Every patient who is planning to undergo a facelift wants to know how long the results will last? The answer I give to the question is two-fold:
– The facelift will last as long as you live, since you will always look better than you would have looked if you had not undergone the facelift. It’s a bit like setting a clock back. The clock will continue to run forward but it will never catch up to where it would have been if it had not been set backward.
– The real question that most patients want answered is how long before they
return to the point they were at before surgery? An excellent article by a pair
of British plastic surgeons sheds light on this matter (Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, December 2012, p. 1317). Fifty facelift patients with an average age of 51 were photographed before their facelifts and again at 5 ½ years after surgery. Their photographs were studied and facial measurements analyzed. The findings of the study were as follows:
1. As determined by measurement of different facial landmarks on the photographs, after 5 ½ years, only the neck showed signs of deterioration from the results obtained immediately after surgery. Necks maintained on average only 31% of the improvement obtained by surgery. At 5 ½ years, the jowls, nasolabial folds, and marionette regions were unchanged from their appearance immediately after surgery.
2. Compared with the way they looked before surgery, 76.4% of patients remained improved by their own estimates at 5 ½ years. Of the remaining 23.6%, 21% felt that they had returned to their preoperative appearance and only 2.6% felt that their appearance had worsened.
In a discussion of this article on p.1328, Dr. James Stuzin makes several valid points.
– These patients averaged 51 years of age. These younger patients tend to maintain the results of their facelifts better than older patients who are the ones who are usually having facelifts.
– In the article’s photos, the jowls aged after surgery, something the authors appear to have overlooked.
– There may be better techniques for treatment of aging necks than the authors employed, and these may yield longer lasting results.
Despite these limitations, this study gives us some hard numbers to give to patients when they ask about the longevity of their facelift.
Should you have further questions, please contact my Los Angeles Plastic Surgery Clinic at (818) 981-3333.
George Sanders, M.D.