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Age is Just a Number

Just how old is too old for plastic surgery?  Well, thanks to modern medicine people are living longer and remaining healthier.  This is allowing a new generation to turn to plastic surgery to mold the perfect bodies they've always craved: Seniors.  According to the ASPS, nearly 85,000 people age 65 and older chose to enhance their appearance by going under the knife in 2010.

Seniors burnishing their golden years with help from plastic surgery shouldn't be a surprise, since they are much more active then they used to be.  Many say that they want to look as good as they can for as long as they can. And why not? Why do we as a society seem to think this is even news worthy?  A professor at Harvard Medical School believes the double takes arise from out cultures mixed feeling about old people actively on the prowl.  " Part of our stereotype of old people is that they are social, warm and likable, but powerless and sexless".  We are in the age of Viagra, which is very well accepted, but suddenly the idea of older women and men wanting to be sexually active at this age makes us uncomfortable. There should be no difference between a twenty or thirty something women wanting larger breasts and an older women wanting breasts that she doesn't have to tuck into her waistband.

Some worry the difference between the two would be the risks associated with surgery in people over 65, and if these outweigh the benefits of the procedure.  Older patients may take longer to heal, and the results of plastic surgery may not last as long as in younger patients.  These concerns cannot yet be addressed because the data is not yet in.  What is known is that researchers found no significant differences in the instances of minor or major complications between patients whose average age was 70 and another whose average age was 57.  Chronological age and psychological age are different.  A person in their 70's, living a healthy active life can have no greater risks of surgery then someone in their 40's living a similar lifestyle.  One the other hand someone at any age who has poor genetics and or poor health habits might not even be a candidate for plastic surgery.

The "why" is another big question. Why are the older generations choosing to enhance their looks?  The reasons vary, some seniors have become widowed, or divorced and are trying to date and attract a spouse or a mate.  Another might be an aging salesman, a senior, who wants to compete with younger salesman and stay in the work force longer.

No matter what the reason is for wanting plastic surgery in your golden years I believe one fit, attractive 65 year old woman said it best.  " In my day, no one ever thought about breast enhancement or anything, but now days, women go out, and they would never get a second look if they show their age.  I find that you have to keep up your appearance physically, even if you just want a companion or someone to ask you to dinner.  That's not going to happen if  don't have the figure that these geezers are looking for".

ASPS Collaborates With FDA to Establish Breast Implant Registry

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is establishing a national registry for breast implants in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The registry is being developed in response to reports of a rare lymphoma - Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) - in a very small number of women with breast implants.

The ASPS and the FDA agree this extremely rare form of lymphoma is not breast cancer. Of the estimated 10 million implants worldwide, only 34 cases of ALCL have been identified since 1989.

While lymphomas can appear anywhere in the body, this condition appears in the scar tissue that forms around the breast implants. At this time, both the FDA and ASPS remain confident that breast implants are safe and effective.

"ASPS shares the FDA's commitment to patient safety, but we also want to make certain this information does not raise false alarms with our patients,"  Phillip Haeck, MD, ASPS President, said. "We've been down this path before. For nearly 20 years American women were denied access to their choice of breast implants because of false claims and unfounded science. We are determined this shouldn't happen again."

ASPS recommends that women with breast implants should continue their normal routine in medical care and follow-up, specifically regular self examination and mammography when appropriate. Women with breast implants should watch for changes in their breasts such as pain and swelling and contact their plastic surgeon if they have questions.

"Women who are considering breast implant surgery," Dr. Haeck said, "should do their homework to see if it is right for them. ASPS is committed to helping women make informed choices about their health care and our website is an excellent resource."

Summer Newsletter 2011

Cosmetic Surgery Numbers

PARADE Magazine recently took a look at stats from all across America and part of their findings were in regards to Cosmetic Surgery.  Below are the findings:

Top City for Cosmetic Surgery

Miami, Florida with an average of 18 plastic surgeons per 100,000 adults

Where It Happens The Most-

Nose Reshaping-->Northeast USA

Dermabrasion-->Midwest USA

Buttock Implants-->South Atlantic USA

Hair Transplant-->South Central USA

Face Lift-->West USA

Most Common Cosmetic Surgical Procedures-


  • Nose Reshaping
  • Eyelid Surgery
  • Liposuction


  • Breast Augmentation
  • Nose Reshaping
  • Liposuction

*Sources: SF Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Body Sculpting "EXPOSED"

Liposuction has become one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. In 2010 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported 168,770 liposuction surgeries performed by its members. However, standard suction-assisted liposuction is quickly becoming overshadowed by newer, trendier liposuction techniques. In recent years liposuction surgery options have grown to include non-surgical treatments that allege to rival liposuction results. With so many “body sculpting options available it can be difficult to know which method is right for you.

In 1974 Dr. Giorgio Fischer, a gynecologist from Italy, invented the original form of liposuction (defined as the removal of fat from deposits beneath the skin using a cannula assisted by vacuum). French physicians Illouz and Fournier further developed better techniques around 1978. In 1985 Dr. Jeffrey A. Klein, a California Dermatologist, invented the “Tumescent Technique” that allowed patients to have liposuction with more predictable results.

Since 1985 the aging baby boomers’ desire to retain their youth and societies need to have immediate results created a need to have body sculpting techniques that were “easier, with faster results”. The internet created an advertising medium that made information (true and false) readily available to the consumer. From a web-based spa that advertises cream manufactured in Mexico for “home-based” liposuction, to a spa that advertises scarless “tummy tuck”, there are countless advertisements that offer to tighten skin and, reduce fat and cellulite. “No down time, drugs, pain or needles” is their call to action.


>Other offerings are:

-Power assisted Liposuction (PAL) uses a device which utilizes power supplied by an electric motor or compressed air to produce either a rapid in and out movement or a spinning rotation of an attached liposuction cannula.

-Vaser Liposuction (also called Lipo Selection) is another alternate technology to traditional liposuction. Vaser ultra sonic liposuction is a process by which fatty deposits are removed from beneath the skin to improve the aesthetics of a particular body part.

-Laser liposuction (Smart Lipo) requires the use of tumescent fluid and uses a microcannula inserted through a small incision to deliver laser energy and heat into subcutaneous fat.

-Cool Lipo (Cool Sculpting by Zeltiq) uses a precisely controlled cooling method called Cryolipolysis to target, cool, and eliminate fat cells without damage to neighboring tissue. Expectation is 20% improvement.

-Pro Lipo PLUS (Laser Sciton) targets precise contouring of the body. Laser typically reduces bleeding and bruising.

-Lipo-Lite, is just another form of laser liposuction that uses a 1064 nm wavelength to melt away and remove fat. Other laser assisted brand names are Lipo Therme and Lipo Control. They all offer minimal invasiveness.

-Water Jet assisted liposuction is yet another method of fat removal. Water jet assisted liposuction actually uses a slightly pressurized stream of salt water to dislodge fat and simultaneously remove the cells to facilitate more gentle removal.

Excess fat deposits on the body that are diet and exercise resistant may respond to liposuction. Ideal candidates for liposuction are:

-Adults within 30% of their ideal weight who have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone.

-Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical complications that can impair healing.

-Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for body sculpting, not weight loss.

In February 2011, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASPS) conducted a survey of 492 of its members asking them to evaluate current liposuction trends and report their preferences. The results revealed that most plastic surgeons prefer standard tumescent or suction-assisted liposuction to trendier methods. All surgeons surveyed were board certified and performed 51-100 liposuction procedures each year. Questions were asked covering their experience using various techniques, applications and complications, etc. It is unsurprising that plastic surgeons don’t favor non-surgical fat removal methods. Over half surveyed still prefer the original liposuction method: standard suction-assisted liposuction.

Before and After Photo after using Standard Suction-Assisted Liposuction. Provided by the ASPS.

A common assumption is that new medical devices should yield higher success rates compared to older systems. Because new products have the added edge of modern research and past testing results, we would expect newer liposuction techniques to out shine and outperform their predecessors. But in this case plastic surgeons have weighed in to say newer lipo doesn’t equal better lipo. Surveyed plastic surgeons reported a higher rate of complications with the newer procedures like laser lipo and mesotherapy, etc. It is unclear whether this higher rate of laser liposuctions complications was due to inexperience, system ineffectiveness, lack of training on new lipo systems, poor patient selections…or a combination of these factors.

Many surgeons indicated that “industry marketing to physicians without appropriate aesthetic surgery training” created problems when implementing new trendy liposuction procedures at a practice. The most common reason to choose the trendier methods was the media not proven results.

Whatever body sculpting procedure you are considering, the first step is to schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. A consultation appointment lets patients discuss their questions and concerns with an experienced professional to help inform their surgery decisions. During the appointment, plastic surgeons will also provide knowledgeable recommendations on which body contouring procedure is most appropriate for you based on your personal fat removal goals, body type and BMI, any existing medical conditions, and your surgery budget.

The results of liposuction can be very satisfying when the patient has real expectations of what can be achieved and seeks the services of a board certified plastic surgeon. Easier, faster, cheaper is not better or more likely to achieve the desired results. The need to have an immediate slimmer body has created so many body sculpting options it can be difficult to know which method is right for you. Caveat emptor!! (Let the buyer beware)

-Martha Hahus, Clinical Nurse Coordinator-