Single Baby Boomers and Elective Cosmetic Surgery
Whether it’s a nip, a tuck, a peel or a poke, elective cosmetic surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly by single Baby Boomers or people of any age. Over time it’s been improved and made less painful and risky. Recuperation time is shorter and prices have gone down, but it’s still a risk that can result in disfigurement and complications. If you’re considering any type of procedure do your homework and make sure your plastic surgeon is qualified. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, http://www.plasticsurgery.org/, recommends that “choosing a plastic surgeon you can trust begins with making sure your surgeon is board certified. ASPS Member Surgeons in the United States and Canada must meet rigorous standards. They must complete at least six years of surgical training following medical school with a minimum of three years of plastic surgery residency training, pass comprehensive oral and written exams, graduate from an accredited medical school, complete continuing medical education, including patient safety each year, perform surgery in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified surgical facilities and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics.”
You should also consider why you’re having any procedure. Are you doing it for yourself, because a body part is causing you physical or emotional suffering? Do you have extra skin due to substantial weight loss? Have you decided your single status isn’t what you want anymore and you’re looking for love? Do you finally have the money to change something that always made you feel unattractive and affected your self-esteem? Will improving your appearance help you keep or get a job that you may be denied due to your age, even though age discrimination is against the law? These reasons plus many more are considered by Baby Boomers both single or in a relationship before they make their final decision about accepting their bodies or enhancing them.
In a blog by Jeffrey Spiegel, MD, he reported that “Recent studies from the Pew Research Center, a group dedicated to public opinion polling and demographic research, the average baby boomer feels nine years younger than his or her age. They also note that elective baby boomer plastic surgery climbed 65% in the years following 2005, and that non-invasive procedures like Botox and facial fillers jumped by an astonishing 87% in that same time frame.”
According to statistics reported by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the most frequent procedures done are listed here:
- Botox – Around 80 percent of all Botox patients in 2008 were between the ages of 40 and 55
- Eyelid Surgery – The more than 200,000 bleroplasty procedures performed on baby boomers in the same year comprised about 90 percent of all eyelid surgeries
- Liposuction – While many primarily think of liposuction as a procedure for younger patients, those between the ages of 35 and 64 made up almost 70 percent of all liposuction surgeries in 2008
- Breast Augmentation – Nearly half of all breast enhancements were performed on patients that fall into the baby boomer generation during this same year, however, most in that category fell into the 35 to 50 age category, with numbers dropping significantly after age 50.
Boomer men “come in for eyelid and neck lifts quite a bit”, Barry Noone, MD, a plastic surgeon with 40 years of experience reports. For women, “they want to get rid of what’s known as ‘resting b**** face’ – which is you look angry as the corners of your mouth start to droop”.
Some Baby Boomers opt for plastic surgery in foreign countries where the cost is lower. It’s usually advertised as vacation related surgery, but it’s not a real vacation. There are the same risks even in highly accredited hospitals with experienced plastic surgeons as you have in the U.S.. You really shouldn’t do any active vacation activities right after the procedure since it’s like having surgery in your home town. Long flights can increase the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism and blood clots. You’re not protected by U.S. laws that protect patients and mandate the training and qualifications of surgeons. There also may be no legal recourse if negligence occurs. Having said that, I made an educated choice to have surgery in Thailand and had a very successful experience. I did my homework and went to a surgeon who was recommended by a family member’s friend who worked in the medical field in that city. I was also able to contact this person if I had a problem. The surgeon even gave me his cell phone number and kept me in the hospital an extra day since I was basically alone. The hospital staff was very helpful and pleasant and there was a hospital based English speaking contact person who only dealt with foreign patients. I ordered meals from restaurants located in the hospital complex and was kept quite comfortable while I was there. I charged it all on a credit card. I’m not recommending it for everyone. I’m only saying that it worked for me.
That was 10 years ago and the scarring is minimal. I’m a fair skinned Caucasian, but if you have darker skin tones, you may want to consider that some ethnic patients may be more susceptible to thickened or raised tissue along the incision, called keloids and hypertrophic scars. This is due to melanin, a brown pigment, found in the skin. Patients may want to choose less invasive techniques and incisions can be placed strategically where scars will be less visible. If scarring occurs, it can be reduced through topical and injectable medications, pressure therapy or surgical removal.
Hyperpigmentation, a blotchy, unusual darkening of the skin, or hypopigmentation, an unusual lightening of the skin, may occur with certain facial rejuvenation procedures such as laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, laser hair removal and dermabrasion. Hyperpigmentation may be reversed in 6 to 8 months using various treatments, whereas, hypopigmentation may be harder to treat or irreversible. Although most common in people of color, according to the ASPS, not all ethnic patients are at risk. Hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation can appear anywhere on the body, but are most common around the breasts, chest, shoulders and ears. The chance of developing either may increase if there’s a family history or if you’ve previously had these procedures. The risk of developing them decreases with age. Ask your plastic surgeon to perform a skin test before choosing these procedures to determine whether you’re at risk.
Remember that gravity has a way of catching up with you in the future and you’ll have to decide if you want to continue with lifting, tightening and rejuvenating treatments. Cosmetic surgery can help you feel better physically and mentally, but you can still age gracefully without it.
Next week we’ll discuss other ways to make the sands of time run a little slower. Please consider this question.
What can single Baby Boomer do to age gracefully?
Take all areas of living into account. Consider diet, exercise, the environment, preventative medicine and any other topics that interest you.
Have a safe and healthy week.