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Cosmetic Facial Procedure May Not Improve Quality of LIfe

Update Date: Oct 11, 2013 02:15 PM EDT

Botox won't actually make you feel better about yourself, a new study suggests.

Despite the rapid rise of facial cosmetic surgery, researchers say there is limited evidence showing that these procedures actually help improve quality of life. While there are some studies that suggest that a number of psychosocial areas improve after patients undergo facial cosmetic procedures, researchers say those studies are weak because they often lack control groups or don't follow patients over time.

Minimally invasive procedures like Botox injections to smoothen wrinkles account for the majority of more than 12 million facial cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. each year. While more complex surgical procedures like nose jobs and eyelifts have decreased nearly 40 percent over the last decade, Botox procedures have increased by nearly 621 percent in the same time period.

"With the limited amount of well-performed studies, it is certainly premature to conclusively state that facial cosmetic procedures will not only make patients 'look better' but also 'feel better'," senior study author Joseph F. Sobanko, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania said in a news release. "We as dermatologic surgeons, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and others in the appearance-based specialties need more rigorously performed studies so we can properly advise patients and provide evidence to help determine who is likely to benefit the most from these aesthetic procedures."

Only 16 out of thousands of studies analyzed by researchers in the latest study met the strict inclusion criteria and reported on the psychological impact of facial cosmetic procedures.

Half of the studies researchers looked at combined results from facial and body contouring surgeries like breast augmentation. Researchers found that quality of life and self-esteem improved for surgical facial cosmetic procedures like face lifts or nose jobs. One study that investigated a non-surgical procedure revealed an increase in self-esteem and quality of life after Botox, and the only study to investigate the procedure impact on body image revealed that nose jobs significantly improved body image.

The findings are published in the journal JAMA Dermatology

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