Best Practices for FACE-Q Aesthetics Research: A Systematic Review of Study Methodology

Aesthet Surg J. 2023 Aug 17;43(9):NP674-NP686. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjad141.


Background: The FACE-Q Aesthetics module is a validated patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) that evaluates perspectives on facial aesthetic treatments. Improper administration and poor study methodology can compromise the validity and interpretation of this PROM.

Objectives: This systematic review sought to evaluate the administration and scoring of the FACE-Q Aesthetics scales within the literature.

Methods: A search of Ovid Medline, Embase, Cochrane, and Web of Science was performed on December 20, 2022, with the assistance of a health-research librarian (CRD42022383676). Studies that examined facial aesthetic interventions using the FACE-Q Aesthetics module as a primary or secondary outcome measure were included for analysis.

Results: There were 114 studies included. The Face Overall (n = 52, 45.6%), Psychological (n = 45, 39.4%), and Social (n = 43, 37.7%) scales were most frequently reported. Errors in FACE-Q administration were identified in 30 (26.3%) studies. The most common error was the presentation of raw ordinal scores rather than the converted Q score (n = 23). Most studies reported a time horizon for their primary analysis (n = 76, 66.7%); however, only 4 studies provided a rationale for this selection. Sample size calculations for the primary outcome were rarely performed (n = 9, 7.9%).

Conclusions: There continues to be limitations in PROM administration and the quality of articles that report FACE-Q Aesthetic scale data. The authors suggest that future investigators using the FACE-Q refer to the User's Guide regarding administration and scoring of this scale, report a rationale for the study time horizon, and provide an a priori sample size calculation for the primary outcome of interest.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Esthetics
  • Humans
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life*