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Facelift: Does Looking Younger Equal Longer Life?


Facelift: Does Looking Younger Equal Longer Life?A study of 250 facelift patients reveals many subjects lived longer than their peers. A boost in self -esteem may be the reason. Plus, if you’re thinking about cosmetic surgery, you may already be a person who tends to safeguard health.

(HealthDay News) -- A facelift may not only smooth the ravages of time. It also could add a decade to your life.

A study done back in 2001 suggested women who have facelifts live 10 years longer than women who don't get the plastic surgery. A boost in self-image and the resulting optimism may be the reasons, the researchers said.

Drs. Lane Smith and Stephan Finical, whose practice is in Charlotte, N.C., based their finding on a comparison of the average age of death for 250 women who had facelifts at the Mayo Clinic between 1970 and 1975 with the average age of death for all American women. The results were reported at an annual meeting of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in New York City.

"Changing the appearance of the face, in many situations, can have a very dramatic effect on the perception of self, on self-esteem and on body image," said Dr. Mark Jewell, a Eguene, Ore. plastic surgeon and former chairman of the society's communication commission. "And the results of this very credible piece of research are things we see in our patients all the time. I really believe there is a connection between the body and the mind, and this is just another example of it."

Changing the appearance of the face, in many situations, can have a very dramatic effect on the perception of self-esteem and on body image.
Could it be that women who can afford a facelift live a healthier, less stressful lifestyle?

"Absolutely," Jewell said. "Their lifestyle could have skewed the results here. It was not any type of controlled study. At the same time, I think this is a very credible study, and one of the first of its kind. There have been a variety of other studies that assess the psychological benefits of plastic surgery. This is one of the first that addresses such things as physiology and longevity."

More than 5.7 million cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures were performed in 2000 in the United States, the society reports. Between 1997 and 2000, the number of plastic surgery procedures jumped 173 percent in the United States. The vast majority were performed on white women. Nearly one in 10 women aged 55 to 64 have had some form of cosmetic surgery, and another 16 percent expect to have it sometime in the future, the society said. For 2003, 8.7 million cosmetic procedures were done, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in Arlington Heights, Illinois. That was a 32 percent increase over the previous year, with the vast majority performed on white women.

"I think that people who have plastic surgery are motivated, health-conscious individuals who are more likely to eat right, exercise and take care of themselves," said Dr. Lyle Leipziger, chief of plastic surgery at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. "So it's not surprising that this type of person would have greater longevity."

Facelift: Does Looking Younger Equal Longer Life?"In my own practice, I see patients post-operatively having increased confidence, greater self-esteem and an overall improved outlook on life. I don't know if that translates into a longer life, but it seems to translate into a more productive one," he said.

Jewell said, "Our statistics show a dramatic increase in procedures and the acceptability for all kinds of plastic surgery in the United States. Twenty-five years ago, facelifts and other kinds of procedures were relegated to the matrons of society, and since that time they have become well-accepted procedures."

"Many people are very young inside. What we are trying to do is match the exterior with that interior youthful spirit," said Jewel.

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