If you one day imagine going under the knife to look dramatically younger and more attractive, new research suggests that your hopes may be dashed.
In an August 2013 study published by JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, participants rated preoperative and postoperative photographs of 37 females and 12 males who underwent procedures like face, neck and brow lifts and the upper and/or lower eyelid surgery known as blepharoplasty at a private practice in Toronto, Canada. The patients ranged in age from 42 to 73, with an average age of 57 years.
The raters (made up of 38 females and 12 males) estimated patients to be about 2.1 years younger than their chronological age before surgery, and about 5.2 years younger after the procedures. As a result, the average overall years improved by cosmetic surgery was determined to be 3.1 years.
The plastic surgery patients were also graded on their looks after undergoing the procedures, though the increase in rated attractiveness was so minute that researchers deemed it “insignificant.”
“This study attempted to objectify assumptions of aesthetic facial surgeons, namely, that aesthetic facial surgery allows people to look younger and by inference, more attractive,” says study researcher A. Joshua Zimm, M.D., of New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Institute.
“While this study has demonstrated that aging face surgery will objectively make one appear younger, it may, but does not necessarily improve one’s attractiveness; however, this point needs further investigation,” he added.
Researchers say the subjective nature of what individuals may or may not perceive as “attractive” poses a challenge in accurately assessing the results of cosmetic surgery.
There are also other potentially major flaw studies that may have significantly skewed results, contends Wayne, N.J., plastic surgeon Parham A. Ganchi, M.D., F.A.C.S.
“Just taking the average of random age guesses over such a wide range of procedures that can be so different in their results and effects is not very useful, especially with such a range in patient age on top of it—it’s like comparing apples to oranges to grapes,” says Ganchi.
Injectables and laser procedures that are popularly performed today alone or in tandem with the above plastic surgeries were also not included in the study.
“Volume is critical to looking younger—and anyone doing plastic surgery now has to understand and use the concept for best results. Tightening and getting rid of loose skin in the neck and jawline is important, but newer lift techniques that pull tissues together to make them look fuller (and that may be done in conjunction with fat or Restylane injections to create volume in the middle of the face) can make a dramatic difference—and that’s where I think the concept of improving attractiveness comes in,” explains Ganchi.
“If you’re just tightening and pulling skin like was done in the old days, that’s when people look like they’ve been worked on and don’t necessarily look more attractive,” he adds.
Find out if your hair is aging you and learn how to turn back the strands of time.
Highlight your eye color. Flaunt your body shape. Harness your confidence. Take our quizzes to better know yourself and get science-based, individualized advice to embrace your true beauty.
Find out if your hair is aging you and learn how to turn back the strands of time.Take Quiz
See how your BMI and waist-to-hip ratio is affecting your beauty and health.Take Quiz
Great sex does more than blow your mind—it's good for your heart, your head and your beauty.Take Quiz
Define your curves and discover the best ways to eat, exercise and dress for your figure.Take Quiz