Is There an Age Limit For Breast Augmentation?

breast augmentation ageHow old is too old for cosmetic surgery?  Apparently there is no answer to this question for those individuals who are healthy and have no medical problems for which surgery is contraindicated.

The New York Times followed an octogenarian, Marie Kolstad, who recently had her breasts lifted and implant insertion, at 83 years of life.  When asked why should would have this procedure done at her age, she commented, “Physically, I’m in good health, and I just feel like, why not take advantage of it?” Kolstad, a great-grandmother of 13 who lives in Orange County, Calif., told the New York Times. “My mother lived a long time, and I’m just taking it for granted that that will happen to me. And I want my children to be proud of what I look like.”

According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more seniors are seeking cosmetic enhancement.  They feel well and are living longer.  Western society puts a premium on youth and looking younger.  When seniors look in the mirror, they want their images to reflect younger, more vibrant individuals to match the perception of how they see themselves.

The society states that in 2010, there was over eighty-four thousand Americans age 65 and older that had pursued cosmetic surgery, which has been steadily increasing over the last five years. Apparently, South Africa is following a similar trend. Clearly, physicians are revising their attitude towards surgery for the older patient.

The older patient must obtain medical clearance from their physicians stating that she is able to physically withstand surgery.  She must be open and above-board about her past and current medical history so that any complications can be predicted and any potential risks can be averted.

An issue that must be addressed is wound healing in aged skin.  Wound healing (which includes surgical incisions) is delayed in aged skin due to a change in the early inflammatory response and the reduction of tissue inhibitors of certain proteins during wound repair. These play a role in possibly causing a tendency toward chronic wounds.  A compromise to circulation in the elderly also contributes to a lack of healing to a particular area.

Surprisingly, although there is a slower rate of healing, scarring is much less in the elderly due to an increase in fibrillin and elastin in restoring skin structure.

Taking all the risks into consideration, much of the debate swirls around bioethics with a discussion of quality versus quantity of life and whether surgery should be performed that is not vitally necessary.

Well, for a woman that may have wanted surgical enhancement all her life and for those that feel that breast enhancement will give them the self confidence and higher self-esteem, the answer is that IT IS vitally necessary!  Each one can only answer for herself.

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