Rochester, N.Y. — Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have found that wrinkles and sagging result not only from changes in the skin, but from aging-related changes in the facial bones, Newswise.com reports.
The research team analyzed tomography scans of the facial bones in young (age 20 to 40), middle-aged (41 to 64), and older (65 and up) age groups. According to the study, all scans were performed for medical reasons, not for planning plastic surgery. The scan results showed that significant differences in the facial bone structure between age groups.
“The facial skeleton experiences morphologic change and an overall decrease in volume with increasing age,” the researchers wrote.
One prominent change was an increase in the area of the orbital aperture, which appear to widen and lengthen with age. Aging also appears to reduce angles in glabellar, pyriform and maxillary bones. The researchers also observed that the length and height of the mandible decreased with age, as well. Although these changes occurred in both sexes, many occurred in women in the young and middle age groups. In men, most changes occurred between middle and old age.
“The bony components of the face are important for overall facial three-dimensional contour as they provide the framework on which the soft-tissue envelope drapes,” the authors wrote, adding that by using materials and techniques for skeletal augmentation, plastic surgeons can optimize results for patients seeking facial rejuvenation.
The study appears in the January issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.