American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Plastic surgery at all ages: Tailoring procedures to different life stages

Plastic surgery is a dynamic and evolving field that offers a wide range of options for individuals across different age groups.

In this in-depth exploration, ASPS Member Surgeons Lara Devgan, MD, Danielle DeLuca-Pytell, MD, and Karen Horton, MD, MSc, FACS, FRCSC, share their insights, emphasizing how procedures are customized based on the unique needs of individuals at various stages of life.

Devgan: Insights on youth and mature age groups

Addressing young adults' needs

Devgan observes a high demand for facial contouring and breast augmentation among young adults. She emphasizes the importance of managing expectations, especially considering their ongoing physical and psychological development.

"In an era dominated by social media influences, it's critical to set realistic expectations," said Devgan.

This involves extensive preoperative consultations to understand each patient's anatomy, goals and desires.

"Plastic surgery is not about creating miracles but making small improvements in specific physical characteristics," said Devgan.

It is important to note that certain surgical procedures are not appropriate for some young adults. For example, breast augmentation requires that patients be 18 or older. Unsurprisingly, according to the latest statistics from ASPS, patients in the 13-19 demographic are primarily receiving minimally invasive procedures rather than actual surgery.

Customizing procedures for middle age

In their 40s and 50s, individuals often seek subtle surgical enhancements. Devgan's approach involves evaluating facial structure changes and skin elasticity to tailor procedures like facelifts and eyelid surgery.

"Each patient's journey through different decades of their life is considered in creating a surgical plan," said Devgan, highlighting the role of plastic surgery in shaping identity as much as beauty.

According to the latest statistics from ASPS, this group is most likely to seek out plastic surgery procedures with a combo of minimally invasive and surgical procedures.

Safety and technique adaptations across ages

Devgan points out that safety considerations and surgical techniques vary significantly with age. For younger patients, ensuring psychological maturity and parental consent is crucial, whereas older individuals might require more comprehensive health assessments.

"Tailoring surgical techniques and postoperative care is key to achieving optimal outcomes for each age group," said Devgan.

DeLuca-Pytell: Diverse age group strategies

Young adults: A focus on breast procedures

When it comes to young adults seeking plastic surgery, DeLuca-Pytell has noticed a focus on one specific part of the body.

"Young adults, both men and women, often seek breast procedures," said DeLuca-Pytell.

She emphasizes the importance of discussing future implications, especially considering changes that life events like pregnancy might bring.

"Educating young patients about the long-term aspects of these procedures is a critical part of my practice," she added.

Aging patients and skin laxity

As patients age, they face issues like skin laxity and the effects of gravity. DeLuca-Pytell often recommends nonsurgical options to address these changes, reserving surgical interventions for more significant needs.

"It's about finding the right balance between nonsurgical and surgical options for each individual," said DeLuca-Pytell.

Tailored recovery and psychological assessments

Recovery strategies are personalized, taking into account each patient's age and lifestyle.

"Younger patients might need more guidance on resting adequately, while older individuals may require encouragement to stay active," said DeLuca-Pytell.

Psychological assessments play a crucial role in ensuring patients are mentally prepared for surgery and recovery.

Horton: Catering to young and mature demographics

The influence of social media on young adults

In the age of social media, Horton is seeing its influence on plastic surgery patients.

"Younger patients are greatly influenced by trends on social media platforms," said Horton.

She stresses the importance of parental consent and psychological readiness, especially in patients under 18.

"Our approach is cautious with young adults, considering their spontaneous nature and the influence of social media," said Horton.

Patients ages 13-19 make up 4% of the overall population of people getting surgical plastic surgery procedures, according to the latest data from ASPS.

Restorative procedures in middle age

Horton finds that patients in their 40s and 50s often seek procedures to restore their youthful appearance.

"These patients are usually more contemplative and interested in procedures that offer restoration rather than augmentation," said Horton.

Patient assessment focuses on understanding their past and current states to plan effective treatments.

Based on the latest statistics from ASPS, this age group makes up the highest percentage of people getting plastic surgery procedures.

Safety and maturity considerations

Safety and informed consent are paramount, especially for very young or older patients.

"We take extra care in ensuring that teenagers understand the long-term implications of surgery," said Horton.

For older patients, considerations like medication interactions and overall health status are crucial in the planning process.

Combined expertise: A holistic view

Ethical and societal considerations

All three surgeons highlight the importance of ethical considerations, particularly when treating very young or older patients. They also discuss the impact of societal trends on patient decisions.

"During consultations, it's essential to focus on individual goals rather than societal pressures," said Horton.

Navigating surgical and nonsurgical choices

Advancements in nonsurgical procedures have broadened options for patients. Devgan educates patients on both surgical and nonsurgical alternatives, helping them make informed decisions.

"Nonsurgical procedures can often be a bridge to surgery for those not ready to commit," said Horton.

Age-dependent healing and recovery plans

The surgeons concur that age significantly affects healing processes. Customizing recovery plans involves considering age-related factors like skin resilience and overall health.

"Younger patients might have faster healing times but also more pronounced scarring," said Horton.

Getting the right care at any age

No matter your age, always make sure you see a board-certified plastic surgery for any procedure. This comprehensive look at plastic surgery across different life stages underscores the importance of tailoring procedures to individual needs.

Expertise from these ASPS Member Surgeons highlights the field's adaptability and commitment to patient safety and satisfaction, regardless of age. Their insights provide valuable guidance for anyone considering plastic surgery at any stage of life.

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


Patient Care Center