The population is ageing and more people are seeking cosmetic surgery at an older age. There are often concerns from older patients whether they would be at higher risk after surgery. The abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the tummy to improve the shape. This is a commonly performed procedure in patient who have lost weight or had children. The ideal patient would be one that has reached an ideal body weight and not overweight. This is not an operation for weight loss and should not be considered as method of weight reduction. Patients will often have loose skin that hangs over the waist line that may limit activities or restrict clothing options. Some people may also experience rashes and infection in the skin creases.
A recent study from Couto et al. reviewed 2 groups of patients undergoing tummy tuck operations. The first group were those aged 59 and under with the second group being those aged 60 and over. Their series comprised of 129 patients in total. They found that the older group had more medical problems and weighed more. Despite this, the study found that there was no significant difference between the younger and older patients in terms of major and minor complications following a tummy tuck procedure. Although the number of patients in this study is low it highlights that with appropriate patient selection the risks of surgery may be minimised in all ages. This group of patients may also be taking medications or receiving hormone replacement or bioidentical hormones.
The study that was published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal provides some evidence to support the safety of cosmetic surgery in an older patient group. This is not the first study to show these findings and the number of studies supporting this is increasing.
Age as a Risk Factor in Abdominoplasty. Couto RA, Lamar’s GA, Baker TA, et al. Aesthetic Surgery journal: 2017; 37: 550.