Facelift vs Deep Plane Facelift

Facelifts and how they have progressed…

Facelift is a generic term that has many meanings depending on who is using it and in what context. In general, it refers to a surgery that seeks to reposition the skin and soft tissues of the face so as to decrease the appearance of aging.

Standard facelifting techniques generally address the jowls, jawline and the neck. This includes terms like SMAS lifting, SMAS plication, MACS lift, all of which address the jowls and neck alone. The majority of facelifts performed in the United States are the SMAS Plication facelifts. There are numerous names and versions of this type of procedure and even more ‘marketing and names’ used to describe them. However, the principles remain the same…

Early Facelift Lessons

The most outdated facelift procedure simply involves lifting and pulling the skin to remove wrinkles. Excess skin is removed. This process did not prove useful as tissue lines would result including a number of other deformities. Most of us have some mental image of this type of facelift from watching tv and movies. Hollywood is a great source when looking back over the history of the facelift and especially some of the spectacular early failures.

The Early SMAS Lifting Facelift Techniques

It didn’t take too many of these facelifts without impressive results before a better solution was needed. Just stretching the skin brought about some strange looking results—especially evident over time. Again, refer to those images in your mind of Hollywood movie stars who would gradually have that stretched-plate face look as they continued to have follow up surgeries. To try and improve durability of this type of facelift facial plastic surgeons and began to try a variety of SMAS lifting techniques.

SMAS facelifting techniques involves removal of skin, but improves the facelift outcome by pulling on the SMAS-Platysma complex and holding in place with the latest methods. The Platysma muscle is the muscle that enwraps across the neck and lower half of the face and cheek adjoined to the SMAS (Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System) on the upper half of the cheek. Unfortunately, this facelift procedure does not deliver the same ‘often unnoticed deep plane facelift’.

SMAS Facelift ‘Variations’ Still Common in the USA & Houston

The majority of facelift surgeons across the USA and many still use SMAS type of facelift procedure in Houston. What you must realize however is that different surgeons can get drastically disparate results using the similarly described facelift procedures. Other terms like short scar lift and mini lift or lifestyle lift are all marketing gimmicks and are not taken seriously by the plastic surgery community at large.

From surgeon to surgeon the durability and longevity of the procedure also varies greatly. There is no ‘brandname facelift’ this equal among all surgeons. The fact remains, it is the skill of the surgeon and the work they do that defines the quality, durability and final appearance.

The Deep Plane Facelift

Before & After Face Lift SurgeryAs the name suggests, the deep plane facelift is carried out in a deeper plane and a good surgeon can skillfully separate the muscular layer from the skin to allows them to slide over each other addressing the midface and nasolabial folds. With a skilled surgeon, much smoother redraping and longer lasting rejuvenation is the result. It requires a higher level of expertise, training and experience. The cost might be higher but the recovery time is around the same as any other facelift you can find in Houston.

As with any facelift procedure, each surgeon may employ extremely different techniques and different results should be expected. A deep plane lift requires a surgeon with years of training, natural-born talent to even consider performing the deep plane facelift. The fact remains, there are only a limited number of facial plastic surgeons who can perform deep plan facelifts safely and effectively.

True deep plane facelifts are therefore, are not commonly performed across the United States and/or Houston. Ironically, this has led to the numerous ‘brandname facelifts’ almost to cover up the fact those facial plastic surgeons cannot perform the ultimate and extremely complex facelift, the deep plane facelift. However, when performed by an expert, complication rates are are no different to other facelift procedures but the results are highly eloquent and many times more natural. Instead of a facelift procedure that works by pulling skin, the essence of the deep plane facelift procedure is the release and movement of muscle and fat layers to reconstitute these layers back to a more natural and youthful position.

Very few surgeons are able to perform the deep plane facelift in Houston and even fewer who can perform the procedure with the lateral release of the muscles in the neck as well—an area where Dr. Ben Cilento specializes—emancipating tethering points in the lateral neck allows for more rejuvenation and youthful appearance of the neck, lower face and jawline. The result is a more natural and longer lasting facelift—with a completely natural look.

“In the hands of a board certified facial plastic surgeon, the results are unparalleled. Other terms like short scar lift and mini lift or lifestyle lift are all marketing gimmicks and are not taken seriously by the plastic surgery community at large.” Dr. Ben Cilento.

Simply put, there is no ‘type’ or ‘brandname’ facelift that compares with the deep plane facelift. And while slightly more expensive, the investment is in you. The question begs you answer. Is getting a B-grade facelift worth the risk to save on the investment you are making in yourself?

Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Cilento, based out of Houston and The Woodlands, is a rare breed of plastic surgeon. He is highly capable and has a no-nonsense, no-gimmick approach to the procedures he performs, including deep plane face lifts. You can see the natural results of his facelift procedures performed in Houston by taking a look at our Facelift Gallery.