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Bothered By an Aging Face? Learn the Difference: SMAS Facelift vs. Deep Plane Facelift

A woman sitting outside on a sunny day while smiling and staring into the distance.Authored By Dr. Karan Chopra

More and more patients are considering a facelift to remain youthful, appear refreshed, and look less tired. Plastic surgeons offer a range of lifting options for different age groups. This article discusses and compares two of the most popular facelift choices: the SMAS technique versus the deep plane facelift.

An SMAS facelift is a type of facelift that involves lifting the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS). This layer of tissue is located beneath the skin and helps to support the facial structures. A deep plane facelift also involves lifting the SMAS, but in addition, also includes lifting the deeper structures of the face, such as the orbicularis oculi muscle.

Dr. Karan Chopra is one of the top plastic surgeons in Minnesota. He is an expert in facial plastic and body contouring surgery. As a board-certified plastic surgeon in Minneapolis, Dr. Karan Chopra can help you achieve natural results and feel more confident.

So, what’s the difference between an SMAS facelift and a deep plane facelift? Let’s take a closer look. But first, let’s see…

What is a Facelift Exactly?

A woman having her face be examined by a doctor
Your skin’s youthful appearance may change over time as a result of a number of different factors, including decreased collagen production, gravity, thinning skin, and damage from prolonged exposure to the sun to name a few. Surgery to tighten the skin on the face is an effective method of reversing these effects.

A facelift, which is also referred to as a rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that can be used as an anti-aging treatment to lift and firm your face, cheeks, and neck in order to restore a more youthful appearance and contour. Facelift surgery can not only improve your appearance but also the way you feel about yourself. This is accomplished by tightening and lifting the deep facial tissues, smoothing out prominent folds, and removing excess sagging skin.

If you are thinking about getting a facelift, Dr. Chopra can perform a variety of procedures — both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments — depending on your requirements and objectives, including the following:

  1. Deep Plane Facelift: This procedure tightens and lifts the sagging muscles in your cheeks, as well as those at the base of your chin and in your neck. A deep plane facelift can correct issues such as droopy cheeks, a double chin, sagging skin on the neck, and laxity of the skin.
  2. SMAS Facelift: The SMAS facelift repositions sagging or ptotic soft tissue throughout your face in order to improve the appearance of your cheeks, midface, and jawline.
  3. Mini Facelift: A mini facelift is ideal for individuals who only have a few minor signs of facial aging, particularly if these signs are located on the lower part of the face. A mini facelift does not pull the skin tighter around the neck like an SMAS or deep plane facelift does.
  4. The Mid-Facelift: This facelift method concentrates on the area of the face located in the middle, such as the cheeks. It eliminates any sagging in the cheeks by lifting or tightening them, as well as smoothes out deep creases so your facial features are more clearly defined.
  5. Jawline Contouring: A procedure known as jawline contouring reshapes and contours your jawline by removing excess fat and skin tissues from the neck. This procedure is also known as a neck lift. Liposuction helps to reduce the appearance of a double chin, which offers another benefit from this procedure.
  6. Liquid Facelift: A liquid facelift is one of the most popular facial alternatives to surgical facelifts. Liquid facelifts are performed without the use of incisions. Injectable dermal fillers are used to bring a youthful appearance to the face. This not only makes the cheekbones look better, but also boosts collagen production and makes the skin more elastic.
  7. Cheek Lift: A cheek lift, similar to a mid-facelift, can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the mid-face while also lifting your cheeks and defining your cheekbones.

Dr. Karan Chopra has been practicing plastic surgery for many years and has received extensive training in facial procedures. As a result, he is an expert in all of the various facelift techniques. He works hard to make his patients look younger while preserving their original appearance as much as possible.

Because of the excellent results they provide, the deep plane facelift and the SMAS facelift are two of Dr. Chopra’s most frequently requested facelift techniques. Although they are comparable, the benefits and results of each surgical approach are distinctive in their own ways.

What is an SMAS Facelift?

As we age, the SMAS begins to sag. This can cause the face to lose its youthful shape and appearance.

SMAS facelifts can be performed using different techniques and the choice of approach depends on the individual patient’s needs and desired results. One technique, called SMAS-plication, involves making tiny incisions in the SMAS layer and then suturing the tissue to lift and tighten it. This can provide significant results, but may not be ideal for patients who are looking for a more natural appearance.

Another technique known as an SMAS flap involves detaching the SMAS layer from the underlying facial muscles and repositioning it. This method can provide very natural-looking results, but it’s a more invasive procedure. SMAS facelifts are often combined with other procedures, such as a brow lift, eyelid surgery, and skin resurfacing, to achieve comprehensive rejuvenation of the face.

What is a Deep Plane Facelift?

A deep plane facelift is similar to an SMAS facelift; however, in addition to lifting the SMAS layer, it also lifts deeper structures of the face, such as the orbicularis oculi muscle. This muscle helps to hold up the eyelids and can become weak with age. By lifting this muscle, a deep plane facelift can help to improve the appearance of the eyelids and achieve a more youthful look.

Deep plane facelifts are usually performed using an endoscopic technique, which involves making small incisions in the hairline and then inserting a small camera to visualize the deeper structures of the face. This technique allows the surgeon to make precise adjustments to lift and reposition the muscles and tissues. Deep plane facelifts can provide very natural-looking results. Like SMAS facelifts, they can be combined with other procedures, such as brow lifts, eyelid surgery, and skin resurfacing, to achieve comprehensive rejuvenation of the face.

How is a Deep Plane Facelift Performed in Comparison with an SMAS Facelift?

It is standard practice to administer general anesthesia prior to carrying out either the SMAS or deep plane facelift in order to ensure the patient remains asleep and at ease throughout the operation.

The most significant distinction between an SMAS facelift and a deep plane facelift is that during the former procedure, the SMAS tissue layer and skin are lifted in two separate stages. In contrast, when a deep plane lift is performed, the skin, muscles, and SMAS are all pulled upwards at the same time.

By adjusting your skin and SMAS in a manner that is independent of one another, Dr. Chopra has a greater degree of control and is able to pull these two layers together in a variety of directions, resulting in a more refined appearance. This is very important in certain circumstances and Dr. Chopra will select the appropriate form of facelift for you based on the characteristics of your unique anatomy and the objectives you wish to achieve.

When performing a deep plane facelift, as opposed to a traditional facelift, Dr. Chopra will go beyond your SMAS layer and focus on the deeper muscles. This is another significant distinction between the two types of facelifts. Dr. Chopra is able to reduce the tension on your skin and smooth out any irregularities by either relaxing or tightening the muscles that are responsible for giving your face its impression. Going to greater depths also allows for greater overall lifting to be accomplished.

To put it another way, in comparison to a deep plane facelift, an SMAS facelift is a procedure that is both slightly less invasive and more superficial; however, the results of either procedure are equally fantastic.

What Can I Expect From the Recovery Period After an SMAS Facelift When Compared to a Deep Plane Facelift?

Following an SMAS or deep plane facelift, the initial recovery period typically lasts up to three weeks at most. Because the lift is performed in distinct layers, an SMAS facelift typically requires a slightly longer period of time for recovery than a deep plane facelift does.

During the healing process following a facelift, it is not uncommon for patients to experience mild bruising, swelling, facial redness, and even some discomfort. These typical negative effects of facelift treatment will eventually disappear. After your facelift surgery, you should wait at least six weeks before engaging in physically taxing activities or before getting any hair treatments.

SMAS vs. Deep Plane – Which Facelift Results Last Longer?

A woman examining her face in the mirror and smiling
Due to the fact that a deep plane facelift targets deeper tissues and muscles, this procedure offers a longer-lasting effect than traditional facelifts, such as SMAS facelifts. In spite of the fact that it is a more invasive procedure, the deeper technique of deep plane facelifts enables Dr. Chopra to produce results that are both effective and long-lasting.

A deep plane facelift may last anywhere from ten to fifteen years, and in many cases even longer.

On the other hand, an SMAS facelift is less invasive and slightly more superficial, but the results can still last for up to ten years or even longer. Because of the natural effects of aging, sun exposure, and gravity, you may require a second facelift after ten years or more. This is true regardless of the type of facelift performed.

Is an SMAS Facelift or a Deep Plane Facelift Right for Me?

A woman working on a laptop
With either type of facelift, the skin on your face and neck is pulled more taut and the contours of these areas are improved. In comparison to a deep plane lift, the SMAS facelift is more adaptable to the patient’s individual requirements. Patients who want to correct early signs of aging, such as jowls and sagging in the cheeks, are good candidates for this procedure because it enables a customized approach to target specific issues.

Patients who are older and want to improve the appearance of prominent lines, creases, and folds, as well as significant skin laxity in the jaw and neck region, are better candidates for a deep plane facelift. If you want significant facial rejuvenation and a more dramatic improvement in the way your face looks, then you should definitely consider getting this treatment.

If you want to improve the volume of your cheeks and face but don’t want to get fillers or implants, either of these procedures can be an excellent alternative. The best way to determine which type of facelift is right for you is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. During your consultation, your surgeon will evaluate your specific needs and goals to develop a customized treatment plan to help you achieve the best possible results.

If you are interested in learning more about SMAS facelifts or deep plane facelifts, contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chopra.

Further Reading about Face Procedures:

Medical References on the SMAS vs. Deep Plane Facelift

This blog has been authored by “Dr. Joe” Gryskiewicz MD, FACS and Karan Chopra, MD.

About Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz:

Dr. Joe Gryskiewicz is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 30 years of experience performing aesthetic surgery. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and belongs to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, The Rhinoplasty Society, and many other national institutions.

About Dr. Karan Chopra:

Dr. Karan Chopra is a board-certified and fellowship-trained plastic surgeon who specializes in the deep plane facelift and neck lift, blepharoplasty, buccal fat removal, breast augmentation, and many other aesthetic procedures. He belongs to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, and The Minnesota Society of Plastic Surgeons, among many other professional organizations.