Plastic Surgery 101

Dr. Carlos Wolf: Are you ever too old for plastic surgery?

Q. I am nearing 74 years of age and am thinking of having some plastic surgery. I know that you and probably lots of my family think I must be crazy, but I feel much younger than I look. What do you think? Quite frankly, I’m tired of all those fillers, and I’d like something more permanent!

A. Crazy you’re not! Full of life you are! I love patients like you (and not just because you want something done). Patients like you inspire me to continue to do what I do.

Now let’s get to the basis of what you are asking. I do not stop patients from pursuing surgery merely because of age (that would be age discrimination), but because of their potential medical or mental condition.

Surgery is a serious procedure. When a patient comes to see me, I first like to find out what the patient would like to have done. If it is a reasonable procedure and the patient’s expectations are realistic, we can go to the next step. Another aspect of my initial evaluation is to determine whether the patient’s motivations are their own and not those of their significant others. Generally, surgery is doomed to failure if the patient is not the one who wants the surgery.

Finally, the most important aspect of the evaluation is determining the patient’s health and risk factors. All medical aspects of the patient should be evaluated, and the patient should be at his or her best medical health before surgery. A complete evaluation must be done, along with specific testing, for any medical conditions that the patient may have.

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Included in this evaluation should be a discussion of all current medications being taken to determine which drugs should be continued or stopped before surgery. Once it has been determined that surgery would be relatively safe, the risks and benefits of the procedure should be discussed. If the benefits outweigh the risks of surgery, then surgery may be pursued. A discussion with your doctor of the post-operative recovery as well as pre-operative information will help you get ready for a smooth recovery.

While at first I used to wonder “What is this person thinking?” I now think “I hope I have the life” that person has when I get to that age. So go for it!

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