Warning: Plastic Surgery Doesn’t Make You More Attractive

When it comes to anti-aging, plastic surgery is usually seen as the last resort – the trump card when all other methods don’t seem to be working anymore. Although there are ways in which plastic surgery can negatively affect your wellness and wellbeing, it has generally been considered effective. A new study, however, that has just been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that whilst plastic surgery can visually reverse the signs of aging, it cannot increase attractiveness.


The researchers were surprised to find that there were no statistically significant improvements in attractiveness amongst those who had had facial plastic surgery. They looked at date from 37 women and 12 men aged 42 to 73 who had had procedures affecting the face, such as facelifts, brow lifts and neck lifts, and these people were photographed before and after their surgery.


As part of the research, a team of 50 ‘raters’ was recruited, and these were randomly assigned to a rating group. The groups were then shown around 200 photographs of the participants, both before and after their facial surgery. The raters had to note how old they thought each patient was, and rate their attractiveness using a score from 1 to 10.


After surgery, patients were rated on average as being 3.1 years younger, but their attractiveness ratings didn’t change. Around 75 percent of the people in the study were rated between a 4 and a 7 in terms of looks, and the numbers did not change much between their pre and post-operative pictures. Contrary to what you might expect, nobody jumped up from (say) a 4 to a 9 as a result of their facial surgery.


For this reason, most cosmetic surgeons use phrases such as ‘refreshed’ or ‘less tired’ when describing the results patients can experience, and steer clear of claiming to improve attractiveness.

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