This is one of the first and most pressing questions anyone considering a facelift asks. It’s completely understandable considering the cost and the recovery time involved. Until a few years ago, it was virtually impossible for a Plastic Surgeon to give an honest answer. No long-term studies had been done and it was difficult to conduct a study because once a patient has a procedure and is happy, they don’t tend to return.

However, the results of the first long-term follow-up study were made available in the December 2012 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). According to the study, five years after facelift surgery, 75% of patients still looked younger than they did before surgery.

According to the study, “The researchers analyzed standardized photographs of 50 patients who had undergone facelift surgery an average of 5½ years previously. Three different sets of assessments were performed to determine how well the facelift results held up over time:
• Objective measurements-such as jowl height and the angle of the chin to the neck
• Subjective assessments of key areas-such as lines from the nose to mouth and mouth to chin
• Overall subjective assessment-global score of the patient’s appearance


Of course there are going to be slight changes resulting from continued aging, however overall the results are great. Two areas tended to show the greatest signs of aging. They are the angle of the chin to neck and specifically the neck area. The study showed more lasting improvement in the area of lines running from the nose to the mouth and the mouth to chin lines. In fact, in these two areas the improvements showed little deterioration in the years since surgery.

The great news is that according to the study, “Scoring suggested that 76 percent of facelift patients can expect to look younger 5½ years after a facelift than they did prior to the facelift,”

This kind of information makes it so helpful for Plastic Surgeons in guiding patient expectations. It is so much easier to make an informed decision about whether to move forward with a facelift when you consider that the vast majority of patients will continue to look better a good 5.5 years after the surgery than they did before. That makes it much easier to take the plunge with greater confidence.

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