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Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2004 Sep-Oct;6(5):311-4.

Safety of face-lifts in the older patient.

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Department of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, University of Florida College of Medicine at Gainesville, Florida, USA.



To compare the surgical and anesthesia complications after rhytidectomy in patients 75 years and older vs those aged 45 to 61 years.


Retrospective review of 107 patients of a single surgeon in private practice. All patients 75 and older who underwent rhytidectomy (using deep-plane and superficial musculoaponeurotic system plication techniques) from 1998 to 2002 were selected. This cohort was compared with a randomly selected group of rhytidectomy patients aged 45 to 61 from the same period. Complications related to the procedure or anesthesia were recorded, as well as American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) physical class, method of procedure, and patient age.


The mean ages of the 2 groups were 79.0 years (33 patients) and 54.2 years (74 patients). Five patients in the older cohort had minor complications after surgery, compared with 7 in the younger group (P = .52). No major complications were reported.


Patients 75 and older carry risks of postoperative complications from face-lift procedures that are similar to those of middle-aged patients, when matched for ASA class. Preoperative counseling should emphasize patient health status rather than age when considering the risk of postoperative complications. Face-lift surgery can be safely performed in patients 75 years and older with ASA class less than 3.

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