More senior citizens turning to plastic surgery

11:44 AM, Aug 23, 2011


Written by

Lindsey Tugman

UNDATED (CBS) — Many people today in their 60’s, 70’s and beyond want to look as good as they feel. That often means a nip here and a tuck there.

Seniors today are living longer, playing harder, and feeling younger than ever before. But as the sags, bags and jiggly jowls creep in, an increasing number are turning to plastic surgery.

Seventy-year-old Sandra Kaplan is part of that trend. A busy, energetic interior designer, she became discouraged when friends repeatedly asked if she was tired. Sandra took a hard look at herself.

Kaplan says, "I kept looking at myself in the mirror and I was getting depressed. I was just sagging all over the place. It was horrible. My neck was a mess."

So Sandra had a facelift and her eyelids tightened, with both boosting her self esteem and her business.

Kaplan says, "I was out with a client and we’re really working hard in her home, and we were going from 10 in the morning to 7 at night. And she said, ‘Aren’t you tired?’ I said, ‘I’m exhausted.’ She said, ‘You don’t look it!’"

Therapist David Swanson says, "People 70-years-old are still working today, so the idea that the reasons cosmetic procedures would be different for a 70-year-old than a 40-year-old, that’s just not understanding what it means to be 70, now is it."

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2010, more than 84,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on people over the age of 65. That’s a 21 percent increase from the year before. Facelifts are the most requested surgery as seniors try to nip, tuck and plump away the years.

George Brandt is 70 years young. He owns and operates this Southern California bowling center along with his family. Brandt recalls the embarrassing moment that sent him running to a plastic surgeon.

Brandt says, "One of my grandchildren was sitting in my lap one day and she was playing with the skin under my chin, I think they call them waddles. And I thought, ‘I really don’t like this. This is uncomfortable.’"

Dr. Jason Diamond says cosmetic surgery for seniors presents no special problems if they’re in good health.

Dr. Diamond says, "There really is no age limit to plastic surgery. The oldest patient that I’ve put to sleep for cosmetic surgery is 75, the oldest person that I’ve done under local anesthesia is about 83. The key thing is to make sure that the patient has a medical clearance and they take care of themselves."

In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Plastic Surgery in June found the risk of complications in people over 65 is no greater than in the younger population.

Dr. Diamond says, "They might come back 3 or 4 times over the course of ten years."

And as time marches on, both of his patients admit they’ll probably be back for more.

Kaplan says, "I think that at some point I’d like to do a chin implant." Brandt says, "I’m pretty active, I can do pretty much everything that I’ve always been able to do. I really don’t want to look my age."

Americans spent more than $10 billion on cosmetic surgery last year. Dr. Diamond says he always follows the patient’s wishes when some want to see a dramatic change and others want something more subtle.

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