Redefining tradition: A new perspective on aging
There's nothing new about the phrase "aging gracefully." Something we often hear in everyday conversation around friends and celebrities alike, the idea of aging gracefully is regularly on our minds. But recent shifts in perspectives around the process of aging have led to increased conversations around aging itself and what this phrase truly means.
Often the conversations of age and plastic surgery go hand-in-hand as plastic surgery is one tried-and-true method of aging gracefully. And while traditional ideas around using plastic surgery to counteract aging focused on aesthetics, modern interpretations take a more holistic approach, considering the individual's health and wellbeing to counteract aging.
To further dive into the subject of how the perspective on aging has changed within the plastic surgery field, we spoke with Catherine Begovic, MD, and Anu Bajaj, MD, for their insight and expertise. Keep reading to learn more.
The new way of thinking about how to age gracefully
Recently, the idea of aging gracefully was one of intrigue and mystery. While some seem to get finer with age, the hands of time tend to grasp others more firmly. The concept of how people age differently has often been met with confusion on who is, in fact, aging naturally without surgical intervention and who is using aesthetic surgery to age in a more controlled manner.
As Bajaj put it, "Plastic surgery has given us the freedom to age in a manner that each of us is comfortable with – for some, that means with the assistance of adjuncts, injectables, skin care, Botox, surgery, etc., and for others it means aging without any assistance – both can be beautiful."
Historically, the use of plastic surgery to combat aging was simply skin-deep. According to Begovic, "Traditionally, there was more focus on the aesthetic aspect – minimizing the appearance of aging through surgical interventions." This concept focused more on looking younger rather than feeling younger.
Recently, we have seen a growing shift towards a more multi-faceted interpretation of how to age gracefully. Rather than focusing on appearance alone, our more modern interpretation of aging gracefully also involves the holistic ideas of feeling better and improving quality of life as we age.
This shift has become increasingly prevalent among the more mature population. "More patients are seeking out treatments that promote a more natural, healthier appearance, as opposed to an overtly 'done' look," according to Begovic.
Many patients are also opting for healthy lifestyle choices and medical interventions to better assist them in the process of aging.
In addition, many plastic surgeons are seeing an increase in nonsurgical anti-aging treatments, including "dermal fillers, laser therapy and skin-tightening procedures, which can be less invasive yet effective," said Bajaj.
These options are ideal for any patient who is reluctant to go under the knife but who is still interested in aesthetic assistance in working to better control the aging process.
How the specialty will continue to evolve
The anti-aging options of today are thanks to the innovations of yesterday. And as the specialty of plastic surgery continues to evolve, so will the anti-aging treatment of tomorrow.
"Many of the advancements we have made today in different anti-aging treatments have given us the freedom to make these decisions," said Bajaj.
Looking forward, with each advancement in plastic surgery comes more opportunities for patients to feel empowered to age in the manner in which they choose to.
"As we continue to make advancements in plastic surgery and anti-aging treatments, I believe we'll witness further shifts in our perception of aging," said Begovic.
The process of aging and choosing how we age will become a point of empowerment rather than a point of stress or sorrow.
Begovic also foresees a shift towards less invasive procedures: "We can expect a greater emphasis on noninvasive or minimally invasive treatments, as these technologies continue to advance and deliver effective results with less downtime."
These treatments are more accessible, appealing to patients who aren't interested in a full surgical procedure, allowing greater freedom and choice.
"We also will see the integration of health and wellness as part of the aging process," said Begovic. "So, it's not only about looking good, but also about feeling good, both physically and emotionally."
Rather than focusing on just the aesthetics of aging, we'll continue to see movement towards considering the individual and their health and wellness as a whole.
Expert tips and tricks to maximize your results
For many men and women, aesthetic interventions play a key role in how they have decided to age gracefully. If you're considering pursuing a procedure or procedures to aid in this process, there are a few key tips to keep in mind in order to maximize your results.
Do your research
As with any procedure, it's important to thoroughly research what you're considering. Make sure that you understand the risks, benefits and realistic outcomes before you decide to take the plunge.
Choose a board-certified plastic surgeon
Just as important as doing your research, always choose a board-certified surgeon. These surgeons have met strict guidelines and high standards and their expertise and work will reflect it.
Begovic stressed that patients make sure to look for a surgeon who "listens to your concerns, understands your goals and respects your decisions."
Think about your 'why'
When it comes down to it, to age gracefully is to age in a manner that is comfortable for you. Never forget the reason or the 'why' behind the procedure(s) that you are considering.
"Aging gracefully means being comfortable in your own skin and with confidence," said Bajaj.
Focus on your individuality and authenticity
Don't lose what makes you 'you' in the pursuit of aging gracefully. According to Begovic, "While it's understandable to want to minimize the signs of aging, it's equally important to embrace the unique aspects of yourself that come with maturity," said Begovic.
The future of aging gracefully
The desire to age gracefully is often at the forefront of our minds. Whether this involves accepting the natural changes in our body as we age or choosing a more controlled approach with surgical intervention, the process of aging gracefully is ours to define.
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.