Older men and women who choose to undergo cosmetic procedures remain safe and have complications at a rate no different than their younger counterparts, according to a recent study, which was presented at Plastic Surgery The Meeting, the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), October 10-14, in Chicago.

‘With increasing number of elderly patients seeking aesthetic surgery there is a need to better understand the complications of cosmetic procedures unique to this population,’ said, Dr Yezhelyev. ‘Our study demonstrated that patients over 65 years old can safely undergo cosmetic procedures with a complications rate similar to younger patients when surgery is performed by board certified plastic surgeon.’

As the US population ages, numerous men and women age 65 and older are opting for cosmetic enhancement procedures. An extensive review of information from May 2008 to May 2013 from the CosmetAssure database illustrated that postoperative complications among the elderly occurred at a rate of 1.94%, statistically insignificant from the complication rate among younger patients, which was 1.84%. For this study, the mean age of the senior patient was 69.1 years while the mean age of the younger patient was 39.2 years.

The similar complication rate occurred despite the greater-than-average presence of health-related indicators among the elderly in comparison to younger patients, including a higher Body Mass Index (25.4% compared to 24.2%), and a higher incidence of diabetes (5.7% to 1.6%). Not all indicators were negative, though, as elder patients smoked at a rate of 3.4% compared to the younger patient rate of 8.5%.

The study also indicated that the post-surgical complication rates of octogenarian patients, patients 80 years or older, was 2.2%, which is also statistically insignificant compared to the 1.94% complication rate of all patients 65 and older, as well as the 1.84% complication rate among younger patients.

It is also worth noting that elderly patients had more facial procedures performed than their younger counterparts, 62.9% to 12%, respectively. The only cosmetic procedure that indicated a higher complication rate among older patients was abdominoplasty, 5.4% to 3.9%, respectively. The most common postoperative complications in older patients were haematoma, infection and problems with the healing of wounds.