Facial plastic surgery improves patients’ quality of life, but the effects are different for men and women, researchers report in the March/April issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

Jason A. Litner, MD, of the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues, conducted a study of 93 facial plastic surgery patients, of whom 82 were female; 49% of patients underwent rhinoplasty and the remainder underwent surgery for the aging face. They were assessed after surgery and again 3 months post-surgery using the 59-item Derriford Appearance Scale (DAS59).

The study results found that there were significant improvements in DAS59 scores across all the domains of the scale and for all females. For men, the quality-of-life improvements were only in terms of general self-consciousness of facial appearance, and the quality-of-life domains most affected by rhinoplasty and surgery for the aging face were different.

"Studies such as ours call attention to the fact that cosmetic surgery is not a superfluous ‘want’ but rather an answer to an important health concern that, in the patients’ eyes, cuts to the very heart of social desirability," the authors conclude. "It can, therefore, have implications for psychological happiness and quality of life equivalent to or, perhaps, greater than any other medical intervention."

[www.modernmedicine.com, March 18, 2008]