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Face Lift Deep Plane Lift

What is a deep plane lift?

Medical studies have shown that the deep plane offers the longest-lasting results of all facelift surgeries, with effects visible for ten to fifteen years afterwards. It is also credited with providing a more natural appearance, avoiding the “pulled” look of some facelifts by going deeper under the skin, beneath the SMAS layer. The SMAS, or superficial musculoaponeurotic system, is located beneath the skin which envelops the muscles that are used for facial expressions, like smiling or frowning. The deep plane lift is, however, a more technical surgical procedure than most other facelifts, requiring a deeper level of dissection and demanding a greater level of expertise from the surgeon.

What happens during surgery?

  • Tiny incisions are made along the hairline
  • The SMAS is lifted and separated from the skin
  • After the separation of the SMAS layer from the skin, the “deep plane” is entered when the surgeon goes beneath the SMAS to release attachments
  • The surgeon redrapes the SMAS layer and the layer of skin above it in a more youthful position that is free of the tensions that cause wrinkles and creases
  • Following the repositioning of the SMAS, loose and excess skin is removed, and in some cases, the skin and muscle tissues reshaped
  • The skin and SMAS is then pinned into place with sutures (stitches) or staples.

Deep plane lifts may be combined with an eyelid lift (blepharoplasty), forehead lifts (brow lifts) and sometimes neck lifts, to enhance the overall final result.


The deep plane lift allows improved access to the mid-face (which encompasses the area below the eyes, the sides of the nose, and above the mouth). The loss of volume and descent of fat pads in this region represents a significant component of facial aging that may not be sufficiently treated by more traditional facelift techniques, such as the SMAS lift.

The cheek ligaments are released and cheek fat pads and muscles (also known as the malar fat mound) are elevated. Access to this area allows the surgeon to reduce deep nasolabial folds, rejuvenating the midface region.

Less downtime is yet another advantage of the deep plane facial. There’s less swelling and less chance of scarring, meaning it is possible to return to work and your social life after two weeks.


One of the risks posed by the deep plane lift procedure is the possibility of provoking facial nerve damage by dissecting below the SMAS layer. A deep plane lift requires a surgeon with years of training and extensive knowledge of facial nerve and muscle systems to even consider performing a deep plane facelift. There are a limited number of surgeons who are sufficiently qualified to safely and effectively carry out the most demanding of all facelift procedures.

When performed by an expert, complication rates are are no different to other facelift procedures, but the results are highly eloquent and many times more natural.

In addition, because the deep plane lift is a more extensive surgical procedure which accesses deeper facial tissue, the healing process for these lower layers is more prolonged. The healing will not be obvious to the casual observer, however, as there is no telltale swelling.

The most suitable candidates for deep plane lift facelift include:

  • Older patients
  • Individuals with severe facial sagging and laxity
  • Those who want to look refreshed and well-rested while avoiding any telltale or overtly obvious signs of having had work done
  • Individuals who do not want to undergo multiple facial surgical procedures may elect to undergo deep plane lift facelift because of the longer lasting results.
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