Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ageism and Plastic Surgery

 Updated 3/2017-- photos and all links (except to my own posts) removed as many no longer active.

I admit that over the years my idea of “how old is too old” has changed.  Part of that is my increasing age, but a bigger part has come from the patients themselves – the 72 year old woman with a deflated NS implant who wanted it replaced rather than removed, etc.

Never Too Old for Plastic Surgery  (photo credit) By Tara Parker-Pope
If you think you’re too old for a few nips and tucks, consider the story of 83-year-old Marie Kolstad. ……….
To learn more, read Abby Ellin’s article “The Golden Years, Polished With a Nip and a Tuck,” …….
Don’t forget to read the comments of Parker-Pope’s article.

Still I have mixed feelings about what I see as not “aging gracefully” and tend to agree more with bioethicist Carl Elliott who is mentioned in Gary Schwitzer’s post:  Some reactions to NY Times' "Never Too Old for Plastic Surgery"
Minnesota bioethicist Carl Elliott wrote a book, "Better Than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream." In it, he wrote:
"We need to understand the complex relationship between enhancement technologies, the way we live now, and the kinds of people we have become."
I asked for his comment on the NY Times story, and he wrote:
"Everyone agrees that one root of the problem is toxic social pressures. The problem is that giving in to these pressures just reinforces them. The more cosmetic surgery older people get, the more social pressure that other older people feel to get the surgery themselves. (And articles like this just make the problem worse.)
Also, does anyone really think that cosmetic surgery actually makes these people look younger? What it really does is make them look as if they've had work done. And having work done is not so much a marker of youth as it is of money."
When is someone too old for plastic surgery?  There’s not an easy answer.  I think it comes down to an individual.  To their health.  To their reasons.  To their expectations. 

Related posts:
Suitability  (January 3, 2008)
“Suitable” for Plastic Surgery? (January 14, 2010)
Psychological Considerations of the Bariatric Surgery Patient Undergoing Body Contouring Surgery--An Article Review (September 22, 2008)

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