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.

8 Comments
  • Jesse Smith Anonymous
    Posted on

    Most of the fillers that we use today are made of naturally occurring substances that are found within the body, with the exception of L-Polylactic Acid, which is converted by the body into collagen over time. These products are then concentrated, purified, and packaged for injection. They can be used to fill a myriad of different areas in the face. These products help replenish volume (thus the word filler). While some are placed over the bone, others are used as superficially as the deep dermis. Current temporary fillers on the market are approved to last from 6 to 36 months. Botox and Dysport are not fillers. These products neuromodulate muscles to temporarily stop wrinkles, especially in the forehead and around the eyes. These can be used in other areas as well, such as the orange peel chin, and to soften deep lip lines.

  • anonymous
    Posted on

    To anonymous regarding creams to firm skin: I have had no luck at all with any creams or serums to tighten the sagging skin on my jawline and neck. Five years ago I noticed major sagging in these areas and since then, I tried almost everything out there that claimed to firm and tighten. It seems there is NO ingredient in existence that is capable of serious firming. So I had several Thermage treatments, which were more effective than serums & creams, but definitely not effective enough to justify the expense and pain. Thermage has different results on different people, so you could try. I saved $$ for a face/necklift, and I think that is the only way to get the results I wanted. If you have only very slight loss of firmness, firming serums may help but don't expect to see a major difference, especially if you're already in the sagging stage. Choose a serum over a cream, as serums tend to be stronger, penetrate skin better, and contain more active ingredients than creams.

  • anonymous
    Posted on

    To Susan, The difference between Thermage & fillers is that Thermage is a treatment that uses the energy of "radiofrequency" to cause your skin to rebuild collagen, therefore it may tighten & firm the skin. It can take up to 6 months for the full effect to show, and more than one session may be necessary. It usually doesn't last more than a year or two. Thermage affects the collagen below the surface of your skin by heating it up, so it may burn or be uncomfortable to some degree. Fillers are substances that are injected into specific areas, and almost all of them are temporary. How long any given filler lasts and how often it needs to be re-injected depends on the filler as well as the person's individual reaction. Common examples of "fillers" are Botox, used to paralyze the facial muscles temporarily; Restylane is used to fill gaps or raise sunken areas, like the folds on the sides of the nose or a pitted scar; and of course lip fillers!

  • Anne
    Posted on

    Instead of having any fillers or plastic surgery, find yourselves a top notch dentist or othodondist who specializes in TMJ(Temporo Mandibular Joint). Many people do not realize that there neck pain, back pain, insomnia and many other discomforts are from having their jaws out of line. Also, when one's jaw is out of line and the palette shrinks, one can get hollow cheeks and sagging skin. Everyone reading this -at lease look at what I have mentioned and take it seriously. I wear a retainer at night for my upper jaw and a different one for my lower jaw during the day. It not only has helped me tremendously to relieve my aches and pains, but I look ten years younger. I am a 55 year old woman who uses botox and I am not against plastic surgery if people want it. I just think this is one case where it may be avoided.

  • anonymous
    Posted on

    is there any creams avaiable that will tighten the skin on the jaw? i cannot afford plastic surgery or a doctor's procedure. just a serum or cream..thanks

  • Susan Houben
    Posted on

    Is it best to try a conservative approach by trying the injectable fillers in both the jaw and perhaps the folds beside the nose and mouth to see the affect before advancing to the next stages? Also, could you recommend some of the fillers that would work best around the jowl line, their approximate price range and how long they last? Finally, what is the difference between fillers and "Thermage" ? Thank you. FYI I'm 48, fair-skinned and at goal weight.

  • Jesse Smith Anonymous
    Posted on

    We have known for some time that jaw bones lose vertical height and volume as we age, especially after the loss of teeth. As this occurs it allows for increased jowling, and sagging of the neck skin. Both jowling and increased neck sagging can certainly be addressed with a neck lift, but to fully enhance the youthful appearance of the lower third of the face, volume replacement is sometimes necessary as well. This can be achieved along the jaw lines with injectable fillers, an implant, fat transfers, or surgical jaw advancements. In the end, the ideal result replaces volume and repositions youthful curves and fullness to the correct areas of the face and neck, giving a well rested look with clean lines.

  • meliissa
    Posted on

    Cool, I have a chin implant

From around the web