Turning back the hands of time by aesthetic and surgical procedures continues to be a growing obsession with middle-aged Americans. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), in 2005, nearly 11.5 million surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures were performed in the United States.

According to Richard Fleming, MD, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif, while vanity plays a role in many age-defying decisions, it’s not always the driving force.

"A lot of the motivation is professional," says Fleming. "I hear stories every day—I have patients who come in and say they did not advance when they were up for a promotion, and they thought it was because of  their appearance. It’s a tough, competitive business world."

Another factor spurring some boomers into physicians’ offices is a wish to have their face keep up with the rest of their body, says Fleming.

The trend among many middle-aged adults is toward noninvasive procedures such as botulinum toxin Type A injections, laser hair removal, and soft-tissue fillers to plump up lips and other body parts showing their age. But that might have more to do with time constraints than desires, says Laurie A. Casas, MD, spokeswoman for the ASAPS and associate professor of surgery at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

"My typical boomer patients, from 40 to 50, often have kids in grade school," says Casas. "The women don’t have the time for major surgical procedures [requiring more recovery time]. They would probably opt for them if they had the time."

According to Cases, to look younger, patients must do their part as well. Cases recommends that patients take care of their skin, exercise regularly, drink eight glasses of water a day, and eat a healthy diet.

"It can turn back the clock 5 to 10 years," says Casas.

[www.healthcentral.com, September 8, 2006]