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One of the most common questions we get during facelift consultations is about the difference between two of the most transformative types of facelifts. The deep plane facelift and the SMAS facelift are the most advanced techniques available when it comes to restoring a naturally youthful look to the face and each can take as much as a decade off your facial profile in the hands of a dual board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Here we’ll discuss the differences between the SMAS and deep plane facelifts and which one is right for your needs.

What is the Deep Plane Facelift?

As we age, we see the skin begin to sag and fall downward in places like the midface, jowls, and neck. This is usually the result of gravity and other lifestyle factors. Although you can see the skin sag, what’s actually happening is that the layer of tissue (called the deep plane) beneath it also begins to sag over time. Traditionally, the facelift only tightened the top layer of skin while leaving the muscles and tissues underneath alone (resulting in a stretched or pulled look). It’s only recently that facial plastic surgeons realized they could get a much more natural, long-lasting lift by also lifting the deeper tissues of the face.

The deep plane facelift does exactly this. The deep plane is the layer of tissue that separates the superficial adipose tissues from the deeper structures of the face. The goal is to lift this layer of tissue, anchoring it into a more upright position (which also lifts the skin), thus restoring the face to its younger position. This typically encompasses the midface, neck, or jowls – places where gravity tends to cause the most amount of laxity.

What is a SMAS Facelift?

The SMAS, or superficial muscular aponeurotic system, is the layer above the deep plane. It’s a network of fibrous tissues including the platysma muscle of the neck. It mainly covers the cheek area and can begin to sag as aging sets in (along with the skin).

The SMAS facelift can be considered a step below the deep plane facelift since it’s not as extensive. During a SMAS facelift, a small vertical strip of tissue is taken out of the SMAS so the remaining ends can be reattached, pulling the SMAS and overlying skin tighter. This most effectively rejuvenates areas like the midface, neck, and jowls – the same as a deep plane facelift, but to a lesser degree.

What Type of Facelift Do I Need?

In either case, Dr. David Gilpin takes steps to make sure his patients are ready to return to public within 9-14 days. Despite the more extensive techniques used in the deep plane facelift, it comes with the same amount of recovery as the SMAS facelift. This means that your facelift choice comes down to your goals for surgery.

There are a few benefits to each type of facelift. For example, the deep plane facelift is one of the most modern types of facelift and consistently achieves longer-lasting, more natural results. However, the SMAS facelift can allow your facial plastic surgeon to also access the platysma muscle to perform a neck lift at the same time. Your choice of facelift wholly depends on your unique wants and needs – not every patient will need an extensive procedure like the deep plane facelift and the SMAS can achieve the results they want. On the other hand, some patients want the most transformative results achievable and the SMAS facelift isn’t suitable. Your facial plastic surgeon can help you determine the right option for you.

Schedule a Consultation

The best way to learn more about your facelift options is by meeting with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Schedule your consultation at our Nashville office by calling Gilpin Facial Plastics & Aesthetics or filling out our online contact form.

To learn more about this topic, you can also watch this video where Dr. Gilpin explains the differences between the SMAS and deep plane facelifts.