(iStock)

THE QUESTION People who yearn for a more youthful appearance sometimes opt for a facelift to help achieve that. Do they feel better about themselves after this cosmetic surgery?

THIS STUDY involved 59 people, mostly women (average age, 58) who had elected to have rhytidectomy (facelift surgery). Before the surgery and six months after, they completed a standardized survey that evaluated their self-esteem. After the facelift, the participants indicated that they appeared to be about nine years younger, on average.

However, taken as a group, their average self-esteem ratings overall did not change, despite their perception of a more youthful appearance. Ratings on the self-esteem scale improved for about 48 percent of the group, declined for 30 percent and stayed the same for 22 percent. Self-esteem generally improved among those who had low self-esteem before the facelift, but self-esteem dropped among people who had high self-esteem before the surgery. It remained essentially unchanged among those with average self-esteem pre-surgery.

WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? People considering facelift surgery. The number of facelifts has increased by nearly 30 percent in the past two decades; today, about 130,000 U.S. residents a year have such surgery. A facelift, which has become the most popular cosmetic procedure among people 65 and older, cost an average of $7,000 last year.

CAVEATS Some participants had other cosmetic procedures — eyelid surgery, skin resurfacing or a forehead and eyebrow lift — done at the same time as the facelift. Whether this affected participants’ self-esteem evaluations was not determined.

FIND THIS STUDY Oct. 29 online issue of JAMA Plastic Surgery (www.jamafacialplasticsurgery.com; click “Online First”).

LEARN MORE ABOUT facelifts at www.mayoclinic.org and www.plasticsurgery.org (click on “Cosmetic”).

The research described in Quick Study comes from credible, peer-reviewed journals.