November 3, 2002

Facelift recipients have yet another reason to smile while looking younger thanks to a study finding that a person's second facelift is as safe as the original procedure. The study was presented today at the ASPS/PSEF/ASMS 71st Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio.

The 101 study participants, ranging from 40 to 81 years old, with an average age of 60, experienced a 2 percent complication rate. This is comparable to first-time facelift patients who on average are younger and healthier. Also, despite 75 percent of the participants choosing to have additional procedures during the facelift, such as laser resurfacing and eyelid surgery, the second-time facelift patients experienced no additional significant complications.

"With the increasing population of facelift recipients, the plastic surgery community has started to see not only older patients, but also patients coming back for a second facelift," stated Alan Matarasso, MD, in practice in Manhattan and clinical associate professor of plastic surgery for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "Through this study, we found that secondary facelifts in older patients combined with added cosmetic procedures are safe. However, we also found there are special considerations with older patients such as medical conditions and surgical techniques."

A more extensive medical evaluation prior to surgery is the first step to ensure a safe procedure with older patients. Patients older than 60 often have medical conditions that could require alterations in the surgical plan - the most common condition being high blood pressure.

Another consideration for older patients is how surgical techniques differ from first-time facelift patients. Often, a second-time facelift patient's skin is thinner and the elasticity of the tissue has diminished as a natural progression of aging, according to Dr. Matarasso. Older patients also are more prone to lose hair and an incision within the hairline could generate hair loss. In addition, he says less correction is needed with the deeper layers of the tissue because they were already rejuvenated in the first facelift.

"As the population of facelift recipients ages, it stands to reason that more patients will be not only seeking out their second facelift, but perhaps a third," said Dr. Matarasso. "Age, once perceived as a potential barrier to cosmetic surgery, no longer has to be. Patients of all ages now can feel confident having facelifts with board-certified plastic surgeons, allowing them to look and feel younger."

ASPS, founded in 1931, is the largest plastic surgery organization in the world and the foremost authority on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. For referrals to ABPS-certified plastic surgeons in your area and to learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, call the ASPS at (888) 4-PLASTIC (1-888-475-2784) or visit

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