It is a desperate pursuit—a never ending battle with time and age, ultimately having a wrinkled body as the loser’s reward. People have long since tried to defy nature and maintain their appearances way back when they were still in their prime. It is a battle that we would all, inevitably, lose in the very end. But of course, the knowledge that we would all grow and look old does not stop most people to at least try and look their best as long as they can. That is where plastic surgery comes in.
A study conducted by the University of Toronto stated that people who underwent cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures showed on their faces an average look of 7.2 years younger relative to their actual age. The research methodology was performed by means of gathering medical students and asking them to assess 60 volunteers between the ages of 45-72, and was asked to approximate their ages based on the patient’s pictures before and after the surgery was performed. The research entitled Perceived Age Change after Aesthetic Facial Surgical Procedures detailed some new data gathering techniques and calculated quantitatively the significance of the results of the experiment. The lead author of the study, Dr. Nitin Chauhan, said that this study could be used by plastic surgeons all over the world in educating patients about the kind of results that they could possibly see after the procedure has been performed.
A spokesperson from the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Jeremy Hunt, said that this study only affirms the thoughts that the general public had about plastic surgery—that the fundamental goal of plastic surgery, besides the fact that it corrects physical errors found all over the body, is to just make patients look younger and as much as possible not change the way they originally looked. This sentiment was agreed upon by Dr. Joseph Ajaka, a plastic surgeon in the Cosmos Clinic in Sydney. He says that additional years may even be taken off through plastic surgery, especially when patients radiate the kind of happiness and contentment that they feel after a procedure that made them love the new way that they look.
In Australia alone, almost $560 million have been spent on plastic surgery procedures in 2011—that is already a 25% increase from data collected in 2010. Dr. Hunt also adds that as more and more people are turning towards non-invasive procedures, Australians may come to terms with how the American Society for Plastic Surgeons project the upcoming year for the US. Of course, while people are becoming more open to cosmetic surgery, doctors warn the public that there are indeed still risks that have to be understood before going under the knife. Australian surgeons have published in The Medical Journal of Australia news about concerns regarding the quality of service being offered by some “affordable” clinics, where the policies in hospitals or accredited clinics just do not apply. Dr. Hunt says that when it comes to the medical practice, the patient’s well-being should always be put first over possible income. Patients should also be wary of unaccredited clinics and the chances with which the services patients pay for may not live up to their expectations. He adds that the Australian government should be stricter in implementing medical guidelines to ensure patient safety and to uphold the standards with which plastic surgery has laid its foundations on.
Even though plastic surgery greatly improves the look of one’s exterior, Dr. Chauhan adds that the most impressive results come from the combination of cosmetic surgery performed by quality surgeons with a proper diet, good exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. Add all of these up, patients might be shaving more than just 7 years off their look.