More than looks: Getting a ‘nose job’ takes years off a woman’s face too, study finds


LOS ANGELES — From face lifts to tummy tucks, there are plenty of options for people looking to take advantage of surgery in order to look better or appear younger. Now, a new study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles says that a rhinoplasty, more commonly referred to as a “nose job,” can help women appear up to three years younger.

While the subject of youthful appearance and beauty is often a subjective matter, researchers took a novel approach to come to their conclusions: machine learning facilitated by artificial intelligence. This advanced technology was used to analyze the before and after images of 100 female rhinoplasty patients of varying ages (16-72). All of the analyzed women had undergone a nose job for cosmetic reasons by a UCLA surgeon who was senior author of this study, Dr. Jason Roostaeian.

Before rhinoplasty, software detected this 36-year-old woman’s age at 32. Six months after surgery, the same woman is detected as 26 years old. (Photo credit: UCLA Health)

After at least 12 weeks post-op, the women’s pictures were analyzed by computers. The AI then estimated each woman’s age by cropping their face from the image and then running it through a complex algorithm.

“Rhinoplasty is widely recognized as a facial beautification procedure, but it isn’t commonly known for its anti-aging effects,” comments Dr. Dorfman, lead author of the study and a resident physician in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in a release.

A typical rhinoplasty entails structural changes to face bones and nose cartilage achieved via small incisions made by surgeons while the patient is under anesthesia. Of course, each procedure is specially implemented to the patient’s individual face, features, and desires for the surgery’s outcome.

This is the first time that scientific evidence has emerged that a nose job can help a woman appear younger; most people opt for a rhinoplasty because they are unhappy with the general appearance of their nose, or due a to a facial injury.

“This technology allows us to accurately estimate age in an objective way and has proven to recognize patterns and features of aging beyond what the human eye can perceive,” says Dr. Dorfman.

The rejuvenating effects were most prominent among women over the age of 40, with the computer estimating that some older women appeared up to seven years younger following their surgery. That being said, only 25 women over the age of 40 were included in the study, so researchers stress that additional work must be done to confirm these findings.

“The nose loses support as it ages and can take on a more prominent or droopy appearance,” comments Dr. Jason Roostaeian, a senior author on the study. “When we lose facial fat and volume in our cheeks, which are the canvas that our nose sits on, the nose becomes more prominent.”

Dr. Roostaeian went on to say that tweaking the appearance of the nose can help one’s entire face appear younger. “This is something we have subjectively thought for many decades but now we have objective evidence through artificial intelligence to support this.”

The study is published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article identified Dr. Robert Dorfman as the surgeon who performed the surgeries on the subjects of this study. This has been corrected to Dr. Jason Roostaeian.

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