Deep Plane facelift vs SMAS facelift


Do you know the difference between a deep plane  and a SMAS facelift? There is a bewildering array of solutions available. But what is best?

None of us is immune to the ravages of time. However, the external signs of aging are a symptom of what is going on internally. After all, beauty comes from within, literally.

Changes occur to the skeleton and facial muscles. Also, the skin on your face starts to lose

elasticity. Excess fat and loose skin are the tell-tale signs of aging as gravity takes its toll.

Before long, you end up with sagging skin, jowls, and double chins. Also, unsightly eye bags can make you look tired and older than you really are.

The good news is that facelift surgery offers a solution to these problems. For most patients who undergo this procedure, their self-confidence improves dramatically.

With a facelift, you can finally look as good as you feel!

Why Have a Facelift?

Facelift surgery is still popular, despite the rise in non-surgical options. After all, plastic surgery offers a long-term, permanent solution that non-surgical treatments do not.

Non-surgical treatments are not as effective as surgical facelift procedures. Over time, they can be more expensive. Because most are temporary, they need to be topped up to maintain the results.

Additionally, surgery techniques have moved on. The emphasis on traditional facelifts was on pulling the skin tight.

Now, the emphasis is on repositioning soft tissues and restoring volume. Thus, today’s advanced facelift techniques aim to create a more natural appearance.

A surgical facelift (rhytidectomy) offers a one-time procedure and permanently restores a more youthful appearance for ten years or more.

At the end of the day, the main goal of facelift surgery is not to change your face beyond recognition. The idea is to help you look like a younger version of yourself with lasting results.

Of course, the aging process still happens. But after a facelift, it is occurring on a younger-looking face. Thus, a facelift buys you time in the fight against the aging process!

Facelift surgery improves age-related changes, such as jowls, sagging cheeks, and nasolabial folds. However, for other problematic areas you may need to consider additional procedures, including a neck lift or eyelid surgery.

Facelift Options

There are different options available. Different facelift techniques achieve different results, with their own pros and cons.

The two most common techniques used right now are the deep-plane facelift and the SMAS facelift.

It is worth knowing the differences between both techniques. After all, this is also a hot topic of discussion among plastic surgeons.

The SMAS technique and the deep plane facelift are usually performed under general anaesthesia, so you are unconscious and without pain throughout the surgery.

Both the deep-plane and the superficial musculo-aponeurotic system SMAS facelifts improve the lower two-thirds of the face and fix sagging skin, excess fat, and jowls.

However, each surgical approach has its own benefits and limitations. So, let`s assess which one provides better results or lasts the longest.


The Deep Plane Facelift

The deep plane facelift reduces the appearance of an aging face and neck. It removes excess skin but also tightens and reshapes the underlying musculature.

By cutting and releasing various ligaments tethering the face in its existing shape, the surgeon can manipulate the deep tissues.

The “deep plane” is the term used to name the anatomic plane that exists between the SMAS-platysma complex (muscle and fascia) and the deeper muscles responsible for facial expression.

This deep plane facelift technique involves a deep manipulation of the underlying soft tissues rather than simply relying on the pulling of skin and sutures to achieve a lifting effect.

A deep plane facelift also restores volume and cheek shape without fillers or cheek implants. It can also improve the nasolabial folds and deep hollows under the eyes in the same procedure. The SMAS complex, the deep muscles, and skin are raised together, as a unit, rather than separately.

To finish, the flap is suspended and fix in place, with stitches beneath the earlobe, using minimal access. There are fewer visible scars as the incisions are made behind the ears.

The main advantage of the deep plane facelift is that it is a deeper technique. Thus, it is suitable for older individuals with more pronounced lines and more significant skin laxity.

So, even though the deep plane facelift is the most invasive facelift technique, it offers patients the longest lasting results.

Since it works on the structural elements of the face (tissue and muscle), the deep plane facelift is more durable than SMAS facelifts, often lasting ten years and beyond.

The SMAS Facelift

The SMAS facelift is a superficial facelift. Surgeons developed this technique as a less invasive alternative to traditional facelift surgery. It shows significant improvements aesthetically, giving more natural results.

Your doctor will make small incisions at the temples above the hairline for the procedure, so they’re concealed. Scars are also hidden behind the tragus of the ear and the post-auricular groove.

This facelift technique involves elevating the skin followed by the lifting of the SMAS-Platysma complex.

The SMAS (Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System) is the muscle and fascia (muscle lining) deep in the subcutaneous fat of the lower cheeks and jowl (mid and lower face). And the platysma is the muscle that covers the neck and lower third of the face.

The main difference with the deep plane facelift technique is that the skin and SMAS layers are raised SEPARATELY. So, your doctor can tighten these two layers in different directions.

The SMAS approach gives the facelift surgeon better control when reconstructing the underlying tissue, customizing the procedure to deal with the patient’s individual needs!

This facelift technique reconstructs a customized facial shape. Also, it does not require the stretching of the skin! Instead, there is a delicate redraping of the facial skin, highlighting the new facial contours. Conversely, deep plane facelifts can give you an unflattering ‘wind tunnel’ look.

The main advantage of the SMAS facelift is that it is less invasive than the deep plane lift. Thus, it has a faster recovery time and costs significantly less.

However, this surgical approach only treats the lower third of the face and jawline, but it can’t lift drooping cheeks. As a result, many surgeons will perform fat grafting to the cheeks at the same time to achieve an overall rejuvenated look and restore facial volume.

Facelift Areas

What are the Differences Between the Deep Plane Facelift and the SMAS Facelifts?

For both procedures, candidates should be in good physical health and have realistic expectations of the possible surgical outcome.

  • The ideal candidate for a deep plane facelift is typically an older patient with severe skin laxity, especially in the jaw and neck region.
  • You could be an ideal candidate for a SMAS facelift if you are in your 40s- 50s and want to correct a few signs of aging. You may present with mild sagging but still retain some elasticity to work with.

Also, remember that a SMAS facelift can offer you more natural results. So, you should be clear with your surgeon about your goals and expectations. But your doctor will also recommend one procedure over the other depending on your particular case.

Remember that even though many aesthetic concerns can be treated with a facelift, others may require additional facial surgery procedures, such as eyelid surgery, brow lift, or neck lift for best results.

Recovery Time

The term “deep plane facelift” leads some patients believe that this surgical approach is more invasive than a traditional facelift, resulting in greater trauma to the face’s tissues and a longer recovery time.

However, a deep plane facelift allows the skin and muscle to remain attached to the underlying structures, so in theory, it should result in less trauma compared to a SMAS facelift that separates the different layers of facial tissue.

Actually, the recovery period of a few weeks is COMPARABLE for both procedures, so it is important to choose based on the results, goals, and expectations.

After the surgery, a dressing will be applied to your face, and drains will be in place to remove accumulated fluid. They will be removed in 24 hrs.

Expect important bruising and swelling around the treated areas. They can last for several days, subsiding after a couple of weeks.

To help reduce swelling, sleep in a semi-siting position and apply cold compresses. Also, your doctor will prescribe you pain medication to ease any discomfort.

You should refrain from social gatherings and work for a minimum of 10 days. Also, you should avoid direct sunlight.

You will be able to return to your daily activities after two to three weeks, and resume exercise after healing is complete (4-6 weeks).

Which Facelift Option is Right for Me?

It is not easy to compare the results of deep plane facelift surgery and the SMAS facelift. Everyone is different with unique conditions and factors that influence the outcome. Therefore, what might be best for one person is not necessarily the same for another.

It is best to consult with a plastic surgeon with appropriate expertise in the field. Dr Jesus Benito is a specialist in facial surgery. He is a member of professional international organisations, including the

  • American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)
  • American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS)
  • International Federation of Adipose Therapeutics and Science (IFATS)

Dr Benito Ruiz teaches around the world and is a speaker at international congresses. A skilled facial surgeon, he offers reliable treatments for positive outcomes.

Let us know if you need help deciding between a deep plane facelift and SMAS facelift for your procedure. With our free, no-obligation quote, we can provide an accurate cost estimate. This includes all the details of your individual case so there will be no surprises or hidden fees. Get in touch to find out more.


The facelift cost depends on many factors, including the time of surgery and the costs associated with admission to the clinic. Deep plane facelift cost is higher than SMAS technique.

Without knowing the patient, we do not offer approximate prices since each patient is different. But we know that the economic factor is important when making the decision.

For this reason, we offer the patient the possibility of coming to the clinic facilities for a free and no obligation first visit. You will be able to consult with the surgeon all your doubts or concerns. The medical team will offer the best solution and the best price for your facelift.

Ask for a quote today and we’ll help you decide which method of facial rejuvenation is best suited for you.

Facelift cost

Doctor Jesus Benito - Plastic Surgeon

Doctor Jesús Benito

Specialist in facial cosmetic surgery.

  • Secretary of the ISAPS (International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery).
  • Former president of the Spanish Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (AECEP).
  • 2013 Gold Medal (Forum Europa)

More information about the medical team.

Bibliography & Publications:

  • Lifting medio facial. VI Reunión de la Sociedad de Cirugía Plástica, reparadora y Estética de la Comunidad Valenciana. 28-29 de octubre de 2005. Valencia
  • Are lifting techniques for midface rejuvenation outdated? Congreso de EASAPS, Madrid 28 y 29 de noviembre de 2014.


The first visit is free and without obligation.

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    Dr Benito and Dr Salvador - Antiaging Group Barcelona

    Antiaging Group Barcelona

    Ronda del General Mitre, 84, 08021 (Barcelona, Spain)

    Nearest Metro Stations: Les Tres Torres / La Bonanova

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