Cosmetic Surgery

A Facelift Won’t Necessarily Boost Your Self-Esteem

If you’re considering having a little something done, the good news is that you’ll probably end up looking almost a decade younger. However, the not-so-good news is that you won’t necessarily end up feeling any better about yourself. Self-esteem appears to be unconnected to a positive outcome after facelift surgery, according to a study done at New York Center for Facial Plastic and Laser Surgery, New York and published in October 2015 in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. Patients felt they looked almost nine years younger but there was no change in self-esteem.

A release from the publisher notes that facelift surgery can restore the appearance of youth to an aging face. As with all cosmetic surgery, psychosocial factors weigh heavily in both the decision to have surgery as well as defining the outcomes of the procedure. With the number of facelift procedures steadily increasing by nearly 30 percent since 1997, it is increasingly important to understand the psychosocial effects of this popular procedure.

Andrew Jacono, M.D. and coauthors of the study used a self-esteem scale to look at the outcome of facelift surgery as perceived by the patient to understand the association between self-esteem and the results of aesthetic facial rejuvenation.

The study included 59 patients undergoing facelift surgery from July through October 2013. Of the 59 patients, 50 completed the six-month post-operative questionnaire. All but two of the patients were women. The average age of the participants was 58.

Patients with low self-esteem had a statistically significant increase in self-esteem scores after surgery, while those with high preoperative self-esteem showed a statistically significant decrease in self-esteem scores. The group with average preoperative self-esteem showed a nonsignificant increase six months after surgery, according to the results. However, the overall difference between the average preoperative and postoperative self-esteem scores was not statistically significant.

While patients felt they looked nearly nine years younger, that perceived change in youthful appearance did not correlate with changes in self-esteem, the authors report.

“These findings underscore the complex nature of the human psyche as it relates to aesthetic surgery and demonstrates that patients exhibit a wide spectrum of psychological reactions after face-lift surgery,” the study concludes.

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