Photos showing positive post-facial surgery results garnered good marks for youthful appearance, health and societal success, one study found. But the study was brief and tapped a largely homogenous population.
Paraphrasing playwright William Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet, people worldwide have sought the elusive fountain of youth for millennia; and to obtain it these days, they sometimes go under a surgeon’s knife.
Why turn one’s self over to cosmetic procedures such as a face or an eyebrow lift, or blepharoplasty? One small, brief study, involving online responses to images of more than 12 people, sought to find an answer to this question. The Journal of the American Medical Association/Facial Plastic Surgery published the findings online in April 2017.
Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure to remove fat deposits, excess tissue or muscle from the eyelids to improve the appearance of the eyes.
This study’s results suggest that people seek such facial procedures to ameliorate a personal appearance, specifically to yield a more youthful look, and to improve others’ impressions of regarding their attractiveness, health and societal success.
Researchers of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, utilized input from 504 people over an approximately three-week period between August 30th and September 18th 2016.
Data from 504 total participants that completed the online survey was used in the final analysis, of which 333 were women, 165 men and 6 unspecified. Approximately 66% were white women and 39% had earned a four-year college degree. The participants had a mean age of 29 years.
The researchers, medical doctors and one bachelor’s-level individual, presented the unretouched pre- and post-operative photos of a dozen white, female facial surgery patients, as well as some pictures of those who hadn’t undergone surgery.
Each responder was asked to approximate a face’s age after seeing just one picture of it, and provide responses ranking that face’s attractiveness, health and degree of societal success. The researchers included the latter element based on undocumented societal perceptions suggesting that a person’s attractiveness is directly correlated to societal success.
The research findings trended toward societal perceptions, with those responding giving higher ratings for a younger-looking face, its relative attractiveness, and presumption of good health and success. Faces perceived as older received poorer scores for attractiveness and subsequent assumptions of poorer health and success.
This study generated data confirming that people are perceived as more attractive and youthful following facial rejuvenation surgery. In addition, the results suggest that these procedures are also associated with improved ratings of success and health.
The researchers note several study limitations, including a small sample size, narrow window of observation, as well as limited age range and diversity of participants.
Written By: Susan Mercer Hinrichs, MA, MBA, CPhT