I confess: Sometimes I think about getting a little work done. Nothing major. It’s just that on occasion, I look in the mirror and think the bags under my eyes loom so large they wouldn’t be allowed as carry-ons on a plane.
Mightn’t something be done? Mightn’t the cost and risks be minimal, and the benefits beautiful?
Thankfully, a study published this month in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery has helped pull me back from that ledge. (Yes, it’s a ledge — for a health reporter who believes in self-acceptance and has written far too many medical stories that begin “Everything was fine until that minor operation…”)
The study has garnered headlines like this one from CNBC: “How much younger does plastic surgery make you look? 3 years.” And this on Fox News: “Cosmetic surgery subtracts years, doesn’t add beauty.”
Phew. Suddenly, there was a counter-force to all those seductive before-and-after photos. Go under the knife for a three-year gain? (Or in my case, to look like I’d slept an extra hour?) Not likely.
But hold on. I spoke to the study’s author, Dr. Joshua Zimm, a facial, plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital, and he warned me that many people were spinning his study’s results into something they weren’t.
“There are some out there saying if you get a facelift, you’re only going to look three years younger,” he said. “That is absolutely not what this study says. I want to be very clear.”
So what does it show? Continue reading