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Aging & Longevity

Even great results from face-lift may fail to raise self-esteem in older adults

Patients - mostly women - say they look 9 years younger but it does not help self-esteem

two older women making selfieOct. 29, 2015 – If you are looking at getting a face-lift to raise your self-esteem, you may want to check this research. The new study of older adults – mostly women – found that despite a positive outcome from the surgery there was no change in self-esteem among the patients.

Face-lift surgery can restore the appearance of youth to an aging face. In this study, the patients felt they looked almost nine years younger, according to the report published by JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.


As with all cosmetic surgery, psychosocial factors weigh heavily in both the decision to have surgery as well as defining the outcomes of the procedure. With the number of face-lift procedures steadily increasing by nearly 30 percent since 1997, it is increasingly important to understand the psychosocial effects of this popular procedure.

Andrew Jacono, M.D., of the New York Center for Facial Plastic and Laser Surgery, New York, and coauthors used a self-esteem scale to look at the outcome of face-lift surgery as perceived by the patient to understand the association between self-esteem and the results of aesthetic facial rejuvenation.

The study included 59 patients undergoing face-lift surgery from July through October 2013; of the 59 patients, 50 completed the six-month post-operative questionnaire.

All but two of the patients were women with an average age of 58 – the age range was 37-73 years.

Patients with low self-esteem had a statistically significant increase in self-esteem scores after surgery, while those with high preoperative self-esteem showed a statistically significant decrease in self-esteem scores.

The group with average preoperative self-esteem showed a nonsignificant increase six months after surgery, according to the results. However, the overall difference between the average preoperative and postoperative self-esteem scores was not statistically significant.

While patients felt they looked nearly nine years younger that perceived change in youthful appearance did not correlate with changes in self-esteem, the authors report.

“These findings underscore the complex nature of the human psyche as it relates to aesthetic surgery and demonstrates that patients exhibit a wide spectrum of psychological reactions after face-lift surgery,” the study concludes.

Related Aging & Longevity News from Senior Journal Archives

Can aging face become more likeable, feminine with plastic surgery?

Study in Journal of American Medical Association says there is more to the surgery than looking younger - April 9, 2015

More at Aging Section Page


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