Even 5 Years After Facelift, 76% Patients Still Look Younger

One of the most common questions that I hear as a plastic surgeon is “how long will my facelift last?” I often reply that it depends – on the patient’s individual aging process, the nature of the technique, and future lifestyle factors. The appearance of aging is often very difficult to measure. That’s why I was interested to read a long-term follow-up study that found that – even five years after their facelifts – 76 percent of facelift patients still look younger than they did before.

There have been many studies that examine the long-term benefits of facelift surgery, including the development of aging factors. However, this new study in the November issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery is the first to perform rigorous, standardized assessments in a long-term follow-up. It examined standardized photographs of 50 patients who had undergone facelift surgery roughly 5 years previously.

To gauge these photographs, there were three separate sets of assessments used. The first was a series of objective measurements that examined common factors, such as the angle of the chin to the neck, or jowl height. There were also two separate types of subjective assessments – localized assessments examining key areas like the nasolabial folds, and an overall assessment of the patient’s appearance.

Based on these assessments, the researchers had a complete picture of how the face it changed over five years. All three sets of assessments showed significant improvement over that time. Although there was some loss of improvement, especially around the neck, the overall picture was still better than the patient had appeared before their facelift surgeries.

The researchers concluded that more than three-quarters of patients (76 percent) still looked younger five years after their facelift. As a result, they write, there seems to be no “significant objective or subjective sign of continued aging or ‘relapse’ in any area except for the neck.”