Is there an age limit for surgery? We love questions like these at The Plastic Surgery Clinic, because we love to talk about all things surgical and non-surgical with our patients. We especially love discussing questions that require a more elaborate answer than just yes or no. However, if you are looking for the facts right out of the gate, we’ll start by saying that in general, NO, there is no age limit when it comes to plastic surgery.
We also tend to get this question a lot from younger patients who wonder about an age limit on the low end. The answer is still for the most part no, in theory, with added caveats and conditions. If you’re under 18, you would need parental consent for plastic surgery. However, we typically recommend that your body has fully matured before you consider undergoing any kind of surgery, which usually occurs anywhere between 18 and 21 years of age.
That said, things have changed a lot over the decades and, well, over the centuries actually. Humans live longer, they’re healthier, more energetic, and 60 can look and feel a lot more like 40 today. If you’ve got health on your side, age truly is just a number.
We have patients coming in for breast augmentations at 60 years old, saying they are so glad they finally decided to do it. Likewise we have many 70 and 80 year old men and women interested in facelift surgery. People want to look the age they feel, which we love, and that’s why it’s such a pleasure getting to know patients who pursue their interest in cosmetic surgery later in life.
If this is something you’re interested in, we’ve rounded up a few key things you’ll want to consider.
Older Patients Need to Be in Good Health Overall
Age itself won’t limit your ability to have plastic surgery, but your health might. For us, our patients’ safety is everything and always the first consideration when it comes to surgery. In order to undergo surgery, you need to be in good health. This means that your surgeon will ask you about your medical history, about any previous surgeries you may have had, and any medications you might be taking. If you’re older, they may also ask you to do some additional blood tests or an EKG to make sure everything checks out.
Besides medical history, your lifestyle matters too; whether you’re a heavy smoker or drinker, or whether you’re at a stable weight, can impact whether or not you’re a good candidate for surgery.
There are always risks associated with surgery and the healthier you are, the safer the surgery and the easier your recovery will be. In addition, most of our surgical procedures are done under general anesthesia, and whether you drink or smoke or take certain medications could have a bearing on whether or not you are healthy enough to be put under.
Board certified plastic surgeons follow something called the ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists) risk assessment. This basically determines how healthy or unwell you might be for surgery, and at The Plastic Surgery Clinic we will only operate on patients who have an ASA score of 1 or 2. If your tests result in an ASA of 3 or 4, we won’t perform surgery on you.
It’s Important to Keep Your Expectations Realistic
As much as there is no age limit when it comes to surgery, the age at which you undergo certain procedures will have a notable impact on your result.
So even though it’s perfectly safe to have a facelift performed when you’re in your 80’s, for instance, you won’t have quite the same result you might have if you had the procedure done in your late 40’s. A facelift in particular can be a fantastic pre-emptive procedure, one that will achieve a really beautiful and natural result if you haven’t quite yet lost much of your skin elasticity.
This is not to say you can’t have a facelift at 70 or 80—absolutely not, it’s never too late. However, as plastic surgeons, we can certainly rejuvenate your look and help address specific goals you might have in relation to skin laxity and volume loss, but we can’t turn back time, and so it’s important to stress that realistic expectations lead to a more satisfying result.
And to that end, the patients we meet who are in this age group aren’t trying to look several decades younger. They really just want to address certain areas they’re unhappy or unsatisfied with and to make very natural-looking changes so they still look totally like themselves. They’re not interested in erasing every single wrinkle or making their skin perfectly smooth. It’s more about looking rested, natural and beautiful—basically looking as amazing as they feel.
If you’re interested in any kind of surgery later in life, there’s no need to shy away from it. Keep your expectations realistic as to what you’d like your final result to be and what it will actually be. And when you come in for a free consultation at The Plastic Surgery Clinic, we can show you before and after photos in order to help you envision your result.
There Are Non-Surgical Options Too
Surgery might not be the thing for you. You might be totally healthy, but you might not be the right candidate for a procedure, or you may not be ready for surgery, or simply might not want it. There are so many non-surgical options out there that can really rejuvenate your face and body, from Botox and dermal fillers, to treatments such as thread lifts, FaceTite & BodyTite.
Non-surgical treatments often require minimal to no downtime. For the majority of them, you can often come in for your treatment and be out in under an hour, and some are extremely long lasting, over a year or more.
Is there an age limit for non-surgical treatments? Absolutely not.
We had a patient come in recently for some injectable treatments. She was 90 years old, and she was super hesitant to come in at all because she was worried we would say it was “too late” for her. Of course it’s not! It’s never too late! And we were so happy that this patient chose our clinic to enhance and rejuvenate the beautiful features she already had, and so glad to deliver a result she was thrilled with.
So if you’re thinking you’re too old for a cosmetic procedure, remember: age is just a number. We’d love to meet you!