Apparent Age is a Reliable Assessment Tool in 20 Facelift Patients

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Although the literature is replete with favorable facelift results, there are few validated facial rejuvenation outcome measures. Apparent age (AA), a visual estimate of age by objective observers, has been utilized in several studies; although attractive, AA lacks validation.


The aim of this study is to examine the reliability of AA, highlighting the importance of the exclusive use of validated outcome measures in future studies.


Ten blinded reviewers assessed pre- and postoperative photographs of 32 patients who underwent facelift. Each reviewer completed 3 surveys at 3-month intervals composed of 40 randomly ordered photos; totaling 1200 photographs assigned an AA. The intra-class correlation coefficient was classified as “excellent,” “good,” “fair,” or “poor.” The accuracy of assigned AA, agreement within 5 years, and reduction in AA were also evaluated.


The mean difference of preoperative true age from assigned AA was 2.74 ± 4.36 years. Forty-three percent of raters were within 5-years (±2.5) of the mean. Intra-rater reliability preoperatively and postoperatively were 0.77 (95% CI, 0.82-0.72) and 0.75 (95% CI, 0.79-0.71), respectively. Inter-rater reliability preoperatively was 0.98 (95% CI, 0.99-0.96), while postoperatively was 0.95 (95% CI, 0.99-0.95). Mean AA reduction was 5.23 ± 2.81, with an intra-rater reliability 0.15 (95% CI, 0.03-0.34) and inter-rater reliability 0.65 (95% CI, 0.84-0.38).


Using current statistical measures and analysis, AA is an acceptable tool for pre- and postoperative facial evaluation when assessed by a group of 10 reviewers. Therefore, apparent age represents a reliable and valid objective observer assigned measure for evaluation of facelift outcomes.

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