Science-- there's something for everyone

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Youth is in the jawline

It’s not only surface features that cause a person to look older. New research by Rochester Medical Center doctors shows that it’s the underlying bones that are most responsible for aging looks.

The physicians used facial computed tomography (CT) scans of 60 men and 60 women, evenly divided among three age groups (20-36, 41-64, and 65 and up), to compare jawbone length, width and angle. They found that in older individuals, the jaw angle was significantly increased while the jaw height and length was decreased. Overall, the older subjects had a much smaller total jaw volume, leading to less support for the facial soft tissues. This, in turn, leads to a general softening and sagging in facial appearance.

Significant changes in facial bones -- particularly the jaw bone -- occur as people age and contribute to an aging appearance.

Credit: Image courtesy of University of Rochester Medical Center

Study author Robert Shaw concludes:

The future of facial cosmetic procedures to restore a youthful look may include methods to suspend soft tissue -- such as chin and cheek implants -- to rebuild the structure that time has worn away, in addition to lifting and reducing excess skin.

I conclude that I’m glad I never plan to have a facelift, because now I also don’t have to have reconstructive jaw surgery to go with it.