Plastic Surgery Boosts Likeability

June 6, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

While the traditional aim of plastic surgery is to provide a more youthful appearance, new research suggests it can also raise perceptions of a person's likeability, social skills, attractiveness, and femininity.

While the traditional aim of plastic surgery is to provide a more youthful appearance, new research suggests it can also raise perceptions of a person’s likeability, social skills, attractiveness, and femininity.

Published in JAMA Plastic Facial Surgery, the study used before-and-after photos of 30 women who had facial rejuvenation surgery between 2009 and 2013. The patients underwent procedures such as facelifts, upper blepharoplasty, lower blepharoplasty, eyebrow lifts, neck lifts, and chin implants.

Around 170 survey responses supplied ratings on the women’s photos for aggressiveness, extroversion, likeability, trustworthiness, risk seeking, and social skills, as well as attractiveness and femininity. The raters viewed either the before photo or the after one without being told the women had undergone plastic surgery.

Comparing preoperative and postoperative scores, there were hikes in likeability, social skills, attractiveness, and femininity ratings among the postoperative photos. However, ratings on trustworthiness, aggressiveness, extroversion, and risk-seeking did not differ significantly between the 2 photos.

The researchers suggested society may use “facial profiling” to predict an individual’s personality based solely on his or her face.

“The comprehensive evaluation and treatment of the facial rejuvenation patient requires an understanding of the changes in a person's perceived aura that are likely to occur with surgery beyond just the traditional measures of age and attractiveness,” said Michael J. Reilly, MD, an assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, in a press release. “…Having a facelift and lower eye lift were the 2 procedures that appeared to garner more favorable reviews after surgery, with the lower eye lift carrying a little more weight.”