If you’re searching online to learn more about facelift surgery, chances are you’ve come across phrases such as “deep plane,” “SMAS,” “thread lift,” and other confusing names. The multiple facelift techniques available mean you have options, which is generally good. But knowing which approach is right for you requires the expertise of a plastic surgeon specializing in facial plastic surgery.
We’ll compare the different types of facelifts in this blog post and discuss the benefits and limitations of each technique. That comparison includes the longevity of results, how much they cost, what you can expect during recovery, and other considerations.
What Is a Deep Plane Facelift?
Decades ago, as we wrote about in an earlier blog post, facelift surgery involved simply pulling the skin tight, removing the excess, and suturing the incisions. This “skin only” technique often led to results that looked unnatural. Facial plastic surgeons realized that facial aging occurred primarily below the skin, where sagging tissue and muscle and volume loss led to jowls, nasolabial folds, and the loss of definition between the chin and neck.
A deep plane facelift involves repositioning and vertically lifting the tissues and muscles to achieve a more elevated and youthful appearance. This technique also addresses lost volume, removes excess skin, and enhances the lower face and neck contours. Dr. Ladner artistically reconstructs the contours of the lower face and neck using this meticulous technique to create a natural and youthful rejuvenation.
What Is a SMAS Facelift?
The SMAS (superficial muscular aponeurotic system) facelift was developed in the 1970s when surgeons realized they could produce more natural-looking results than the skin-only technique. It was the first procedure to use underlying muscle tissue, called platysma, to modify the appearance of the face rather than using the skin itself. The results not only looked better but also lasted longer.
The SMAS lift is a less sophisticated surgical technique than the deep plane lift, which involves repositioning the muscles and the deeper tissues beneath the skin. The deep plane approach provides more comprehensive results and is suitable for individuals with advanced signs of aging, whereas the SMAS facelift is an excellent option for those with early or moderate signs of aging and skin laxity.
What Is a Ponytail Lift?
Think of what happens to your appearance when you pull your hair back in a tight ponytail. That’s essentially what the minimally invasive ponytail lift accomplishes: lifting the forehead, brows, and cheeks. The ponytail lift gained popularity recently when celebrities who underwent the procedure posted on social media. Ponytail lift is a marketing phrase, and the technique is not really a facelift because the procedure doesn’t address the lower face.
What Is a Mini Facelift?
Not all patients need a SMAS or deep plane facelift. Younger patients with less severe sagging may be good candidates for a mini facelift—sometimes called a short scar facelift. This procedure focuses on lifting the skin around the mid-face area instead of the skin of the entire lower two-thirds of the face. A mini facelift also doesn’t address loose neck skin.
What Is a Liquid Facelift?
A nonsurgical or liquid facelift uses injectables, such as dermal fillers and BOTOX®, to minimize wrinkling and restore volume without the downtime associated with surgery. The results are temporary but offer a convenient and quick fix for those not ready for surgery.
What’s the Difference in Cost and Recovery Time?
As you might expect, the cost of a facelift varies depending on the technique used. Less invasive procedures typically cost less but produce less dramatic results that may not last as long as those produced by a deep plane or SMAS facelift. The recovery following a deep plane or SMAS lift is relatively similar, with patients able to return to work that’s not physically demanding within 1 to 2 weeks.
Choosing the correct type of facelift depends on your individual goals, the extent of aging, and personal preferences. Whether opting for a deep plane or SMAS facelift, a mini facelift, or a nonsurgical alternative, the goal remains to create a refreshed and youthful look that enhances your natural beauty.