Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (PRS) is the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and I am sure that I will be discussing articles form PRS frequently. In the December issue (Jones, BM and Lo, SJ Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 130:6, 1317-1327) two plastic surgeons provide one answer to a question asked by almost every patient seeking face lift surgery. How long will it last? It is a nice article with some interesting information. The rejuvenation following surgery lasted longest along the jowl, nasolabial region (the fold between the nose and the corner of the mouth) and the marionette region. The neck, however, was the first to go!
Unfortunately, their follow-up was only 5.5 years. They did try to quantify the results, however, and came up with a figure that 76% of patients still looked younger at the end of this time. As the authors point out, other studies trying to answer the same question have concluded periods of time that were double this figure or more (8.5 -12.6 years)!
There are many other factors to consider in answering this question which were beyond the scope of this paper. How old is the patient, the quality of their skin, smoking history, etc. I usually tell patients 5-10 years and that the younger the patient the better and the longer the result. Jones and Lo wisely point out that pulling tighter is not the answer as “a long-lasting but abnormal appearing face lift is clearly undesirable.” AMEN!