Plastic surgery can give you back nine years, study says (VIDEO)

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Plastic surgery can make you look nine years younger than your chronological age, a new study suggests.

The study, published Feb. 20 in the Archives of Plastic Surgery, aimed to give an objective estimate of the number of years that could be "restored" through surgery, relying on neither the perceptions of patients nor the claims of surgeons.

It asked a group of medical students to compare before and after pictures of 60 plastic surgery patients between the ages of 45 and 72 who had undergone cosmetic facial surgeries.

The patients were divided into three groups, according to CBS: the first had face and neck lifts; the second had face and neck lifts and eyelid work; the third had eyelid work and face, neck, and forehead lifts.

Before surgery, the group of 40 estimated the patients to be 1.7 years younger than their actual ages, on average, MyHealthNewsDaily reported.

Six months after the surgery, the group took an average of 8.9 years off the patients' ages.

That worked out to an average of 7.2 years taken off the patients' perceived ages.

However, much depended on the type of surgery, according to NBC News: those who'd had only a face and neck lift were estimated to look 5.7 years younger than before surgery; those who'd also had an eyelid lift were estimated to look 7.5 years younger; and those who'd had face, neck and eyelid lifts along with a forehead lift were estimated to be 8.4 years younger after surgery. 

And the more procedures a patient had, the greater the difference between estimates of their age before and after surgery, ABC cited the study as saying.

The study authors — from the University of Toronto in Canada and NorthShore University Health System in Evanston, Ill. — wrote that: "There stems an innate desire to be as young and attractive as possible, which has been documented throughout much of the history of our species." 

They suggested that age change after surgery as perceived by others was usually the best barometer of the success of facial plastic surgery. 

"Our findings offer some objective sense as to our success with surgical intervention as facial plastic surgeons and provide us with more evidence to give patients when formulating their preoperative expectations," they wrote.

Dr. Julius Few, founder of the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in Chicago, told ABC News that the study confirmed what he had seen in his own practice.

"I believe it is a study that adds objective confirmation to what was already known to be associated with facial rejuvenation surgery," Few told ABC News.

NBC cited the study authors as saying that the results provided a guideline for plastic surgeons in "the delicate task" of telling patients what they could realistically expect to see after surgery.

However, NBC wrote, experienced surgeons knew to temper what they said to patients because of limitations in surgery's abilities to reverse the signs of aging. 

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