As we age, we have to face the inevitable. The skin on our bodies has less turgor and areas where it is evident most is in the face and the hands. Plastic surgeons do amazing work, making aging faces more youthful. Unfortunately, in most cases the nip and tuck is not eternal but lasts several months before the next appointment to tighten or puff up the areas. But even that has a shelf life before plastic surgery stops working.
Dr. Howard Langstein, a highly published Plastic Surgeon, has confirmed that as skin tends to sag, so do our bones. Only limited amount of surgery will help the aging face appear younger before the bone structure starts to sag and shift beneath the skin.
“If you simply pull the skin tight, it has a pretty unnatural look,” says Langstein, a plastic surgeon at the University of Rochester. “The look we’re born with — cherubic face, puffy cheeks — that’s the look of youth.”
“We saw changes around the eye, and then in the cheek area and in the jaw,” says Langstein. “And if you think about it, it kind of makes sense. When people age, the eyes appear hollow, deep-set. And, in fact, that’s what we found. The cheek bones right beneath the eye socket descend somewhat and come back in. As a result, they don’t give as much support to the lower eyelid.”
“If you think about the aged face, there’s sort of a lack of definition in the jaw line. And that’s what we saw in the CT scans.” As the jawbone became thinner, the chin receded, so that the scans of the oldest people looked a little slack-jawed.
“It’s one of those things that, in retrospect, you sort of say, ‘Duh, I should have known that!’ ” says Langstein. “Nothing stays the same on the body. Everything ages.”
Dr. Howard Langstein is a Patients’ Choice Plastic Surgeon in Rochester, NY. He is the Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center.