How many years does a facelift shave off your age?

The Globe and Mail

(Stock photo | Thinkstock/Stock photo | Thinkstock)

Go for a facelift, shed six years. Throw in eyelid work and a brow lift and you could shave a total of eight years off your looks.

That’s the gist of a Canadian study published online Monday in the journal Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

Researchers recruited medical students to guess the ages of 54 women and six men in before-and-after shots. The patients, aged 45 and 72, were divided into three groups: The first had face and neck lifts, the second also had double eyelid surgery, and the third group had face and neck lifts, eyelid surgery and forehead lifts.

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The students guessed that patients were 1.7 years younger than their chronological age before surgery, but post op, patients were perceived as 8.9 years younger than their actual age.

Plastic surgery wouldn’t be a $15 billion-dollar industry if patients weren’t pleased with the results. But until now, surgeons had little data to help predict how much younger a patient might look after going under the knife.

“It’s nice to have an objective measure,” lead researcher Nitin Chauhan, a plastic surgeon at the University of Toronto, told Time.

The study may play a role in expectations management, he added. “Nothing we do is magical,” Dr. Chauhan said. “We do certainly get 60-year-old patients who want to look 40.”

In the cost-benefit analysis, the numbers are stark. Eyelid work costs $3,000 to $8,000, a forehead lift is $3,000 to $8,000, and a neck and face lift will set you back up to $12,000, according to PlasticSurgeryInfo.ca.That means you could spend up to $28,000 to shave off eight years. (And that’s not accounting for surgery risks including infection, scarring, nerve damage, hair loss and blurred vision – none of which add a youthful glow.)

There must be a better way to exude vitality after 40. It’s a shame there isn’t a study using before-and-after photos to evaluate the perceived age of patients who embark on a regimen of stress reduction, exercise such as yoga and a whole-foods diet.

In the plastic surgery study, the more work patients had done, the younger they looked post op. But researchers noted that all procedures were done by the same surgeon, Peter Adamson, also at the University of Toronto.

In other words, results may vary.

Are the benefits of facelifts, eyelid work and brow lifts worth the price?

Follow on Twitter: @AdrianaBarton

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