How Many Years Does Facial Surgery Take Off Your Face?
Aug 6, 2013 - 8:55:11 AM
Mirror, mirror on the wall? Do I look any younger ... at all?
Curiously, there was also no significant improvement noted in attractiveness ratings after these anti-aging procedures. Youth, however, is so closely linked to attractiveness that many even consider the terms to be synonymous.
"We can now tell patients you will definitely look younger after aging face surgery and the degree varies," says study author A. Joshua Zimm, MD, a facial plastic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (aafprs.org).
The study included 49 men and women aged 42 to 73 who had facial plastic surgery at one clinic between 2006 and 2010. Fifty raters looked at close to 200 photographs of these individuals before and after their surgery without makeup or jewelry. They rated their ages in each photo, and gave an attractiveness score from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most attractive). Surprisingly, these attractiveness ratings didn't change significantly after the surgeries, but the raters were not given any guidance for how to determine attractiveness. This means that a face or necklift won't necessarily take you from a lowly one to a perfect 10.
Part of the reason for the perceived lackluster improvements in attractiveness may be that one-third of participants only had their upper face treated. More dramatic anti-aging effects were seen among those individuals who had upper and lower facial surgery. More study is needed to confirm the findings, Zimm notes.
New York City facial plastic surgeon David Rosenberg, MD says that there is more to facial plastic surgery than looking younger. "You don't need to look young to look good," he says. "It's about feeling more like yourself and getting back what you had." Put another way: cosmetic surgery is about how you feel about yourself, not about how others perceive you. "The new study missed the effect on the patient," he says. "It's not about what a non-interested party thinks, it's about making the individual feel better about their appearance," he says.
"While 3.1 years is not really a ‘WOW' when you consider the cost, risks, and time out of work involved with undergoing cosmetic surgery, there are many other benefits to consider. A lot of patients go under the knife with the desire to look like a natural and refreshed version of themselves, rather than having an overpulled, distorted appearance that makes them look like a different person," says Lewis. So for some, taking a few years off may be just enough of an improvement to make them happy.
But what about the self-esteem boost that comes with having successful facial plastic surgery? "Even if total strangers looking at you in a 2-D photograph only think you look a few years younger, it's what you see in the mirror that really counts. When the droopy skin is gone from your upper eyelids, or there is less flesh to pinch under your chin, you're going to feel younger and more attractive."
The bottom line, experts say, is that facial surgery alone won't make you look 25 again if you're in your 50s, and you should do it for yourself, and not to please anyone else.
Denise Mann is an award-winning health writer and contributor to many health and beauty publications and websites.
* Pictured: Wendy Lewis
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