Do Facelifts Really Make You Look Younger? Researchers Say Yes.
- Michael Donald - April 18th 2017
When you are in the business of making people look younger, there can be some doubts. With so many miracle creams promising the fountain of youth, it can be difficult to convince some people that facelifts really can help them look years younger without making it obvious they have had work done. Not only that, there are pictures of celebrities and others who have had facelifts or other cosmetic procedures, ending up looking overdone with an unnatural, plastic look or lips that are a little too large. With all these examples of plastic surgery gone wrong, some potential customers may doubt your ability to help them return to a more youthful appearance. Luckily, new research has demonstrated that a good facelift really does work, helping people look years younger.
The study comes from researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore and was published in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. Using before or after images of thirteen women who had undergone facelifts with optimal results, courtesy of local plastic surgeons, the researchers asked 483 online participants to rate the photos. On a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the most positive, the study participants rated each photo on the woman's apparent age, her attractiveness, her apparent level of success, and her overall health.
When the raters estimated the perceived age of the pre-operative patients, their estimates were not significantly different from the patients' actual ages, an estimated 60 versus an actual age of 58, on average. However, things were different when the raters viewed the post-operative patients, six months after their facelift procedure. The participants judged those women to be significantly younger than their actual age, with an average estimated age of 56. It seems that the facelifts knocked about four years off the patient's apparent age, so these procedures did reach their goal of helping the patients look younger.
The youthful look was not the only benefit of the facelifts, according to this study. The raters also judged the post-operative patients to be more attractive than the pre-operative patients, at 57 versus 49 on the 100-point scale; more successful, at 63 versus 58; and more healthy, at 64 versus 55. Facelifts seemed to benefit these patients in more ways than just making them look younger with a more attractive, successful, and healthy look. This is what many patients seek when they opt for plastic surgery, not just fulfilling their desire to turn back the hands of time. Facelifts really can help positively influence social interactions.
With these positive findings, this study gives plastic surgeons more evidence of the effectiveness of a facelift. That said, the study does have its limitations. It was one small study, and the photos used were examples of the local plastic surgeons' best work. Results may not be the same in the hands of less-skilled surgeons.
This is not the first study to find positive results from plastic surgery procedures. In a previous study by Kansas plastic surgeon Dr. Eric Swanson, MD, 122 patients reported the outcomes of their facelifts. An average of seven months after their procedure, the patients reported their satisfaction with the results as well as the reactions of friends and family.
According to the study, almost 90 percent of the patients received positive reactions from others after the facelift and few received negative reactions. Almost all the patients were satisfied with their results, with almost half reporting the results were even better than they imagined. A majority of patients reported improved self-esteem and quality of life after their procedure, giving them a mental boost to go with their outward appearance.
It seems these patients really did look younger, too. According to how the patients rated themselves, the average age reduction after their surgery was about 12 years. That is more than a decade knocked off of their apparent age after their facelift.
Although how the patients perceive their own apparent ages differs from how others perceive their apparent ages, according to the results of the two studies, there seems to be a clear improvement after plastic surgery. The next time your patients wonder if a facelift really can roll back their apparent age, all you need to do is refer to these studies to say with confidence, yes, plastic surgery can help you look years younger. Research backs you up.