The Deep Plane Facelift (also known as meloplasty or rhytidectomy) is an advanced surgical procedure that targets facial tissues at a deeper level, offering comprehensive and long-lasting results compared to Traditional Facelifts. By repositioning deep facial structures it may help signs of ageing, including wrinkles and jowls.
From Skin Tightening to Deep Plane Techniques
Facelift techniques have evolved significantly over time. Early Facelifts focused solely on tightening the skin, often resulting in an unnatural appearance that wasn’t long-lasting, typically around five years.
Recent research has led to developing the SMAS (Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System) lift, which tightens a deeper facial musculature layer, providing more permanent results. The next step in this evolution is the Deep Plane Facelift, which focuses on lifting inelastic, fibrous tissue. Deep Plane Facelifts typically offer longer-lasting results.
What does SMAS mean?
SMAS stands for Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System, a tissue layer in the face that encompasses muscle and fibrous connective tissue. During facial plastic surgery, particularly in Facelift procedures, the SMAS is often adjusted or lifted to enhance the overall appearance.
What is a Deep Plane Facelift?
A Deep Plane Facelift is a type of Facelift surgery that involves lifting and repositioning a deeper layer of facial tissue called the deep plane. This layer includes the muscle and fibrous connective tissue beneath the skin. By targeting this deep plane, the procedure aims to provide longer-lasting results compared to Traditional Facelift techniques.
Deep Plane Facelifts are often sought after for their ability to alter the face without the tight or unnatural appearance that can be associated with other facelift methods. This technique typically results in an altered appearance with a focus on the deeper structural components of the face.
Key Anatomical Benefits of a Deep Facelift
Four ligament groups are responsible for ensuring the proper movement of face structures. These are;
- Zygomatic ligaments essentially connect the cheek skin with the bones that lie underneath it.
- For cheek elevation, the release of zygomatic muscles is required.
- The release of these ligaments helps your tissues move upward which restores the heart shape. Hence, additional fillers, implants, and fat isn’t required.
- It also helps elevate tissues into the hollows under the eyes and lifts nasolabial folds as well.
Mandibular Retaining Ligament
- This ligament tethers tissues near the chin, along the jawline.
- When your Mandibular Retaining Ligament is released, it massively alters the appearance of marionette lines as well as the anterior jawline.
Masseteric Cutaneous Ligaments
- These ligaments essentially tether tissues along the jaw angle.
- Once released, they enable the jawline to become tighter and smoother.
Cervical Retaining Ligaments
- The deep plane facelift extends down to the neck and allows redraping of neck tissues with the facial tissues.
- It gives an altered look to your neck as well as your face.
- Traditional SMAS (Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System) Facelifts can sometimes give your tissues a bunched-up to look around the jaw area.
- A Deep Plane Facelift solves this by lifting tissues back up into the face rather than behind the jaw.
Traditionally, the focus of a Facelift was on stretching the skin backwards/horizontally towards the neck and ear. This technique sometimes led to flat cheeks and pulling at the corners of the mouth. The Deep Plane Facelift uses a vertical vector that lifts your facial tissue in an upward direction.
Moreover, it adds volume to the cheeks and lifts the excess skin at the corners of the mouth. The lifting tissue needs to be at a vertical angle that is greater than 60. The final angle depends on the unique facial attributes of the patient.
Deep Plane Facelift with a Platysmaplasty
Sometimes a surgeon may suggest performing a Deep Plane Facelift in conjunction with a Platysmaplasty/Neck Lift.
A Platysmaplasty procedure focuses on the central area of the neck, addressing the loose edges of platysma muscles. This results in the creation of two closely spaced vertical lines. To perform this, the surgeon creates a discreet incision under the chin to identify and suture the muscle bands together. Essentially, it forms a muscular sling that elevates the excess fat in the neck region. This incision is concealed and positioned beneath the chin.
It’s worth noting that many individuals undergoing a Deep Plane Facelift won’t need a platysmaplasty, as the lift achieved during the facelift procedure is often sufficient.
Deep Plane Facelift vs SMAS (Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System) Facelift
A Deep Plane Facelift and an SMAS (Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System) Facelift are both surgical procedures aimed at altering the face and reducing signs of ageing. However, they differ in the layers of tissue they target during the surgery:
SMAS Facelift (Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System Facelift)
- Targeted Layer: The SMAS layer is a deeper tissue layer underneath the skin. SMAS Facelifts primarily focus on tightening and repositioning this layer.
- Results: This procedure may provide a refreshed and lifted appearance that typically lasts several years.
- Scarring: SMAS Facelifts generally involve incisions along the hairline and behind the ear, resulting in some visible scarring.
Deep Plane Facelift
- Targeted Layer: A Deep Plane Facelift delves even deeper, targeting a layer of inelastic, fibrous tissue beneath the SMAS layer. It repositions and lifts this deep layer.
- Results: Deep Plane Facelifts may provide long-lasting results. They provide an altered appearance without the tightness seen in some other facelift techniques.
- Scarring: Like SMAS Facelifts, Deep Plane Facelifts involve incisions around the hairline and behind the ear. Scarring can vary, but surgeons aim to minimise its visibility.
In summary, the primary distinction lies in the depth of the tissue addressed. The choice between the two depends on the patient’s specific needs and the surgeon’s recommendations.
Recovery after a Facelift
Recovery after a Facelift is an essential phase for achieving an optimal outcome and healing process. Some key points regarding general Facelift recovery include:
- Immediate Recovery: After the surgery, you will be monitored in a recovery area for a few hours. Patients can expect some swelling, bruising, and discomfort.
- Dressing: Your surgeon will place bandages around your face to minimise swelling and provide support to the healing tissues. A small drainage tube may be inserted behind your ear to remove excess fluids.
- Pain Management: You might experience mild to moderate pain. Your surgeon will likely prescribe pain medication to manage this discomfort.
- Swelling and Bruising: Swelling and bruising are common in the first few days, peaking around day two and gradually improving.
- Stitches Removal: Your surgeon will typically remove any sutures or staples within the first week.
Two to Four Weeks
- Activity: You will need to rest and avoid strenuous activities for the first two weeks.
- Walking and light activities are encouraged to prevent blood clots.
- Full physical activity can usually be resumed within a month.
- Swelling Resolution: While most of the initial swelling subsides within two weeks, some minor swelling may persist for several months.
- Bruising Fades: Bruising generally decreases significantly within the first few weeks.
- Scarring: Over time, the incision scars will fade and become less noticeable.
- Following your surgeon’s scar care instructions is crucial for optimal results.
- Final Results: The full results of your Facelift become evident after several months.
It’s essential to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions diligently, including any specific care for incisions, wearing compression garments if required, and attending follow-up appointments. By adhering to these guidelines, you can help promote proper healing and achieve optimal results from your Facelift. Remember that the recovery process may vary from person to person, so patience is key.
FAQs about Deep Plane Facelift
Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding deep plane extended vertical facelifts:
How long will it take to heal from a Deep plane facelift surgery?
- You will usually require two weeks of downtime to heal from a deep plane facelift surgery.
- After the initial to weeks, you can return to your work, providing that your job isn’t physically intensive.
- Complete recovery can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery.
How long will the swelling last after Deep Plane Facelift Surgery?
- Most of the prominent swelling will last for the first two weeks after the surgery.
- After two weeks, the major swelling will start to subside.
- The residual swelling typically dissipates after 6 weeks.
What are some possible risks and complications associated with a Deep Plane Facelift Surgery?
- Excessive Bleeding
- Nerve Damage
- Unsatisfactory Results
- Hair Loss
- Anesthesia Risks
- Skin Irregularities
- Delayed Healing
- Allergic Reactions
- Prolonged Swelling and Bruising
- Anesthesia Risks
It’s important to choose a board-certified, experienced plastic surgeon who can help minimise these risks and manage complications should they arise. Carefully follow your surgeon’s pre and post-operative instructions to reduce the likelihood of complications and ensure a smoother recovery.
Visit the Risks of Surgery page for more information.
Mr Gary Kode Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964
MBCHB(Hons) – Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (honours)
FRCS(SA) – Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons
FRACS(Plast) Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
Mr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.
With over 33 years of experience in Plastic Surgery, he has performed approximately 25,000 procedures, spanning various areas of the body.
If you want to find out more about a procedure book a consultation.
Dr Broughton Snell Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne.
Bachelor of Science (BSc)(Honours)
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)Honours)
Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS)
If you want to find out more about a procedure book a consultation.