Age Alone Not a Risk Factor for Complications after Facelift

facelift for older patientsIs it safer for younger patients to undergo facelifts than older patients? Not if the older patients are properly screened, according to a new study.

Researchers performed a retrospective study of 216 women who had a facelift between 2005 and 2008 by a single surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. The patients were divided into two groups by age: those under 65 (148 patients) and those 65 and older (68 patients). The average age was 57 in the younger group and 70 in the older group.

According to results, complication rates were not statistically different when comparing the older facelift patients to the younger ones, suggesting that age alone is not an independent risk factor for facelift surgery.

Facelift surgery in the elderly has always been perceived to carry more post-operative risk, said Dr. James Zins, Chairman of Plastic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic. According to our study and pre-operative screenings, patients over 65 had no statistically significant increase in complications.

The number of older people seeking plastic surgery is expected to grow. Currently, over 12 percent of the U.S. population is over the age of 65, and by 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The older patients in the study were more likely to have a higher ASA (overall health status) score, which assesses the physical status of patients before surgery, than the younger patients.

It should not be generalized from the study that elderly patients can undergo a facelift operation with the same low complication rate as seen in the younger age group, said Dr. Zins. Careful screening of the elderly patients and excluding those with significant co-morbidities led to the low complication rate.

The researchers said more studies are needed to define whether an age limit for safe facelift surgery beyond age 70 and 75 exists.

Learn more about facelift surgery; read the study’s abstract at the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal’s website.

New Plastic Surgery Stats Show More Men Undergoing Facelifts, Liposuction

increase in plastic surgery for menAging baby boomers who want to look their best and stay competitive in the job market have led to an increase in men undergoing plastic surgery.

According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic surgery procedures in men were up 2 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, and some surgical procedures showed significant increases, including facelifts, up 14 percent, and liposuction, up 7 percent.

Dr. Phillip Haeck, the society’s president, said the increase in facelifts is largely driven by men in their 50s and 60s.

“That’s the leading edge of the baby boomers,” he said. “These are really fit people who have paid a lot of attention to keeping their bodies in shape.” But, he said, they’re getting a “turkey neck,” which is something exercise won’t get rid of.

“This generation has paid a lot of attention to how they look, and they don’t want to grow old gracefully,” he added.

Haeck has had men come in for procedures because they want to appear younger while looking for work. He said men have told him: “You’ve got to do something to help me because I need a job and I’m afraid I’m going to lose out because people are going to think I look too old.”

By volume, nose surgery remained the number one surgical procedure for men, and Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox, Dysport) was the top non-surgical procedure. Here are the top five procedures for men:

2010 Top Five Male Cosmetic Surgical Procedures

  1. Nose Reshaping
  2. Eyelid Surgery
  3. Liposuction
  4. Breast Reduction in Men
  5. Hair Transplantation

2010 Top Five Male Minimally-Invasive Procedures

  1. Botulinum Toxin Type A
  2. Laser Hair Removal
  3. Microdermabrasion
  4. Chemical Peel
  5. Soft Tissue Fillers

Facelift Patients Report Higher Self Esteem, Better Quality of Life Post Surgery

woman smilingA new study of 93 facelift patients found that 96.7 percent reported a more youthful appearance after surgery, and they felt that they look, on average, 11.9 years younger after the surgery.

The study also found that:

  • 82 percent had an improvement in self-esteem
  • 69.6 percent reported an improved quality of life

The study’s author, plastic surgeon Dr. Eric Swanson, writes that patient satisfaction and the effects of surgery on quality of life are two of the most important factors in determining if a surgery is a success, but they had not been previously prospectively studied in patients undergoing facelifts alone or in combination with other facial procedures.

Swanson conducted interviews with the patients, whose mean age was 56.6 years, one month after surgery. The patients had a deep plane facelift or a facelift along with another surgery, including eyelid surgery, forehead lift and endoscopic forehead lift. Other commonly performed procedures done at the time of the facelift included laser resurfacing, fat injection and chin augmentation.

The author concluded, With proper patient preparation and education, facial rejuvenation effectively meets patient expectations. These findings support the recommendation of surgical facial rejuvenation to patients who wish to look younger.

Despite the substantial recovery time the patients reported for facelifts, the majority of patients (83.9 percent) said they would have the surgery again, and 93.5 percent said they would recommend the surgery to someone else.

The study will appear in the next issue of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery journal and the abstract is available online.

Experts Speak Out Against Stem Cell Facelift

bottom half of woman's faceExperts are skeptical about a cosmetic procedure called the stem cell facelift that claims to rejuvenate the face in a less invasive manner than a traditional facelift. The procedure, which is being performed by a small number of plastic surgeons in the U.S., involves isolating stem cells from a patient’s own fat and injecting them into the face.

Experts say there is little evidence of whether the stem cell facelift is effective and how it works. Dr. J. Peter Rubin, an associate professor of plastic surgery and co-director of the Adipose Stem Cell Center at the University of Pittsburgh, says that while he’s excited about the potential of stem cells for cosmetic uses, there are many unanswered questions, and that claims are being made that are not supported by evidence.

Rubin think it’s possible that injected stem cells could create new collagen and blood vessels, which theyâ??ve been shown to do in animals studies, but such results havenâ??t been proved in humans. He says that no one really knows how the stem cells are behaving, and points out that fat injections on their own alone can improve a person’s appearance without stem cells.

Plastic surgeon Jeffery Kenkel, MD, agrees with Rubin. “We simply don’t know enough about the safety and efficacy of these procedures. One of the major unanswered questions is whether the stem cells actually contribute to any of the positive effects that might be observed, or whether we are simply seeing the effects of injecting fat cells into the face, which can give the face a younger look,” he says.

“Stem cells have incredible potential. But nobody knows exactly what they can do. So they’re marketed to do everything,” says Michael McGuire, past president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). “In time, maybe a decade from now, science will tell the real story, but until then, marketing regarding stem cell face lifts should be considered fiction.”

New Beauty reports that ASPS and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery will be working together to test the legitimacy of the stem cell facelift. The L.A. Times article on the topic, “Stem cell face-lifts on unproven ground,” is available online.

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