Plastic Surgery Doesn’t Consistently Improve Attractiveness

A new study also shows that it won't shave off as many years as you'd think.

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August 1st, 2013

Plastic Surgery Doesnt Consistently Improve Attractiveness

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.”

MORE: Will Plastic Surgery Make You Happier?

“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.

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