Forget face lifts – surgeons believe ‘bone lifts’ could be the future of age-defying cosmetic treatments.

As we get older, it’s not just our skin that sags and wrinkles. Facial bones shift and droop with time, too.

Now for the first time, scientists have mapped these bony ageing changes in detail over the course of eight years.

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School researchers claim the findings could open a ‘whole new paradigm’ in facial ageing prevention.

They said osteoporosis drugs and mechanical devices used in craniofacial surgery could treat the symptoms of ageing.

Lead researcher Boris Paskhover, of the university’s department of head and neck surgery, studied a group of fourteen patients, aged between 40 and 55.

Over the course of the study, the patients underwent repeated facial imaging that included the entire mid-face and cranium.

Skeletal changes were found to occur in the exact regions where cosmetic surgery is popular – around the cheeks, eyebrows, eye socket and forehead.

Dr Paskhover also noted decreases in three important angles used to measure facial geometry as the facial bones appears to shift and tilt forwards.

‘These bony changes likely contribute to the appearance of many common mid-face ageing changes,’ he wrote in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

He pointed to prominent nasolabial folds, facial hollowing, loss of dentition and the senile nose as results of such bone drooping.