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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007 Feb;119(2):675-81; discussion 682-3.

Aging of the midface bony elements: a three-dimensional computed tomographic study.

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  • 1Stanford University School of Medicine and Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of General Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA 94305-5715, USA.



The face loses volume as the soft-tissue structures age. In this study, the authors demonstrate how specific bony aspects of the face change with age in both men and women and what impact this may have on the techniques used in facial cosmetic surgery.


Facial bone computed tomographic scans were obtained from 60 Caucasian patients (30 women and 30 men). The authors' study population consisted of 10 male and 10 female subjects in each of three age categories. Each computed tomographic scan underwent three-dimensional reconstruction with volume rendering, and the following measurements were obtained: glabellar angle (maximal prominence of glabella to nasofrontal suture), pyriform angle (nasal bone to lateral inferior pyriform aperture), and maxillary angle (superior to inferior maxilla at the articulation of the inferior maxillary wing and alveolar arch). The pyriform aperture area was also obtained. The t test was used to identify any trends between age groups.


The glabellar and maxillary angle in both the male and female subjects showed a significant decrease with increasing age. The pyriform angle did not show a significant change between age groups for either sex. There was a significant increase in pyriform aperture area from the young to the middle age group for both sexes.


These results suggest that the bony elements of the midface change dramatically with age and, coupled with soft-tissue changes, lead to the appearance of the aged face.

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