Grandma wants them bigger
Granny got breast implants! How old is too old for cosmetic surgery?
A woman from Orange County, California made national news recently after getting breast implants at age 83. She is now finding that her new breasts are the focus of an online controversy.
It all started with an interesting New York Times article, “The Golden Years, Polished with Surgery” by Abby Ellin. The article centered around Marie Kolstad who, at 83, is a full-time property manager with a total of 25 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.... and the very natural human desire to look attractive.
She put it this way in the article: "Your breasts go in one direction and your brain goes in another." So she spent $8,000 on a breast augmentation procedure, specifically a breast lift with implants.
Ms. Kolstad is one of many septuagenarians, octogenarians and even nonagenarians who are deciding to "enhance" their golden years with cosmetic plastic surgery. It may even surprise you that according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2010 there were 84,685 surgical procedures among patients age 65 and older. They included 26,635 face-lifts; 24,783 cosmetic eyelid operations; 6,469 liposuctions; 5,874 breast reductions; 3,875 forehead lifts; 3,339 breast lifts and 2,414 breast augmentations. Breast augmentation itself is the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure among women in this country, and routinely is year to year, with nearly 320,000 performed last year.
According to national statistics, the number of older adults seeking cosmetic surgery have been on the rise for years now, and realistically the trend may rise faster as more baby boomers age past 65. But the increase also has raised concerns about safety and the psychologic impact of performing completely elective surgery on older patients who may have more pre-existing health problems.
Any surgery poses risks, but relatively few studies have focused on older patients and cosmetic procedures. Recently, a study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery found that the risks in people over age 65 are no greater than in the younger population. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic reviewed the medical records of 216 face-lift patients over the course of three years. The researchers found no significant difference in the instances of minor or major complications between one group of patients whose average age was 70 and another group whose average age was 57. So maybe chronologic age is not as important, but rather “physiologic” age, or how healthy you are at a certain age, is the more relevant factor.
Ms. Kolstad sums it up in the NYT article: “In my day, no one ever thought about breast enhancement or anything,” she said. “But nowadays women go out and they would never get a second look if they show their age. I find that you have to keep up your appearance physically, even if you just want a companion or someone to ask you to dinner. She adds at the end, “That’s not going to happen if you don’t have a figure that these geezers are looking for.” Now that’s what I call young at heart.