Grandmommy Makeovers: Older Women & Body Contouring Surgeries

by Dr. Leo Keegan

Why is there a trend toward older women undergoing plastic surgery procedures?

Women of all ages have always enjoyed the benefits of plastic surgery. What is different is that women between the ages of 45 and 65 are starting to look at their surgical options differently. As women over the years have become more health conscious, they have also become more youthful and active. When people are feeling good and living longer, it’s only natural that they want to have that feeling of vitality represented on the outside. This has led to an expansion of the surgical options offered to these active women.

What are some of the surgeries you are seeing older women undergo?

We are seeing a lot of older women undergo surgery for their breasts and abdomen, which they may have decided to do since having children. Breast  reductions, breasts lifts and  tummy tucks are becoming increasingly common Another interesting thing we are seeing is breast reduction surgery for women who had their breasts augmented 10–20 years ago. Today, their bodies may be in better shape leaving their breasts disproportionate in size to their body.

Why are older women starting to have these types of surgeries?

Because older women are exercising more, taking care of themselves  better, eating more healthily and, more importantly, not smoking, they are better surgical candidates. Improvements in anesthesia provide greater degrees of safety and allow many patients to feel good afterwords and even go home within a few hours of surgery.

Are these surgeries limited to women with excess weight from childbirth or unwanted breast implants?

No. Thin women can also have a significant amount of skin laxity, commonly referred to as loose skin, which can result from weight-loss or from  skin stretching during pregnancy. Though these women may be quite fit, the loose and hanging skin   can only be removed through surgery. It's a variation of a tummy tuck. At times this skin removal can be combined  with a breast lift or breast reduction.

Are you seeing an increase in non-invasive surgeries?

Yes. Traditionally, women in their 50s and 60s would be candidates for a face-lift. Now, women are finding other non-surgical procedures that are less invasive, such as fillers, Botox and laser resurfacing that helps maintain a youthful appearance without surgery. In addition,Non invasive body contour procedures such as Coolsculpting now allow patients to improve their appearance with essentially no down time or recovery.

Is there any reason why you would recommend an older woman having surgery other than for cosmetic purposes?

In addition to cosmetic surgery, there are a variety of other reasons why older women have opened themselves up to the possibility of undergoing surgery. Many women will notice an insidious post menopausal weight gain while others develop progressive breast enlargement  and drooping. These developments can make it difficult for an older woman to exercise or pursue certain physical activities that they would normally enjoy. Additionally, breast enlargement  can also lead to back, neck and shoulder pain, symptoms which may be significantly relieved by breast reduction surgery.

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