What is a Deep Plane Facelift?


If you are researching facelifts, you may have run across the term deep plane facelift. If so, you may wonder, what is a deep plane facelift? Some seek a deep plane facelift because the results often look more natural.

How is a Deep Plane Facelift Different?

The term SMAS is an acronym referring to the “superficial musculoaponeurotic system,” which includes connective tissue between the skin surface and the muscles underneath. The connective tissue forms your face’s framework and serves as the foundation for a more natural-looking yet youthful-looking appearance.

During a deep plane facelift, your plastic surgeon not only re-tightens the muscles but may also reposition the pads of fat, usually on the cheekbones. 

Everything is repositioned as a unit, including the deeper muscles associated with facial expressions. Of course, every facelift is custom-tailored, and part of the skill of a plastic surgeon is knowing where to tighten it to achieve your aesthetic goals.

A more traditional facelift is confusingly called a SMAS Facelift. Previously, SMAS facelifts only lifted the skin itself without addressing the underlying muscles and connective tissue, which sometimes resulted in the tight appearance many associates with a facelift

A deep plane facelift may be an excellent option for people who are worried about getting a windswept look they associate with classic celebrities. Sadly some of these iconic faces just didn’t have today’s non-surgical and advanced surgical techniques available as they reached middle age and beyond.

Many plastic surgeons who keep up with the latest best practices already use the most advanced deep-plane techniques. 

A deep plane facelift may address the following:

  • Loose or sagging skin
  • Wrinkles
  • Facial fat that shifted
  • Jowls
  • Sunken cheeks

While the term “deep plane” sounds more invasive, the recovery and healing period is often shorter than an old-school facelift. Of course, this is highly individual, depending on your health, age, genetics, incision points, and the actual work done on your face. Your plastic surgeon can better guide you through knowing what to expect.

Dr. Dutton Further Explains What is a Deep Plane Facelift

Check out Dr. Dutton further explain a deep plane facelift:

Benefits of a Deep Plane Facelift

A deep facelift is often highly effective for treating the appearance of the midface area, including the nasolabial folds. However, the operation still lifts and affects the lower face as well.

Other benefits of a deep plane facelift over a SMAS Facelift include the following:

  • Surprisingly the surgical procedure time is often shorter when the deeper planes of the face are tightened together
  • The results tend to be more natural looking
  • The surgeon may also restore lost volume to cheeks and other areas
  • Softens the nasolabial folds
  • Shorter healing and recovery time
  • More discreet-looking scars
  • Long-lasting results if you take care of your skin

Good Candidates for Deep Plane Facelifts Include

Since any facelift is an elective procedure, plastic surgeons tend to limit the work to non-smokers close to their healthy weight range and who are generally healthy. Every surgical procedure has risks, so doctors balance the risks with the benefits to the patient’s well-being. Be sure to discuss your medical history, lifestyle, and ongoing treatments with your doctor. 

If you are a smoker, your plastic surgeon may ask you to quit for a few weeks or months before your operation and for your healing time. Smoking interferes with wound healing and increases the risk of complications. Also, smoking is a significant cause of premature aging, so you will maintain your results longer if you avoid smoking.

Some patients question why surgeons require a healthy weight. This varies by the situation, but it has to do with safely administering anesthetic and the risk of complications and the healing process.  Since each cosmetic procedure is custom to your needs, it may still be worth booking a consultation to find out what your options are. 

In summary, a good plastic surgery candidate is someone who is:

  • In good general health
  • Close to or within their healthy weight range
  • A non-smoker or willing to quit
  • Showing signs of aging enough to warrant a surgical procedure
  • Aware of the potential benefits, likely results, and potential risks
  • Doesn’t have a pre-existing condition that interferes with healing, like a condition involving bleeding abnormalities, keloid scarring, or other medical conditions. Your plastic surgeon will help you figure out if that is the case.

Maintaining Your Results

Since a deep plane facelift is a significant investment in your appearance, you probably want to maintain the results as long as possible. The procedure visually turns back the clock, but it doesn’t stop aging. Skin will continue to age, wrinkle, and lose elasticity. 

To maintain your results, be sure to:

  • Stop smoking or using tobacco products if you do
  • Limit alcohol consumption to moderate drinking or less
  • Get enough sleep at night
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen protecting your skin from both UVA and UVB rays daily
  • Use hats, sunglasses, and scarves to protect your skin from the sun and wind
  • Talk with your plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or skincare professional associated about the best products and skincare routine
  • Carefully follow all guidelines covering the healing process
  • Prioritize your scheduled follow-up appointments, as they help ensure a smooth recovery

Schedule a Consultation

Your next step toward a more youthful face is booking a consultation with a skilled plastic surgeon. Often people are surprised to learn what is possible with either surgical or non-surgical options. People come in wanting a specific procedure, but during the consultation, it unfolds that another procedure may be better for the individual.

We treat each patient individually and will help you learn your cosmetic options. Since Charlotte Plastic Surgery has been in the area for decades, we have a proven track record of rejuvenating community members. Not only does the practice have a long history of success, but our plastic surgeons also use today’s best techniques to help each patient look and feel their best.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation.