People go for cosmetic facial procedures to look better and for people of middle or older age group, looking better usually translates into looking younger. Looking better represents a state of appearance which is subjective on the part of the beholder and there is no easy way to objectively quantify it. On the other hand, looking younger is a state of appearance which may be quantified by assessing the age before and after the facial procedures.

Such a study was carried out at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada jointly with the North Shore University Health System in Evanston, Illinois and was documented by two study authors from the former institute and one author from the latter. The study was published online in the journal Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery. The Lead author stated that the study should not be considered as a sales effort and should be used in projecting realistic results and in tempering some of the patients’ overreaching expectations from cosmetic procedures.

In the study, 40 volunteers who were first year medical students were shown photographs of 60 people, 54 women and six men in the age group of 45 to 72 years who underwent the facial procedures .The volunteers estimated their ages post procedure to be 8.9 years younger on an average than their actual ages. The volunteers were also shown pre-procedure photographs and estimated the ages of the same people to be 1.7 years younger on an average than their actual ages. This meant that the procedures yielded an estimated reduction of 7.2 years of age on an average in facial appearance.

It was observed that the extent of appearing younger was directly related to the extent of facial procedures undertaken. The people undergoing facelift and neck lift looked on an average 5.7years younger, adding procedure on eyelids reduced two more years on average and further adding forehead lift procedure reduced about one year in appearance.

In the above study, all the patients were treated by the same surgeon who was the co-author of the study at the University of Toronto. This would mean that results might have been different in the hands of another plastic surgeon and this was acknowledged by the Lead author. The surgeon was also a medical consultant to Allergan, Canada. Allergan, Irvin, California is the maker of Botox for wrinkle treatment.

The Lead author said that the study results may work as reference figures to the potential candidates who would be considering various options of facial procedures and that “the study offers objective evidence of cosmetic surgery’s success and may help doctors when counselling patients”. For the patients, as per the Lead author, the aim is not only to look younger but also “to look rejuvenated, more refreshed, less tired” without looking “operated on or unnatural.”

The Lead author also stated the “The goal of aesthetic facial surgery is to improve one’s appearance and to ‘turn back the clock’ and our data demonstrate a significant and consistent reduction in perceived age after aesthetic facial surgery.”

The demands for aesthetic facial procedures are on the rise as more people are using video communications and chats such as Skype and Face Book and they want to look good online.  In 2011, the Chin implant was the highest growing cosmetic procedure with 71% rise in number over 2010 figure, followed by Lip augmentation (49%) and Cheek implant (47%).

As demands grow, information sought on expected results of the procedures would be on the rise. The findings of the above study should be of much interest to the patients and plastic surgeons who are planning on the facial procedures.

[ Source: This write up is sourced from the articles ” How much younger does a facelift make you look” by Matt McMillen in Time Health Land dated February 21, 2012 and  ” Plastic Surgery does ‘ Turn back the clock’  ” by Meg Tirrell in Bloomberg dated February 21, 2012 ]