"Forever young. I want to be forever young" is not only the theme of heavily sampled Euro-pop music from the 80s, but the aspiration for the millions of people who have plastic surgery each year. But exactly how many years are rolled back by these procedures? Five years? 10? 20?

In a new study in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, an independent panel was asked to guess the ages of a group of patients before and after they had facial rejuvenation operations. The research was conducted by surgeons from New York City at the Lenox Hill Hospital and the Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Institute of North Shore.

The 49 patients, whose ages ranged from 42 to 73, underwent facial rejuvenations procedures — such as face/neck/brow lifts and blepharoplasty — at a private clinic in Toronto, Canada. Before-and-after photos were taken for each patient and distributed among a panel of 50 judges randomly pulled from the community.

However, each rater was shown either a pre-op or post-op photo, but not both. In other words, no judge saw the before-and-after photographs of the same patient.

Ironically, the panel judged the 'before' pictures to be 2.1 years younger than the patients' actual age. And with what will probably bring joy to legions of plastic surgery recipients cross the nation, 'after' photos were assessed as being 5.2 years younger.

In other words, the facial surgeries had a net gain of 3.1 years of apparent age.

Source: Zimm AJ, Modabber M, Fernandes V, Karimi K, Adamson PA. Objective Assessment of Perceived Age Reversal and Improvement in Attractiveness After Aging Face Surgery. JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery. 2013.