The findings of a recent study suggest that a more youthful appearance is not the only positive result of a facial-rejuvenation procedure.
A team of researchers from Georgetown University in Washington and Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, designed a study to look at facial profiling — the act of visually determining personality attributes — in the context of facial rejuvenation surgery. “To date, the conversation about facial-rejuvenation surgery has focused on one goal: youthfulness,” the authors write. “However, human beings are judged throughout life based on many other characteristics and personal qualities conveyed by their faces.”
With the goal of evaluating and quantifying the changes in personality perception that occur with facial rejuvenation surgery, the researchers undertook a retrospective evaluation of pre- and post-operative photos of 30 white female patients who underwent such surgery between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013. Procedures included rhytidectomy, blepharoplasty, eyebrow lift, neck-lift and chin implants. The 60 photographs were divided into six groups, each with five pre-operative and five post-operative photos. To avoid recall bias, no patient’s pre- and post-operative photos were included in any single group.
A minimum of 24 people rated each photo for attractiveness and femininity as well as for six specific personality traits: aggressiveness, extroversion, likeability, trustworthiness, risk-seeking and social skills. The raters were blinded as to the intent of the study.
What They Found
When the researchers scored the eight evaluated traits, they found four registered as statistically significant improvements post-op over pre-op: likeability, social skills, attractiveness and femininity. Improvement in scores for the traits of perceived trustworthiness, aggressiveness, extroversion and risk-seeking registered no statistically significant change.
The authors conclude that facial plastic surgery does indeed alter ways in which patients are perceived by others — and does so far beyond making them look younger.
“Traditionally, these interventions have focused on improvements associated with a youthful appearance,” they write, “but this study illuminates the other dimensions of a patient’s facial profile that are influenced by facial rejuvenation surgery. The data in this sample population demonstrate an increase in the perceptions of likeability, social skills, attractiveness and femininity.”
According to the authors, their study is the first to evaluate these broader outcome measures after facial rejuvenation surgery.
The study was published online April 9 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.