Redefining the Golden Years: Plastic Surgery Growing for Those Over 60

Demographics

Forget bingo nights and the early bird special: these days, senior citizens are more energetic than ever. Those over 60 are leading rich lives full of work, hobbies, and travel — and according to a new survey of board-certified plastic surgeons, many are looking to match how vibrant they feel with how they look.

In the last year alone, roughly 2 million people between ages 60 and 90 have researched a cosmetic procedure on RealSelf. This trend is echoed by our doctors, 76% of whom report an increase in patients over 60 in the last five years. Of these doctors, 60% say they’ve seen this growth in male and female clients alike.

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Of the procedures most commonly sought by this group, anti-aging treatments like facelifts, fillers, and eyelid surgery take the top spots. Other treatments frequently researched on RealSelf include breast augmentation, CoolSculpting, tummy tucks, and cosmetic toxins such as Botox.

When asked what’s driving this trend, more than half of the doctors we surveyed cited the reduced social stigma around these treatments and rising pressure to maintain a youthful look.

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Many doctors pointed to another factor: those over 60 are healthier and more active than previous generations. They simply want their appearance to match how they feel inside.

“I’ve definitely seen an increase in older adults for all types of plastic surgery,” says Albuquerque plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Hopkins. “To me, the reason seems pretty straightforward. People are living longer and are in better health. Many boomers and older adults are exercising on a regular basis and trying to stay fit. All of us want to look as good as we feel. This group is no different than their younger counterparts.”

As people live longer, they also tend to work later into their lives. Many are turning to plastic surgery to help them feel competitive in a job market where they’re working alongside (or under) millennials. In fact, 36% of RealSelf doctors name this as one of the top three reasons why seniors are requesting cosmetic treatments.

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With more older patients getting plastic surgery, there’s growing concern about safety. RealSelf doctors named anesthesia-related complications as the greatest potential risk, followed closely by longer recovery times, interactions with medications, and high blood pressure.

Having good health prior to surgery is paramount, no matter your age. And just because a patient is older doesn’t mean they’re in bad health. “I had an 80-year-old patient request facial rejuvenation,” says Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Brent Moelleken. “I was set to decline her because of her advanced age, until she told me just had a political argument with her 104-year-old mother. We performed the surgery and she recovered normally. Her only complaint was that I didn’t take enough years off.”

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