It turns out plastic surgery really does make you look younger, one study has found – on average, in the case of one Canadian doctor’s patients, 7.2 years younger.
Some plastic surgeons “tend to use the terms more youthful and more refreshed, but precise quantification of these attributes has remained elusive,” a team of cosmetic surgeons wrote in a study published Monday in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.
Hoping to come up with “an objective measure of surgical success,” the researchers, from the University of Toronto and the NorthShore University Health System in Evanston, Ill., asked first-year medical students to view pictures of 60 patients (54 women and six men, age 45 to 72) upon whom one of the physicians, Dr. Peter A. Adamson, had operated. Of the surgical patients, 22 had facelifts and neck lifts only, 17 also had surgery on their upper and lower eyelids and 21 had the first two procedures as well as forehead lifts.
The 40 medical-student “raters” were divided into four groups of 10. Each group viewed the same set of randomized patient photos – 30 pictures for each group, including photographs from before and six months after surgery – and provided estimated ages for the patients. On average, the med students estimated that the patients were 1.7 years younger than their actual chronological age before surgery and 8.9 years younger than their chronological age after surgery.
Patients who had more procedures generally looked younger, the raters reported. For patients in the first group, who had facelifts only, perceived age fell 5.7 years; in the facelift and eyelid group, it fell 7.5 years and in the group that also had forehead lifts it fell 8.4 years.