Background Facial aging involves changes in the facial skeleton and soft tissues. There is limited quantitative data on soft tissue aging of the face. Objective Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to quantify and compare facial soft tissue loss over time. Methods and Materials Two thousand thirty-seven MRI scans from 58 women divided into young, middle-aged, and older groups were screened. A blinded radiologist used MRI to measure the temporal, infraorbital, and medial and lateral cheek areas. Results The mean thickness of the subcutaneous tissue in the temporal area was 12.3, 8.4, and 8.9 mm in the young, middle-aged, and older groups, respectively (p <.001). A mean difference of 1.6 mm was seen between the young and middle-aged groups and 2.2 mm between the young and older group (p <.001) in the infraorbital area, 3.3 mm between the young and middle-aged groups and 3.2 mm between the young and older group in the medial cheeks (p <.001), and 2.4 mm between the young and middle-aged groups and 2.4 mm between the young and older group in the lateral cheeks (p =.01). Conclusions Facial soft tissue undergoes significant deterioration over time, with the most dramatic changes between the ages of 30 and 60 in the temporal, infraorbital, and lateral and medial cheek areas. Soft tissue augmentation and volume correction in these areas may be an effective strategy for facial rejuvenation.
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