What Is the Best Age For a Facelift?
By Mary Lee Peters MD | January 16, 2012
How Long Will My Facelift Last?
Colleen is 48 years old, in the prime of her career, and particular about her appearance. Her face has changed as she has aged. The lines and sags create a tired appearance when she actually feels energized. Botox and chemical peels have erased a few wrinkles, but she has been wondering whether this might be time for a face lift to keep ahead of the curve. Should she do it now before her changes become extreme or wait until she can really tell more of a difference. If she waits until she is older will the result last longer?
A recent study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Vol 129.no1.p263) looked at the age a patient chose to have a facelift and compared it with their long term satisfaction and results. The results were surprising. Younger patients had longer lasting effects from their surgery and were more satisfied. Independent surgeon rating of the results also favored the younger patient.
The women in the study were grouped by age, under 50, 50-60, and over 60. The over 60 group consistently rated their early and long term satisfaction as lower than those in the two younger groups. The surgeons examined before and after photographs of these women to see if the facelift provided long lasting consistent change in five areas.
- The junction between eyelid skin and cheek skin
- The fold from nose to corner of the mouth, nasolabial fold
- The fold from corner of lip to jaw line, “marionette” line
- The jowls, excess skin that hides the jaw line
- Neck muscle bands and extra fat
A minimum of ten years of follow up was required to be part of the study. Women who had undergone facelift before the age of 50 had maintenance of their youthful appearance for many more years than those in the two older categories. The surgeon’s observation of the 5 anatomical areas was consistent with the patient satisfaction survey.
So Colleen might well choose to have the facelift she is considering for her early signs of aging so that she will have many years ahead to enjoy its benefits. The “maintenance” facelift while tissues are healthier has been shown to be more long lasting and more consistently satisfying both at year one and year ten.