A new study in the January 2011 Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal says that wrinkles and sags in our face are not just the result of changes in our skin, but from age-related changes in our facial bones as well.
Dr. Robert Shaw, Jr., at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and his colleagues analyzed computed tomographic scans of the facial bones for three age groups: young (age 20 to 40); middle-aged (41 to 64); and older (65 and up). The scans of 20 women and 20 men were analyzed in each group.
Measurements revealed differences in the facial bone structure between age groups. The study found that the eye socket area became wider and longer in both men and women as they aged. Aging also caused reductions in bones in several areas of the face, including the brow, nose, upper jaw and lower jaw.
â??What we [plastic surgeons] focus on is the aging of soft tissue – how skin and fat ages, Dr. Shaw said.Those aren’t the only structures in your face. Bones provide scaffolding and your muscles, fats and skin drape over bones. If you tighten skin, but the scaffolding has deteriorated itâ??s not going to bring patients back to a youthful look.
Wrinkles probably occur from a combination of bones and the skin losing elasticity, according to Dr. Shaw.
The skin aging is a big part of it, he said. It’s not just using creams; it’s taking care of yourself for bone health and skin health. He suggested keeping up on calcium to maintain bone health.
The researchers believe that by using materials and techniques for skeletal augmentation, plastic surgeons can improve the outcomes of facial rejuvenation. Skeletal augmentation offers a permanent rejuvenation of the facial skeleton and may be performed in conjunction with soft-tissue redraping, according to the researchers.
Dr. Jonov is a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in plastic surgeries of the face, breast, and body at Seattle Plastic Surgery.