What is a deep plane or SMAS facelift?

SMAS facelift

When it comes to facelifts, there are several different types. In the past, often it was just the skin of the patient that was worked on. However, some more involved processes are called the deep plane lift and an SMAS lift. These types of highly specialized facelifts result in much more natural-looking results. In this blog we’ll go over what exactly happens during a deep plane vs. an SMAS facelift, as well as how they are different from a “mini” facelift.

What is an SMAS facelift?

In addition to the skin, this type of facelift procedure works on the superficial muscular aponeurotic system, hence the abbreviation SMAS. In this type of facelift, rather than just repositioning and cutting excess skin, the skin and SMAS layer are both repositioned and worked on separately. This has become the industry standard in facelifts for the last 30 years.  It improves the poor scarring of traditional skin-only facelifts. 

What is a deep plane facelift?

A deep plane facelift is somewhat similar to an SMAS facelift. However, in this type of facelift, the skin is moved along with the underlying structures, including the fat pads rather than being separated from them. This preserves the blood vessels in the face because they are not severed by separating the skin from the SMAS layer, as is done in an SMAS facelift. Furthermore, the retaining ligaments that anchor the facial and neck skin are released. This allows for a superior vertical lift and avoids the un-natural pulled effects of a SMAS lift which attempts to reposition the SMAS around and against the ligaments. Superior mid face/cheek lifting is achieved that improves the Nasolabial fold. Neck irregularities are decreased and a far more desirable neck lift is achieved. While the extended deep plane lift has longer lasting results, recovery is longer as well, approximately 3 weeks, sometimes longer.  

What are the differences between these two types of facelifts as compared to a “mini-facelift”?

Both deep plane and SMAS lifts provide better, more natural-looking results overall compared to a “mini-facelift,” which is falling out of favor. Because the procedure is more involved, side effects such swelling may be more pronounced and/or last longer than a traditional facelift. Results may last longer than a traditional facelift. Due to the natural aging process, further skin sagging will eventually occur, but results are very long lasting and can reasonably be expected to last about 10 years.

Dr. Edmund Fisher is the only plastic surgeon who performs both the deep plane and SMAS facelift procedures in Bakersfield. If you’re in the LA or Central Valley area, don’t trust your facelift to just any surgeon. A very experienced surgeon ensures a much lower risk of side effects from the more complicated deep plane procedure.