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Deep Plane Facelift Vs. SMAS Lift: What’s the Difference?

If you’re considering your options for a facelift, it can seem overwhelming to look at the different types and techniques. Because no two faces are alike, it’s important that your facelift matches your exact goals and needs with the help of your board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Two of the most industry-leading facelift techniques are the Deep Plane facelift and the SMAS facelift, and both can be extremely effective ways to reduce signs of aging and take years off your facial profile. With the right facelift expert, both techniques can produce natural-looking, stunning results, but it can be helpful to know the difference between these two options as you schedule your facelift consultation.

Dr. Kevin Sadati is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in the Orange County area known for his excellent, natural-looking results with the best in facelift techniques. As an experienced sculptor and painter, as well as a leading facial plastic surgeon of over fifteen years, he can achieve transformative results and a customized treatment plan for you. Here’s what to know about our two best facelift options at the Gallery of Cosmetic Surgery.


The Evolution of the Facelift

The techniques used during a facelift have come a long way from their original form. When it first became popular, it was simply a matter of lifting and tightening the layer of skin on the face. Although this could produce good results, they weren’t long-term and came with significant scarring. In the 1960s, the facelift evolved to include the SMAS, or the superficial musculoaponeurotic system, which is the underlying connective tissue and muscles below the skin. This layer is responsible for your facial movements and expressions, and a facelift that addressed this layer showed much more long-term and rejuvenating results. It comes with the benefits of relieving pressure off the layer of skin that was tightened in earlier facelift techniques, achieving a true lift and noticeable staying power.

The Facelift Today

Although skin tightening is an important part of the modern facelift, it’s most commonly done in partnership with the SMAS. However, there are two ways to go about this based on your goals and needs for rejuvenation. Your plastic surgeon will discuss the best one for you during your consultation. Here’s what to know about the two best modern facelift techniques.

SMAS Facelift

This facelift occurs in two steps— the SMAS is tightened and then the skin is trimmed. This comes with the benefits of greater customization since your plastic surgeon can address things like asymmetry and have greater control over your face’s angles. It’s often performed with incisions at the temple and behind your hairline in order to lift the SMAS and reduce laxity. Your SMAS is also connected to the muscles in the neck, allowing your plastic surgeon to perform a lower facelift or neck lift at the same time. Overall, the SMAS facelift is very customizable and can fit a wide range of patient needs with the right techniques. There is less surgical complication and risks associated such as facial nerve injury with SMAS lift vs. Deep Plane Facelift. The SMAS facelift commonly performed under twilight sedation without the need for general anesthesia.

Deep Plane Facelift

The deep plane facelift was developed in the early 1990s by a plastic surgeon who realized the benefits of lifting the skin and SMAS in one piece rather than separately. Although it reduces the customizability of your results since it pulls all the tissue at once, it allows for better blood circulation to the skin flap. If there is a moderate amount of neck laxity but there is slight face and jowl laxity, this technique may result in too tight of the face, if the neck is lifted well. There is also higher risk of facial nerve paralysis with this technique since the SMAS is lifted at the facial nerve level. This procedure must be performed under general anesthesia and takes 2-3 hours longer than SMAS lift. For patients with more significant signs of aging or looser facial skin in the jowls or cheeks, this can be a good option. It requires incisions in the hairline and around the ears for the best results.

Deep Plane Facelift Case 9

Schedule a Consultation

Both options are excellent ways to rejuvenate your facial profile and achieve a younger, more refreshed version of yourself. For patients in Orange County, Dr. Sadati can create the ideal facelift plan for you and your goals using the best industry-leading techniques for a natural look. During your consultation, you’ll look at actual before-and-after results of former facelift patients and discuss Dr. Sadati’s career-defining experiences in creating some of the best facelift results in the Newport Beach area.

To get started, we invite you to contact the Gallery of Cosmetic Surgery to set up your private consultation with our qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon and learn more. Voted the “Best Cosmetic Surgeon” for facelifting six years in a row in Orange County, Dr. Sadati is excited to help you achieve your cosmetic goals. Schedule your consultation by calling our state-of-the-art office or filling out our online form.



Call (949) 706-7776 or fill out our online form to schedule your consultation with us. Conveniently located near Fashion Island, the airport and the beach. Please visit us while you are out in the beautiful area of Newport Beach.

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