New study finds that a facelift can make you look about seven years younger

March 1, 2012

Patient age was estimated by evaluating pre- and postoperative photos.
Patient age was estimated by evaluating pre- and postoperative photos.

A scientific study published online, February 21, 2012, in Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery demonstrates that a facelift and other facial cosmetic surgeries can alter your appearance so that you appear about seven years younger than your actual age.

According to the study abstract, the goal was to quantify how many years younger 60 randomly chosen patients were perceived to be following various facial plastic surgeries. To make this assessment, raters studied pre- and postoperative photos.

The sixty patients, mostly women, ages 45 to 72 years, were divided into three groups based on the surgical procedure performed: group 1 (face- and neck-lift [22 patients]), group 2 (face- and neck-lift and upper and lower blepharoplasty [17 patients]), and group 3 (face- and neck-lift, upper and lower blepharoplasty, and forehead-lift [21 patients]).

The raters, who were first-year medical students, were shown the pre and postop photos in a random assortment and asked to estimate the patient’s age.  For purposes of the study “perceived age difference” was defined as the difference between chronological age and the age that raters estimated the patient to be. The change in estimated age after facial surgery was the outcome the study sought.

According to study results, patients were estimated to be 1.7 years younger than their chronological age before surgery and 8.9 years younger than their chronological age after surgery. Notably, the effect was less substantial for group 1 patients, who underwent less procedures, and most dramatic for group 3 patients, who underwent all three facial surgical procedures. In other words, patients who had undergone the greatest number of procedures, including face and necklift, upper and lower eyelid surgery and forehead-lift were perceived as being the youngest.

According to results published in Archives of Plastic Surgery, “Our study…demonstrates a significant and consistent reduction in perceived age after aesthetic facial surgery. This effect is more substantial when the number of surgical procedures is increased, an effect unrelated to the preoperative age of a patient and unaffected by other variables that we investigated.”

If you are considering a plastic surgery procedure, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery recommends that your doctor is board-certified and qualified to perform plastic surgery.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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