Effect of facial rejuvenation surgery on perceived attractiveness, femininity, and personality

JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2015 May-Jun;17(3):202-7. doi: 10.1001/jamafacial.2015.0158.


Importance: To date, the conversation about facial rejuvenation surgery has focused on one goal: youthfulness. However, human beings are judged throughout life based on many other characteristics and personal qualities conveyed by their faces. The term facial profiling has been used to describe this act of determining personality attributes through visual observation.

Objectives: To introduce the concept of facial profiling to the surgical literature and to evaluate and quantify the changes in personality perception that occur with facial rejuvenation surgery.

Design, setting, and participants: This study was a retrospective evaluation of preoperative and postoperative photographs of 30 white female patients who underwent facial rejuvenation surgery between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013. Procedures included rhytidectomy (face-lift), upper blepharoplasty, lower blepharoplasty, eyebrow-lift, neck-lift, and/or chin implant. The 60 photographs (30 preoperative and 30 postoperative) of these patients were split into 6 groups, each with 5 preoperative and 5 postoperative photographs. The same patient's preoperative and postoperative photographs were not included in any single group to avoid any recall bias. At least 24 individuals rated each photograph for 6 personality traits (aggressiveness, extroversion, likeability, trustworthiness, risk seeking, and social skills), as well as for attractiveness and femininity. The raters were blinded as to the intent of the study.

Main outcomes and measures: Ratings of personality traits, attractiveness, and femininity.

Results: Of the 8 traits that were evaluated, analysis revealed 4 traits with statistically significant improvements when comparing preoperative and postoperative scores: likeability (+0.36, P < .01), social skills (+0.38, P = .01), attractiveness (+0.36, P = .01), and femininity (+0.39, P = .02). Improvement in scores for perceived trustworthiness (+0.22, P = .06), aggressiveness (-0.14, P = .32), extroversion (+0.19, P = .14), and risk seeking (+0.10, P = .27) did not demonstrate statistically significant changes.

Conclusions and relevance: Facial plastic surgery changes the perception of patients by those around them. Traditionally, these interventions have focused on improvements in youthful appearance, but this study illuminates the other dimensions of a patient's facial profile that are influenced by facial rejuvenation surgery. The data in this sample population demonstrate an increase in the perception of likeability, social skills, attractiveness, and femininity. To our knowledge, this is the first study in the surgical literature to evaluate these broader outcome measures after facial rejuvenation surgery.

Level of evidence: NA.

MeSH terms

  • Beauty*
  • Cosmetic Techniques*
  • Female
  • Femininity*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Personality*
  • Photography
  • Rejuvenation*
  • Rhytidoplasty / methods*