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No Link Between Cosmetic Surgery & Good Looks

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Wednesday, May 6, 2015


plastic surgery

Does cosmetic surgery provide good looks for the facially insecure? A group of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons, as well as a head and neck surgeon, conducted a study for the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. A total of 49 patients ranging in age from 42 to 73 contributed 196 before-after cosmetic facial surgery photographs. They had undergone aesthetic facial surgery between July 4, 2006, and July 22, 2010. Thirty-seven of the patients were female and 12 were male. The average time lapse between the before-after photos was 13.2 months. Fifty raters under proper scientific controls were asked to “objectively and quantitatively evaluate the degree of perceived age change and improvement in attractiveness following aesthetic facial surgical procedures.”

The conclusion:

In this study, aesthetic facial surgery was effective in reducing the apparent age of patients but did not consistently improve their attractiveness …. attractiveness scores did not change with surgery even after controlling for patient age and procedure. No differences were observed in attractiveness scores across procedures (upper facial rejuvenation, lower facial rejuvenation, and upper and lower facial rejuvenation as previously described). 

“The drive to maintain a youthful appearance and attractiveness has been an important motivating factor leading patients to seek aesthetic facial surgery ….. the youthful energetic look has been portrayed as a potential competitive advantage in the modern workplace. Nevertheless, challenges and limitations exist that temper our goal toward reversing age-related changes.

“The combined effects of hair and skin changes, soft-tissue atrophy, bony remodeling, and photo-aging represent formidable obstacles for the facial rejuvenation surgeon. However, while we often have used the descriptors “more youthful” and “more refreshed” in our discussions with patients, many facial rejuvenation surgeons have often postulated that aging face surgery can make patients appear not only more youthful but also more attractive …..Therefore, a logical conclusion might be derived that if one looked more youthful he or she would also appear more attractive.

“Our data demonstrate that aging face surgery is effective in reducing the apparent age of patients but does not consistently improve a patient’s attractiveness. The age reduction is more substantial when the number of surgical procedures is increased, but this did not significantly improve overall attractiveness. Given the limitations of the attractiveness component of this study as described herein, further investigation is warranted to verify these findings.”

Full article in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery:
“Objective Assessment of Perceived Age Reversal and Improvement in Attractiveness After Aging Face Surgery”  http://archfaci.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1722859

Facial surgery risks:
Scarring, swelling and bruising, changes in skin sensation, hair loss, facial nerve injury, skin loss      http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/face-lift/basics/risks/prc-20020101

Psychological issues:  
“According to the Mayo Clinic Women’s Health Source, body image dissatisfaction is often associated with decreased self-esteem, self-confidence and psychological well-being. These emotional and psychological issues are what cause many women to turn to cosmetic surgery. If women feel they need a new face, a thinner waistline or bigger breasts to be likable and to feel good about themselves, cosmetic surgery may not be the answer. In fact, some studies show that extensive cosmetic surgery may make psychological issues worse. Understanding why you want to undergo cosmetic surgery may be the difference between a boost in self-esteem and disappointment at your decision.” http://www.aphroditewomenshealth.com/news/cosmetic_surgery.shtml

Woman’s Do-It-Yourself Plastic Surgery Nightmare:
“In search of an inexpensive, do-it yourself version of a silicone injection she had gotten from a doctor to smooth a scar, the Midwestern mother injected her lips and face with silicone she purchased over the Internet.”

Doctor Warns of Cosmetic Surgery After-Effects in Old Age   http://www.mybestbuddymedia.com/2012/09/doctor-warns-of-cosmetic-surgery-after.html

Primary Source:
Timothy Caulfield, Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything? When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash, Viking Press, 2015


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Photo: http://odyssey.antiochsb.edu/social-issues/plastic-surgery-popularity-increase/   CC

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.

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