So…how many years younger does a facelift REALLY make you look?

One of the most frequently asked questions to plastic surgeons by patients interested in a cosmetic facelift procedure is “how much younger am I really going to look?” Unfortunately, it has always been one of the hardest to answer.  There are a number of identical twin studies that demonstrate that the twin who has a facelift will look younger than the one who did not.  It also seems from these same studies that the twin who had the facelift will always look younger than the other identical twin when followed through the years.  Still, none of these studies addressed just how much younger did the twin who had the facelift look when compared to the non-operated on twin; in other words, how many years difference did the facelift make?

Now, a recent study in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery may have an answer to the question of how many years younger does a facelift make one look?  In his study, Dr. Peter Adamson, had medical students randomly review photos of people and then guess the age of those photographed.  Some of the photos were of patients before their procedures and others were after their facial procedures.  The medical students rated those without surgery an average a 1.7 years younger than their actual age.  Those photos with patients who had undergone facial rejuvenation procedures had a decreased estimated age by an average of 8.9 years from their actual age. Since the reviewers gave all of the patients an average age of 1.7 years less than their real age, the facial rejuvenation patients had an average decrease on 7.2 years compared to their non-operated counterparts.  In patients who just had a facelift alone, the improvement was 5.7 years on average.  Those who had both a facelift and eyelid tuck improved by an average of 7.5 years and those who also had a Browlift had an average improvement of 8.4 years.

So now we have an answer.  On average, a facelift and eyelid tuck will take around 7.2 years off of your appearance and from the twin studies, we also know those same benefits are very long-lasting.

Herluf G. Lund, MD, FACS

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