What is the Best Age for Facelift Surgery?

People considering facial plastic surgery often ask: what is the best age for a facelift? A new study from Cleveland Clinic shows that with proper screening, a facelift after the age of 65 can be just as safe as one performed for younger patients.

Researchers followed 216 women for three years, comparing their facelift results based on their varying age. 148 of the patients were under the age of sixty-five, while 68 of them were over the age of sixty-five. They tracked their progress, including results, complications and other facelift outcomes.

“Facelift surgery in the elderly has always been perceived to carry more post-operative risk,” says Dr. James Zins, Cleveland Clinic chairman of plastic surgery. [But] “according to our study and pre-operative screenings, patients over 65 had no statistically significant increase in complications.”

The best age for a facelift varies

For most patients, the best age for a facelift is some time between ages 40 to 60, when wrinkles and folds begin to appear on the lower face and neck. While younger people might address cosmetic problems in this area with neck liposuction or a chin implant, an older patient typically has loose skin that needs to be tightened.

Age alone should not be considered a predictor of facelift risk, the study suggests. The authors stress that good screening is a critical aspect of the procedure. Many older men and women considering facelift surgery may not be good candidates because of health problems. “Careful screening of the elderly patients, and excluding those with significant co-morbidities, led to the low complication rate, ” explains Dr. Zins.

“More important factors include; general health of the patient, skin quality, wrinkles, laxity of the face, jowls, environmental damage, genetics, realistic expectations about what a facelift can and cannot accomplish,” writes Grand Rapids plastic surgeon Steven Ringler M.D., in response to the study.

According to the authors of the study, “The Safety of Rhytidectomy in the Elderly,” more research is needed to determine if there should be an age limit for facelift in patients over 65 years of age. The average age of their elderly group was 70 years.