Facelifts Don't Turn Ducks into Swans

Blinded ratings of before-and-after pictures of individuals who underwent facelifts confirmed that the patients looked younger, but did not make them any more attractive.

In a study conducted by plastic surgeons at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, 50 raters were asked to guess the ages of patients in the photographs and to rate their attractiveness on a 10-point scale. No rater saw both the "before" and "after" pictures of any individual patient.

On average, the raters estimated that patients were 2.1 years younger than their real ages before surgery, and 5.2 years younger afterward, for a net benefit of 3.1 "years saved," reported A. Joshua Zimm, MD, and colleagues, online in JAMA Facial & Plastic Surgery.

But mean attractiveness scores hardly budged, with as many patients showing decreases as there were with increases.

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