Behind the scenes: How we determined patients still look younger five years after facelift surgery
By Dr. Barry M. Jones--London, England Monday, December 17, 2012 via the ASPS blog
One of the questions people enquiring about facelift surgery will ask most frequently is "How long will it last?" Surprisingly, there is very little scientific literature to enable doctors to give an honest and straightforward answer so they tend to pluck a number out of the air.
To study patients over a long period of time is difficult since generally once they have had their operation and are happy, they tend not to return. Making comparisons from photographs is also difficult since the photographs have to be all taken in the same way so that they are comparable. Since 2001, I have used a standardized photographic system to take pictures of all my patients both before and after surgery. From 2001 to 2011, I carried out more than 1,700 deep plane facelifts. Trawling through my photographic archive we found 50 of these patients who had come back at an average of 5 and a half years after their facelift surgery for an unrelated reason such as seeking advice about a different aspect of their appearance. This gave me the opportunity to re-photograph them. So, my recent study about how long a facelift lasts, was based on these 50 patients for whom we had photographs before their facelift surgery, at routine follow-up between 3 and 6 months and then at longer term follow-up at an average of 5 and a half years after their operation. We wanted to try to measure changes in various aspects of the face as a result of the operation and to see how well those changes had been maintained over a long period of time.
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