Advertised as a way to take years off your age, it appears plastic surgery actually does what it claims.

Scientists say a nip and tuck could make you seem more than seven years younger.

In an experiment similar to the reality Channel 4 show Ten Years Younger, participants were asked to guess the age of patients before and after surgery.

Rejuvenated? Patients looked 8.9 years younger on average following cosmetic surgery

Rejuvenated? Patients looked 8.9 years younger on average following cosmetic surgery

And it seems any change is not just down to make-up and clever camera work, as having several facial procedures took 7.2 years off their perceived age.

A team led by Dr Nitin Chauhan, of the University of Toronto, found the youthful effect increased with the number of treatments given.

Medical students looked at a random selection of pictures of 60 men and women aged 45 to 72 who had plastic surgery.

The students guessed the patients were on average 1.7 years younger before the procedure and 8.9 years younger afterwards.

Writing in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, the researchers said: ‘Our results show a modest but significant reduction in perceived age after aesthetic facial surgery.

‘Although motivations for aesthetic surgery may vary, a prevailing concept includes the desire to achieve a more youthful appearance while maintaining one’s unique attributes and identifying characteristics.’

Enlarge 10 Years Younger: The Challenge, with Myleene Klass

Believer: Myleene Klass fronts the Channel 4 programme 10 Years Younger: The Challenge, which compares surgery to non-invasive techniques

They hoped the findings would help doctors give patients realistic expectations before they plumped for surgery as it was such a subjective field.

Dr Simon Withey, 51, a consultant plastic surgeon based in London, said he wasn't surprised by the findings.

He told Mail Online: 'Facelifts 20 years ago would often leave the skin looking better but the patient wouldn't look much younger.

'With modern face lifts we look to redistribute the volume of the face, as the bottom of the face becomes heavier as you age.'

However, he added: 'Although the patients looked younger in the photos, in real-life other things can give them away like their hands, voice and movements.

Youthful? Comedian Joan Rivers, pictured at a New York gala in November 2011, has had more than 700 operations according to The Daily Telegraph in Australia

Youthful? Comedian Joan Rivers, pictured at a New York gala in November 2011, has had more than 700 operations according to The Daily Telegraph in Australia

'But most patients don't come in wanting to look 10 years younger anyway. They want to look like a fresher version of themselves.

'Plus you only want to treat what is worrying the patient. Surgeons certainly shouldn't be persuading patients to have further work done.'

Plastic surgery is far more popular among women than men in the UK. Figures released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgenos (BAAPs) released in January revealed 4,355 women had face and neck lifts in 2011 compared to just 268 men.

However, the popularity of cosmetic surgery is increasing for both sexes, with 4.5 per cent extra facial operations taking place last year compared to 2008.

The gender divide was reflected in the U.S survey, where the group of patients was made up of 53 women and seven men.

The patients, chosen at random, had each undergone between one and three procedures between 2005 and 2008 - 22 had a face and neck lift, 17 had an eyelid lift as well and a further 22 had both procedures alongside a forehead lift.

The students were split into four groups of 10 and were each assigned 30 photographs, which were a random mix of pre and post operative shots.

The authors said their study raised further questions such as how far can people turn the clock back without resorting to the scalpel and is it possible to quantify what 'looking good for your age' really means.

The authors said they hoped the findings would help doctors give patients realistic expectations before any surgery.

Figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons show 4,355 women and 268 men in the UK had face and neck lifts last year.