Sep 7

Just how much younger will you look after plastic surgery?

A favorite question of patients looking to turn back the clock with a facial rejuvenation procedure is how much younger will they look? It’s a good question and one that’s hard to quantify. We know from quality-of-life studies, including one that we did, that facial rejuvenation surgery definitely helps improve quality of life and perceived satisfaction in many facets of life. But, it is hard to put a number on just how many years younger someone will appear after this surgery.

Well, a recent study in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery by our good colleagues (Adamson et al.) looked at this very question. Sixty patients from 45 to 72 years old undergoing either lower facelift alone (Group 1), facelift plus eyelid lift (Group 2), or facelift, eyelid lift, plus brow lift together (Group 3) were divided into groups. Forty independent raters were randomly asked to estimate their ages before and after surgery. Who were these raters? Well, the human equivalent of lab rats and favorite subjects of researchers everywhere…medical students, of course.

The average reduction in perceived age after surgery was 5.7 years for Group 1, 7.5 years for Group 2, and 8.4 years for Group 3 patients. This is what we would expect and is pretty consistent with the estimates we give our own patients. Still, it’s nice to see it spelled out in black and white. One interesting point was that actual preoperative age did not have a significant effect on perceived age change after surgery. So, the question of when is the right time for surgery should really be a personal decision of when the time feels right and when you are ready, comfortable in the knowledge that you will enjoy a significant improvement regardless of age. And, once you do have that full face rejuvenation, you can be satisfied knowing that you look 8.4 years younger to everyone around you.

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