How Old is Too Old for a Facelift Plastic Surgeon?

I had large scale liposuction and upper eyelid surgery 13 years ago from a board-certified plastic surgeon. I got great results and had no complications. Now, I'm ready for a facelift. I would love to use the same surgeon, rather than shopping around and trying to figure out who I should trust and have confidence in. However, the surgeon is now in his late '60s. How much manual dexterity and stamina is involved in a facelift? Would it be better to use a slightly younger surgeon?

Doctor Answers 22

Look at recent before and after photos

A surgeon in his late 60s is not too old to be your surgeon. The important factor to recognize is whether or not the surgeon has kept up with modern surgical techniques. There is a lot of manual dexterity and stamina required for a facelift, which lasts three hours. Ask to see many of his recent before-and-after photos of previous patients to determine how up-to-date his surgical techniques are.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

It all depends on the surgeon

First of all, even though you were happy with your liposuction, please realize that a facelift is a much more challenging and artistic procedure. Make sure your doctor is good at it and look at lots of RECENT patient photos, not just the best ones from 20 years ago. Finally, some people age better than others and late 60's isn't too old to be in excellent operating condition.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

The quality of his work should determine if he is the right surgeon for you.

Actually most of us get better results the longer we operate. Experience is a most powerful and wonderful teacher. I am in my sixtes and am getting the best results of my career and can predict the outcome much better then ever. While certainly age has a bearing on health and dexterity, I don't think there is a specific age that is the limit. Each surgeon is different. Some wear out in their 40s and 50s because of genetics while others are doing great work into their 70s, Meet with your surgeon, look at his recent photos of patients that have had your operation and talk with recent patients. You will know the answer to your own question.

Carl W. "Rick" Lentz III, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Experience is a great teacher.

Experience and trust are 2 of the most important things for you to consider. If your previous surgeon has the experience with facelifting, then he is probably the perfect fit for you. You can determine this by asking. I am in my 60’s and believe I am getting the best results I have ever gotten. This is because experience is a great teacher. Each of us learned a technique that was adequate and got good results. However, we are constantly learning and improving what we do by listening to our fellow surgeons and seeing minute imperfections that a slight tweak of technique could improve. Although I have always gotten good results, I have, over the years, completely changed my technique to achieve a much more natural result with less down time and shorter scars. This comes from observing my results as well as those of other surgeons and gradually modifying my technique to achieve what I can now. Without everything that led to what I do now, I could not do what I do now.

Although 60 used to be old, it no longer is since we are all taking better care of ourselves. I am still very active and have no t rouble keeping up with my children. There is a time, however, when one is not able to do surgery as we used to. Hopefully, we all recognize these times and stop doing those things. I, therefore, have given up a few very taxing procedures. Facelifting, which I do sitting down, is not one of them. If you are concerned, ask your surgeon. He should be happy to answer any questions you have and make you comfortable with your choice. If not, you are no worse off than now.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Younger is not necessarily better.

Dear Doberman

I work with many older plastic surgeons who are still going strong.

However, you do have to ask yourself if you will get the latest type of face lift or if you will get the same type of facelift this doctor was performing in the early eighties with big scars around the ears, loss of hair in the temple, over pulled jaw line.

Studies you doctor's website. Get a sense of his before and after photos and the type of face lifts he performs. Many of us perform great facelifts here in Los Angeles, so you have tremendous options. Take some time to consult with other surgeons before making your decision.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Experience only comes with time in the O.R.

Of course, I am biased that age and experience is a major advantage because I am still operating after 30+ years of Board Certification in Plastic Surgery.

The time has given me the resources to build an exceptional infrastructure including experienced staff, approved in house O.R.; a multitude of operative and non operative lasers, etc.

It is not the age, but the individual that counts.

You had a favorable experience last time so I would certainly recommend that you return to check him out again. You will quickly be able to see if he has become frozen in time or is continuing to keep up and build resources.

Nathan Mayl, MD (retired)
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Facelift surgeon age

A surgeon in their late 60s is still capable of performing a facelift, however it is important that they know how to perform the procedure well. Liposuction is generally a less complex procedure than a facelift, and just because a surgeon is good at one, it doesn't mean that they're just as good at the other. 

Michael Constantin Gartner, DO
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 137 reviews

How "Old" is Your Surgeon?

Living in SW Florida, I see a lot of healthy, fit, and intellectually capable people in their 7th or 8th decade of life.  In my training, I saw many Surgeons perform at very high levels in their late 60's.  If your Surgeon is active, up to date ,and above all still interested in maintaining a busy practice, he should still be very capable.  The bigger question is whether he performs a lot of facelifts. 

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Late 60's too old?

that is a prickly question and needs to be handled with care. there is no right answer but i will say as I have gotten more experienced my surgical times have decreased and results are better than ever.  you must remember that dexterity and stamina are much, much, much, less important than skill, experience and surgical judgement.  however, if he looks like a hundred, is forgetful and can't hear what you say, reconsider.

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Judging the Best Age for a Facelift Surgeon

Facelift procedures require superlative surgical judgement, mature aesthetic sense, and seasoned experience with different facelift techniques.  The age of the surgeon, in my opinion, is not relevant, unless the surgeon has not performed enough facelifts to confidently display his results.  Older plastic surgeons have the advantage of seeing what has worked well, and gone by the wayside, but must be current enough as not to just be performing a technique just because they are comfortable with it, despite the availability of better contemporary facelift options.  As long as a surgeon does not have debilitating conditions that would prohibit them from having the stamina or stability to perform your surgery expertly, I think you can feel comfortable with your choice.  I think you should see 2-3 Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, discuss what you are looking for, ask what they would suggest, and look at their before and after facelift photographs.  If you like what you see, and you are comfortable, I think you should do well with your choice.
Good luck.

Daniel Shapiro, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.