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Facial Aging May Be Related to Facial Bones

Posted: April 13, 2010

This interesting take on facial aging can provide clients with more information about why they are aging a certain way.

Face lifts and other wrinkle-reducing procedures have long been sought by people wanting to ward off the signs of aging, but new research suggests that it may take more than tightening loose skin to restore a youthful look. A study by physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center indicates that significant changes in facial bones—particularly the jaw bone—occur as people age and contribute to an aging appearance.

Presented at the American Association of Plastic Surgeons annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas on March 23, and published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the study suggests that the future approach to facial rejuvenation may be two-fold, first restoring structure underneath before performing skin-tightening procedures.

Reviewing a collection of 120 facial CT scans taken for other, unrelated medical reasons, plastic surgeons measured changes that occurred to facial bones through time. The CT scans were divided equally by gender and age, 20 men and 20 women in each of three age groups: young (ages 20–36), middle (41–64), and old (65 and older). Researchers used a computer program to measure the length, width, and angle of the mandible, or jaw bone, for each scan, and compare the results for each group. Using CT scans for this study allowed for more accurate three-dimensional reconstruction and increased accuracy of measurements, disputing previous research that relied on traditional head x-rays and suggested that the jaw bone expands with age.

The angle of the jaw increases markedly with age, which results in a loss of definition of the lower border of the face, according to the study. Jaw length decreases significantly in comparisons between the young and middle age groups, whereas the decline in jaw height from the middle to old group was noteworthy.