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Older Americans Opting For Plastic Surgery

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CARY, N.C. — According to the

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

, the over 60 crowd is the fastest growing group choosing to have plastic surgery.

Barbara Smiley is one of them. After years of neck and back pain, the 74-year-old decided to have breast reduction surgery.

"There's been over a 300 percent increase just in the past few years," said Dr. Michael Zenn, a plastic surgeon at Duke Medical Center.

According to the ASPS, more than 60,000 people over age 65 had plastic surgery on their faces last year; mostly face- and eye lifts. Liposuction and nose jobs were the next most popular procedures.

"People feel very young inside and they look at the mirror and they don't feel very young and that bothers them," Zenn said.

Zenn said surgery results on a 70-year-old are much different than on a 40-year-old.

"The tissues just don't respond the same way. There's a lot more rebuilding up of structure," he said.

Since it is surgery and requires anesthesia, plastic surgery is not recommended for everyone.

"Maybe they have ongoing heart problems or chest pains and they want a face-lift. Well, a face-lift is not a small procedure," Zenn warned.

Zenn said of those who do have surgery, more than half will have even more work done.

Six weeks after her surgery, Smiley's new look has inspired her to lose weight. She is 20 pounds lighter and is enteraining the idea of more surgery.

"I'm already thinking where I want to go next," she said."The only thing I don't want is a nose job. I like my nose."

It is important to make sure that you do your homework before having plastic surgery. Some things to consider:

  • Check to makes sure the doctor has board certification as a plastic surgeon and is a member of affiliated medical societies.
  • Ask to see for before and after photos of previous patients.
  • Older patients should ask to make sure an anesthesiologist will be present during surgery.
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