Plastic Surgery Doesn’t Make You Look That Much Better, Says Study


Are you hoping to shave ten years off your appearance by doing expensive and painful shit to your face? Before you get on the operating table, you might like to know that a new study suggests the visual effects of plastic surgery (specifically: face-lifts, brow-lifts, and eyelid surgery) are not nearly as dramatic as we’ve been led to believe.

According to The New York Times, the newly published study tested the visual effects of plastic surgery by asking respondents to assess the attractiveness of various “after” photos without giving them any context as to what the study was about. They also had a group of people (controlled for various factors) assess the attractiveness of the “before” photos. The difference in perceived attractiveness was “minimal.” They also asked respondents to assess how many years younger various “after” photos looked than their “before” photos. The findings were not drastic:

“The raters estimated patients’ ages to be about 2.1 years younger, on average, than their chronological age before surgery, and 5.2 years younger after surgery, an overall difference of 3.1 years, with minimal changes in attractiveness”

The explanation for these un-dramatic results? If you look at it one way, the patients simply hadn’t gotten enough surgery, as the procedures studied do not address the “loss of plumpness,” “wrinkles”or “age spots” that tell you someone’s not in college anymore. “They’re looking at a face that looks older in some ways, and younger in some ways,” said psychologist Nancy Etcoff. “It’s difficult for the raters, and confusing.”

If you look at it another way, this study just confirms what I’ve always believed, which is that, short of some kind of massive face transplant, plastic surgery is much more for the ugly that is in your head than the ugly that is on your face. “But I’m not doing it for how others see me!” you may say. “I’m doing it for myself!” To which I ask: if you are getting elective surgery, the stated purpose of which is to change your appearance to be more conventionally attractive, and the only thing that actually changes is how you think you look (please note that “looks” are still the primary concept at play), there are far less invasive ways to achieve the same effect, like saying daily affirmations in the mirror or #posting #mad #selfies. Worked for me!

(Via The New York Times)

Photo: Shutterstock

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    • Lily

      Yup totally true. If I were to get surgery I’d get lipo (I’m normal weight) and a nose job (I have a perfect triangle nose but for a tiny bump no one else can ever claim to see). This would make no difference to anyone but me feeling thin and nose bump less

    • Vierotchka

      It all depends on what your face is like before surgery.

    • Tania

      I would fix the lump on my nose from where I broke it, because 1) a doctor once thought it was a giant pimple, and not crooked cartilage, and 2) at certain angles, it looks like a giant Snape nose. I wouldn’t get it made smaller, just made back to what it would have been if I hadn’t broken it when I was a stupid six-year-old.

    • Amercan111

      Interesting social phenomenon that only FEMALES have commented thus far. Just saying?

    • Sherrie Ludwig

      Plastic surgeons are great at fixing injury-related flaws, like scars and crooked noses ,or birth defects like cleft palates (results are amazing!) but I think that people should not expect miracles on the “normal”. Usually, the big changes effected in the normal face with “work” done are for the worse (Joan Rivers, anyone?)

    • Blarn E Stone

      I wish I could get rid of my acne scars.

    • fitgirl 60

      If you really want to look fit, vital and healthy…and even younger…try exercise and eating healthy…its a lot cheaper too!!

    • justin

      Am I the only one that thinks its odd they used the word shit?

      • AL

        i think it’s awesome

      • todtown

        Yeah. That caught my attention to. I had to do a double take to make sure I was reading it right!!

    • rr3A

      Two aunts and friend’s mother in law…had eye brow lift…minimal face lift…just enough to get rid of that bulldog look….they look great!!!!….most importantly….that’s what they say…..the very first they did before the face lift….a dentist corrected their bite….only one required implants…braces were enough…..the theory is that once your bite is correctly placed then a plastic surgeon can accurately perform his work….I am in no means a Doctor…only repeating it for this blog ….

    • MIKE

      Justin that whole shit thing,I’m with ya!

    • elle

      the weird thing is that you see people doing surgery just for the heck of it. young girls 18-20 doing botox. its cray. i think it has become like the trendy thing to do for some whether they need it or not. its a shame.
      ..but.. don’t get me started on the duck lips…

    • flash129

      For the vast majority of people on the planet, looking three to five years younger is looking better. As a fashion industry worker I have seen numerous tucks, lifts, and procedures. Most by far do exactly what they are supposed to do. Improve one’s look. These procedures do work. The real trick is having a good Dr. that knows what needs to be done as well as when to say NO.

    • Chach08

      Someone had to fund a study to figure this out? What a waste of money and a waste of resources even posting this article.

    • Vigilant

      Very unprofessional writing and downright silly assumptions. I am a trainer so keeping myself in shape is my job, but only a surgeon could correct a chin issue, and it was an excellent and dramatic result, so this study took a very narrow view and came up with a narrow-minded opinion.

    • JM

      I don’t like the use of the word s_ _t.

    • Consuelo

      If ever there was a fountain of youth in a bottle it has to be Nerium AD. My before and after photos after just a few weeks are remarkable.

    • AveJoe

      If you think people are stupid to pay so much money without knowing what they are doing is just showing your stupidity. I read many studies and say this today and say another things altogether another day, I think they just want to get attention, like small kids. Too many study and too many different results, Amusing..

    • Sydney Lyell

      There’s always the natural face lift approach to turning back the clock with those facial toner machines that use electrical stimulation. Does anyone use them?

    • Sandy Ferguson Berrett

      As a mid-sixties babyboomer, I know lots of people who have spent up to $30K to get face lifts but not one of them look as good after the surgery as they did before…and many look way worse. I would never go under the knife. I say, spend your money on something worthwhile, put a smile on your face, be yourself and you will attract people into your life who are positive and real. You can’t go back and undo that facelift that you will regret.