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Types Of Facelift: Difference Between A Deep Plane And SMAS Facelift


Types Of Facelift

The decision to undergo a facelift is significant in itself. But the decision-making isn’t over. The next step is deciding which facelift suits your needs, preferences, and lifestyle.

So, what are the different types of facelifts, how do they differ, and how do you choose the best one for you?

Traditional (SMAS) facelift

What it does:

The traditional facelift targets the superficial musculoaponeurotic system or the SMAS layer. It tightens this layer of tissue beneath your cheeks down to your lower face and removes excess skin and fat in your lower face. Tightening and removing droopy tissues from the superficial layer of skin down to the SMAS layer yields long-term facial rejuvenation.

Combining the traditional facelift with a neck lift is often done together so the neck matches the face, promoting a tighter, more youthful contour for both the face and neck.

How is it done?:

During a SMAS facelift, Dr. Taghva creates incisions around the ears, along the hairline, and below the chin to tighten and adjust the skin and support the structures beneath it.


  • Long-term results
  • Removes and tightens excess, drooping skin on the lower face
  • Defines the jawline

You may be a candidate if:

  • You are seeking dramatic improvements in mild to moderate excess, droopy skin and fat in your lower face and neck
  • You are starting to notice muscle bands across your neck
  • You have mild to moderate jowls, a double chin, or a “turkey wattle”

Additional notes to consider:

  • It requires a lengthy downtime as it is a complex procedure
  • It leaves more scars than other facial rejuvenation procedures
  • It often needs to be combined with a forehead lift or blepharoplasty for comprehensive results

Deep plane facelift

What it does:

The more mature patients throughout Orange Count widely adore the deep plane facelift. This procedure significantly improves the appearance of aging changes in the face and neck but does not scream “facelift.” It delivers natural-looking results by adjusting the supporting structures deep beneath the superficial layers. 

Some deep-plane facelift patients notice such dramatic improvements in volume restoration and wrinkle smoothing that they no longer see the need to spend money on injectables every few months.

How is it done?:

So, what is a deep plane facelift and what makes it so powerful? During a deep plane facelift, Dr. Taghva targets beneath the SMAS layer to resuspend and reshape the tissues below it. 

Since the deep plane facelift targets the ligaments that hold together the tissues and muscles that allow people to maintain their natural expression, it delivers natural, long-lasting strengthening and rejuvenation, RealSelf says. This rejuvenation includes restoration of youthful volume and contour, diminished fine lines and wrinkles, and a dramatic reduction in excess, saggy skin and fat.


  • Delivers dramatic improvements in more severe signs of aging in the face and neck
  • Will target the mid-face region along with the lower face more than the SMAS facelift
  • Delivers natural-looking results
  • Results are longer-lasting

You may be a candidate if:

  • You are noticing moderate to severe aging signs, including noticeable loose skin on the face, causing sagging cheeks, jowls, a “turkey wattle,” and laxity in the neck
  • You want a long-term result that allows you to preserve your natural beauty and expression

Additional notes to consider:

  • The deep plane facelift recovery period is lengthier and more difficult than traditional facelift techniques (including more swelling, bruising, and discomfort, as it requires your surgeon to go deep beneath the skin’s superficial layers
  • As it delves deep into the underlying framework of your face, it holds the rare but possible risk of injury to the vessel or nerve 

Mini facelift

What it does:

While it’s certainly not enough of a rejuvenation for everyone, the mini facelift is an option for younger patients showing early signs of aging in the lower face. Healthline says it works as a great adjunct with eyelid surgery or brow lift for more balanced results.

How is it done?:

During the mini facelift, Dr. Taghva makes thin incisions in the hairline and behind the ears to elevate drooping skin in the lower face and part of the neck via small incisions and remove excess skin. Many patients ask us, “what is a deep plane mini facelift?” This procedure targets the four ligaments that anchor the underlying facial muscles much like the full deep plane facelift, but only addresses the lower face and jawline.


  • Shorter downtime than the deep plane or traditional facelift
  • Leaves smaller, less noticeable scars

You may be a candidate if:

  • You have a busy schedule and need quicker downtime
  • You have short hair and want to avoid the thicker hairline incisions required for other facelifts
  • You have only mild amounts of excess skin and early jowling
  • You may be younger, noticing mild to moderate changes in your lower face related to aging, but not severe amounts of excess skin and wrinkles

Additional notes to consider:

  • As it does not take as much of a composite approach to the lower face and neck as other facelift techniques, results are not as long-lasting but are still more enduring than non-surgical methods of facial rejuvenation
  • If you need a more complex procedure, the mini facelift is not an “easy way out” as it will not give you dramatic enough improvements
  • It only targets the lower portion of the face and part of the neck

Non-surgical facelift options

If you are younger and you are only noticing minor signs of aging in your face and neck, an effective way to postpone the need for a surgical facelift and be proactive about anti-aging is to look into non-surgical facial rejuvenation options, such as:

  • Vivace (microneedling enhanced with radiofrequency energy) with growth factors
  • Thread lifting
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • Liquid facelift with dermal fillers
  • Botox
  • Chemical peels

Deep Plane Facelift vs. Traditional Facelift

There is a constant buzz over deep plane facelift vs. facelift. Which is better than the other? The answer varies depending on the surgeon and the patient’s needs and goals.

The main difference between a deep plane and an SMAS facelift is complexity. While the SMAS facelift is better for men and women in their 30s and early 40s with mild to moderate aging changes such as droopy cheeks or jowls, the deep plane facelift is the better option for patients in their late 40s and beyond with moderate to severe sagging skin in their midface, lower face, and neck. 

As the deep plane facelift repositions and restores the deeper underlying structures of the face and neck along with the superficial layers in a composite manner, it does more than just remove sagging skin and excess fat and lift the tissues like the traditional facelift. It provides a more dramatic lift and removal of excess skin and fat, smooths out deep wrinkles and folds, readjusts muscles to remove bands in the neck, and completely resets the superficial layers down to the layers beneath the SMAS to make you naturally look decades younger.

One of the key differences between the deep plane facelift vs. traditional is that it releases four ligaments that keep the underlying tissues and muscles together. This procedure can fully resuspend the face for a natural yet dramatic facial rejuvenation. Some people end up with a “stretched” appearance after a traditional facelift as it does not address these ligaments, remaining in the same place the aging process has left them. 

Despite delivering more comprehensive, dramatic improvements, the deep plane facelift may be safer than traditional methods because it does not damage the skin’s surface to reach the deeper layers.

Types Of Facelift: Which Is Right For Me?

When considering which procedure may be best for you, account for everything involved with each facelift: downtime, benefits, longevity, cost, risks, and more.

Lower costs can result in a less enduring and dramatic facelift. For example, just because the mini facelift seems the best option because it is the least expensive, this doesn’t mean you’ll be as happy with your results. A deep plane facelift will offer longer-lasting and more dramatic results. How long does a deep plane facelift last, you may ask? The answer is 15 years or more, for most patients.

It’s also important to understand that you cannot decide alone. Getting a facelift is a significant decision, and you need to meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon for an official evaluation and get their professional opinion. They will offer recommendations and set you in the best direction based on your goals and expectations.

If you’re considering a facelift and want a professional opinion on which is best for you and your goals, request a consultation with Dr. Goretti Ho Taghva in Newport Beach. She would be more than happy to listen to your needs and use her expertise in facial rejuvenation to develop a treatment plan tailored to you.