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Will the Results of Facelift Surgery Last?

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Facelifts were among the top five cosmetic surgical procedures in 2013, according to data published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) – up to 133,000 procedures were performed in 2013, up from 6% in 2012. This is not surprising as this procedure is especially popular among older people who want to rejuvenate their appearance. Face lift surgery cannot halt the aging process, but it can take years off your face.

One of the first questions asked by people who opt to have the treatment is how long the effects will last. The answer, although not conclusive, is about 10 years. According to plastic surgeons, the length of time for which the results would last actually varies between 2 to 10 years and depends on several factors.

In 2012, two U.K. based plastic surgeons conducted a study to evaluate the duration of facelift results and their findings were published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). They concluded that there was strong evidence that this cosmetic surgery can provide significant long-term aesthetic gains. They found that up to 76 percent of patients would still look younger 5½ years after a facelift than they did before the procedure.

The researchers evaluated photographs of 50 patients before the treatment, just after the treatment, and taken at follow ups between 3 months and 6 months, and at a lengthier follow-up at an average of 5 and a half years after the surgery. By looking at the photos, they could identify the changes that occurred post treatment and how far they were maintained. An innovative computer program was used to find out how well the results lasted by performing three sets of assessments – objective, subjective and overall measurements. The program allowed them to correctly identify the key points on the face including the jowl and neck and measure the change in position of these points. They also showed the photographs to another surgeon, a nurse and lay people so that they could also assess the results.

All the assessments showed lasting improvements. Key areas such as lines running from the nose to mouth and mouth to chin showed considerable improvement, with little deterioration in the years after the surgery.

In general, experts say that several factors determine how long a facelift will last. These include

  • The quality of the treatment
  • Genetics
  • Sun exposure
  • Lifestyle and habits
  • Skin type and elasticity
  • Overall health before and after surgery

The role of these factors is pretty evident when the results of patients are compared. For instance, the duration of the results would be different for a smoker and non-smoker, as smoking reduces blood flow to the facial skin. Extreme weight gain or weight loss can also affect the results.

A facelift can certainly improve the appearance of an aging face and for people who lead a healthy life style, results will last longer.

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