Ask Dr. Pane: What Are My Plastic Surgery Options for a More Youthful Look Past 50?


The Question

As we grow older, our bodies change. Pregnancy and childbirth, weight gain and loss, skin expansion and shrinkage and the simple environmental ravages of sun, wind, gravity and so on all take their tolls. Over time, this ongoing damage to the body becomes more pronounced, contributing to the aging effect. However, cosmetic surgery has evolved to a point where many patients can realistically expect to lose several years or even a decade or more from their appearance. One example is the subject of this week’s Ask Dr. Pane segment. The patient asks, “What are my plastic surgery options for a more youthful look past 50?” She further indicates she wants to consider a face and neck lift with skin resurfacing.

The Case

Dr. Pane evaluated the pictures the patient sent along with her question. They show a woman in her early fifties. The pictures make it difficult to properly determine what the skin condition is around the eyes, face, jowls and neck, although there is some evidence of puffiness and laxity in those areas. Dr. Pane reminds patients that even the best photographs are not substitutes for in-person clinical evaluation or consultation, because it’s easier to get a sense of what’s going on when the surgeon can get “hands-on,” so to speak.

The Answer

A patient in their early fifties is on the younger side for invasive cosmetic surgery, although it is certainly not unheard of, nor is it completely inappropriate to consider. Dr. Pane says the patient appears to be a good candidate for a face and neck lift, with or without upper and lower blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery. The main question here becomes, what aesthetic result is the patient looking for when the procedure or complex of procedures is complete? If she’s looking for more volume in the facial area, Dr. Pane says a fat transfer or implants may be a better option.

Another concern is how much invasive surgery the patient wants to include with laser treatments of the face. While the patient did not request laser skin rejuvenation therapy specifically, the use of CO2 laser treatment or other laser therapy has become the default in many practices. Laser skin resurfacing comes with its own unique benefits, drawbacks and complications, and these can be compounded when taken in conjunction with other surgical methodologies. In addition, some laser therapies require monthly treatments over a long period of time, while others can be done at the same time as surgery. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea or that it’s not an option, it simply presents some other risks the patient should be aware of going in.

In this case, Dr. Pane says an in-person clinical evaluation and discussion would really be needed to make sure he and the patient are on the same page, using the same glossary and looking for the same results. Based on his impressions of the photos the patient provided, he’s leaning more toward a surgical solution to her concerns, but this may change when he and the patient really start drilling down to get to the heart of what her intended outcomes are. For example, she may simply want the laser rejuvenation and keep the surgical options on the table for later down the road. This is a valid choice as well, but only a personal evaluation can really establish which is the appropriate option for this patient.

When undergoing cosmetic surgery, it is always a good idea to do your due diligence beforehand concerning the provider you’re considering. Some good questions to ask are:

  • What experience do they have in the field of cosmetic surgery?
  • Are they board-certified in cosmetic surgery, and do they have any other certifications, awards or qualifications?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the provider’s manner, knowledge and skills?
  • Does the provider tell you what needs to be done, or do they work with you to find an option which is tailored to your needs?

At Atlantic Coast Aesthetics, we want our patients to be fully satisfied with the results of their treatments and procedures. We understand there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution which is right for every patient. That’s why we encourage you to contact us with any cosmetic surgery-related questions you may have. Simply call us at (561) 422-4116; email us through our website’s Contact page; or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Your question might even be chosen as the focus of an upcoming Ask Dr. Pane segment, allowing us to inform and educate you and others who share your interests. Remember, at ACA we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!

RealSelf Patient Reviews of Thomas A. Pane, MD


*Individual results may vary

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