Do facelift procedures go beyond changing physical features to convey broader social benefits? A new study suggests this may be the case. The study, which recently appeared in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, aimed to show if facelifts affect perceptions of more than just youth, including those related to success and health.
The study included 504 male and female participants who evaluated before and after images of 12 facelift patients. Using a web-based survey, the participants were randomly shown either the pre- or post- facelift photo of each patient and asked to rate patient age on a sliding scale from 30 to 80 years in 1-year increments. They were also asked to rate their perception of patient attractiveness, success and health on a 100-point visual analog scale, starting at 50, where a more positive evaluation required moving the bar to the right and a more negative to the left.
Using a multivariate mixed-effects regression model, researchers showed several statistically significant results. Patient age after surgery was estimated to be on average 4.61 years younger than that before surgery. Compared to their pre-surgical images, post-facelift patients were also found to be significantly more attractive (6.72), successful (3.85) and healthy (7.65).
The study authors point out that their data confirm facelifts influence perceptions of youth and attractiveness, but also affect perceived health and success. “These findings suggest that facial rejuvenation surgery conveys an even larger societal benefit than merely restoring a youthful appearance to the face,” they write.
The authors intend this as a pilot study to grow an evidence-based body of literature that demonstrates how surgical facial rejuvenation procedures affect societal perceptions.