantly over the last few decades, allowing patients to have the procedures they previously may have considered out of reach. Simultaneously, medical technology has increased to minimize surgeries, recovery time and risk.
"So many procedures are now minimally invasive and do not require general anesthesia, so there is little risk to patient health," Alquali said.
Alquali suggests that all patients regardless of age who are researching cosmetic procedures talk to their doctor about their health history to determine if they are a good candidate for the procedure they’re interested in.