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The Safety of Rhytidectomy in the Elderly

Martén, Esteban M.D., M.P.H.; Langevin, Claude-Jean D.M.D., M.D.; Kaswan, Sumesh M.D.; Zins, James E. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: June 2011 - Volume 127 - Issue 6 - p 2455-2463
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182131da9
Cosmetic: Original Articles

Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety of face-lift surgery in an elderly population. Specifically, is chronologic age an independent risk factor leading to a higher complication rate in the elderly patient undergoing rhytidectomy surgery?

Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed consecutive face lifts (216 patients) performed by a single surgeon over a 3-year period. Patients were divided into two groups, younger than 65 years (148 patients) and 65 years and older (68 patients). Comorbidities, operative details, and complications were compared using statistical analysis.

Results: The average age was 70.0 years in the elderly group and 57.6 years in the younger group. When compared with the patients younger than 65 years, elderly patients were more likely to have a higher American Society of Anesthesiologists score and to have had a prior face lift (41.2 percent versus 17.6 percent, p < 0.001). The elderly had complication rates comparable to those of younger patients (2.9 percent versus 2.0 percent major, p = 0.65; and 5.9 percent versus 6.1 percent minor, p = 0.99). There were no deaths in either group.

Conclusions: In the authors' series of carefully selected elderly patients, face-lift complication rates were not statistically different when compared with those of a younger control group. The authors' data suggest that chronologic age alone was not an independent risk factor for face-lift surgery. Further studies are needed to define whether a chronologic age limit for safe face-lift surgery beyond age 65 exists.

Cleveland, Ohio; Orlando, Fla.; and Rochester, N.Y.

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, Cleveland Clinic; M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando; and the Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Rochester.

Received for publication November 2, 2010; accepted November 30, 2010.

Disclosure:The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

James E. Zins, M.D., Department of Plastic Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, Desk A60, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195,

©2011American Society of Plastic Surgeons