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Plastic Surgery Across the Ages

Dr Sawjin Tew


Young children with congenital deformities, for example a cleft lip and palate, and may need surgery. They are looked after in children's hospitals by plastic surgeons as part of a multidisciplinary team. Minor conditions such as moles and cysts may also be removed.

Older children with prominent ears can have correction between the ages of eight to 10, when the ears are almost adult size.


Teenagers may be concerned about a number of different body issues, including uneven breasts such as tuberous breast deformity, development of male breast tissue, as well as moles increasing in size, and ear deformities.

Unfortunately, teenage years are not a good time for surgery, as their bodies are growing and changing. There are exceptions, however – one is Poland’s syndrome, where there is underdevelopment of chest wall and associated breast tissue. In the teenage years, tissue expansion surgery can be performed.

Young adults

Teenagers who have matured into young adults can now consider operations to modify their body shape or face.

Breast reduction, breast implants and rhinoplasty are common procedures. Also, young men who have abnormal development of breast tissue often request correction at this stage of their life. Liposuction to touch up fat deposits in the thighs is another common request, and women with developmental problems concerning their labia minora also seek surgical correction.

Middle aged

The majority of plastic surgery is performed for this age group.

Between the ages of 45 and 65 years, skin loses its elasticity, the body fat distribution changes, and breasts sag. Females who have had children most likely would have noticed changes to their breasts and abdomen. Breast reduction, breast lifts and implants, and breast reconstruction procedures are all popular within this age group, as is abdominoplasty.

Another common procedures include body contouring surgery, which removes the excess folds in the back, upper arms and inner thighs after weight loss.

Simple facial rejuvenation procedures include fillers, and anti-wrinkle injections. In the latter half of middle age, facelifts and necklifts are common.

Eyelid rejuvenation is a commonly-requested procedure, as the excess skin starts to rest on the eyelashes and obstruct vision, particularly in those patients with a genetic predisposition.

Skin malignancy become evident as a result of sun damage. Plastic surgery helps in the reconstruction of defects after skin cancer excision, such as skin grafts and flaps.


The most popular procedure for seniors is facial surgery. However, in this older age group, anaesthetic risks have to be assessed before considering surgery that is discretionary. Apart from facelifts, there are less invasive procedures such as fat injections.

This is the age when skin and head and neck malignancies are most common, so reconstruction is often performed.

Trauma affects seniors more than any other age group, so plastic surgery is involved in the care of facial fractures and hand injuries that have come about due to accidental falls.

Plastic surgeon Dr Sawjin Tew has worked on the Northern Beaches since 2001 and has privileges at Manly District Hospital, Mona Vale Hospital, Warringah Day Surgery, Castlecrag Private Hospital and North Shore Private Hospital. Phone 94112266 or visit

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