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Dr. Michaels' Blog

Am I Too Old For A Facelift?

Many people fear that their age is an impediment to cosmetic surgery. I say age is just a number. What counts is your health. First and foremost is cardiovascular health. Hypertension if well controlled is a risk, but is unlikely to cause any significant problems during surgery. On the other hand, a recent heart attack or chest pain due to heart disease would preclude surgery. Exercise capacity is a good general indicator of cardiovascular health. If you can walk more than a mile at more than a crawl, without shortness of breath or pain, your heart will probably tolerate most cosmetic procedures. If there is any question, a stress test is in order.
To assess the importance of other risk factors, I use the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical status classification system. ASA class 1 is a completely healthy person. ASA class 2 is a person with a mild systemic disease. A well-controlled non-life threatening disease like mild asthma or hypertension would be an ASA 2. ASA class 3 is a person with a severe disease. Although there can be exceptions, most ASA 3 patients are not candidates for cosmetic surgery. ASA 4 and beyond are absolutely not candidates for elective surgery.
Last but not least is smoking. There are some procedures I will not perform if you are an active smoker. Facelifts, breast lifts and tummy tucks head that list. For your safety and to allow the operative site to heal, you must quit several weeks before and abstain from smoking for at least that long afterwards.