Does An Aging Jaw Make A Facelift Futile?

A few years ago, a Duke university study showed us that forward-slanting bone growth may impact aging more than gravity. And now, researchers from the University of Rochester have offered further confirmation of the slanting that may contribute to sagging.

Published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the study examined 120 facial CT scans-more three-dimensional than x-rays-of men and women in three age groups: young (20 to 36), old (65 and up), and middle. The researchers measured the mandible, or jawbone, and found a significant difference in its length, width and angle over the years.

While the jaw length decreases with age, its angle increases. These changes have an unflattering effect on facial definition, including sagging skin.

"The jaw is the foundation of the lower face, and changes to it affect facial aesthetics," explains University of Rochester's chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Howard N. Langstein, MD. "These measurements indicate a significant decline in the jaw's volume as a person ages, and therefore less support of soft tissue of the lower face and neck."

This could mean a future of facelifts supplemented by structure-improving procedures, such as chin implants, which can enhance the results that comes with the tightening and removal of excess skin.

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