This results in a more natural looking outcome, without the stretched ‘done look’ that is fast going out of fashion. Although the deep-plane facelift is not considered major surgery, only a few surgeons have the expertise to perform the procedure with success. A deep-plane facelift also requires less healing time compared to a skin only or a standard facelift.
While skin-only facelifts focus on the outmost skin layers, giving rise to that ‘done look’ most people associate with facelifts, the standard facelift today goes a bit deeper to the submusculoaponeurotic system or the SMAS layer. The SMAS layer lies beneath the facial fat and is made up of fibrous connective tissue. It separates the deeper facial structures like the muscles that control facial movements, nerves and other structures of the face from the superficial layers of the face.
Although the SMAS facelift is an improvement over skin-only facelifts, it has only a minor effect on the deeper tissues. For this reason, some degree of skin pulling is necessary to achieve a satisfactory final result. Sometimes the SMAS facelift is referred to as a ‘muscle pulling lift’.
In contrast, a deep-plane facelift repositions deep facial soft tissue that lies beneath the SMAS layer, allowing the whole face to be lifted. The result accentuates the jaw, neck and cheekbones and produces longer lasting, natural enhancement without giving you the plastic, ‘done look’, which is fast going out of fashion. The ability to produce longer lasting results and avoid the pulled effect is due to the fact that the deeper layers are more fibrous and inelastic compared to the elastic nature of our skin.
Both men and women have deep-plane facelifts, but in general it is more popular among women. This technique is very suitable for older people with a lot of sagging and loose skin, but surgeons report many clients in their early 40s requesting this procedure.
You are a good candidate for a deep-plane facelift if any of the following apply:
Scientists believe that a deep-plane facelift is more suitable for smokers than any other facelift. Smoking significantly reduces the body’s ability to absorb oxygen, and the deep-plane tissue has a better supply of blood than the more superficial layers of the face. You can read more about how smoking increases your level of risk in our article on smoking and surgery.
The deep-plane facelift is the preferred technique of surgeons for secondary or revision facelift surgeries because most first-time facelifts have been standard facelifts. There is also a limit to how far the face can be ‘pulled.’
According to many surgeons, the deep-plane facelift is the most effective way to restore the mid face and the creases from the nose to the mouth, otherwise known as the nasolabial folds. This is because the procedure lifts and repositions the fat pads in the cheeks, restoring the cheekbone shape and removing any facial hollows.
Surgeons modify the deep-plane technique to include only the midface—from under the eyes to the jawbone—thereby accomplishing a significant result in a limited region. In this way, it can be an alternative to the previously popular minilift. This is suitable for younger people who have not yet shown signs of ageing around their necks.
A deep-plane facelift is performed in a hospital and usually requires an overnight stay.
The incisions in a typical facelift are placed in front of and behind the ears. Your incisions may extend into the scalp as well.
Once the incisions are made, various degrees of undermining of the skin are performed, and the deeper layers of the face are ‘lifted’. Muscle tightening as well as liposuction of the neck and jowls may be performed, and excess skin is either removed or repositioned. The results are a reversal of the effects of gravity and a tightening of soft tissues of the face, restoring a more youthful contour to the face
Expect photos to be taken both before and after surgery for the purpose of “before and after” comparisons.
If you have short hair, you may want to let it grow out a bit before the surgery so that it can cover your surgical incisions during the recovery period. If you dye, bleach or chemically treat your hair, you may want to have this done ahead of the surgery. It will be at least a month before you can safely treat your hair again.
Make arrangements for someone to drive you home after your hospital stay. It’s also a good idea to have someone stay overnight with you on your first night home.
After the surgery your face will be bandaged. Sometimes drain tubes are inserted beneath the skin to remove fluids. Many people report surprisingly little pain after the deep-plane facelift procedure. Any discomfort you may experience can be controlled with pain medications.
Expect some level of swelling and bruising, especially in the first week. Unlike a standard facelift, which requires the skin to be separated from the deeper tissues to achieve the lift, the deep-plane technique works by repositioning the entire loose soft tissue of the face as one unit, causing less tissue trauma. This is why healing is generally faster with a deep-plane facelift.
Your facial bruising will fade away within a couple of weeks, but you may still have some puffiness. Your surgeon will guide you on what medications and remedies you can use for reducing discomfort during this period. Cold compresses on the face may help limit swelling and bruising.
There are general steps that can speed up the healing process after surgery. Follow these and your surgeon’s instructions carefully to ensure speedy healing and a good outcome.
Here are a few tips to ensure proper healing after your facelift surgery:
Most people can return to work after two weeks. It is important to remember, however, that different people heal differently. So discuss this with your surgeon, and you will be given the go ahead if your wounds are healing normally.
As with any surgical procedures there are risks involved in a deep-plane facelift. You should be fully aware of potential risks and complications involved in any surgical procedure before you elect to go through with it.
Specific complications that may occur during or after a deep-plane facelift include:
Just as you would discuss potential benefits before surgery, it is always advisable to ask your surgeon to address the potential risks as they apply to you. They can also advise you on how to avoid or minimise some types of risk.
The cost of a deep-plane facelift will vary depending on the surgeon you choose, the facilities used and the exact procedure that must be performed. Your surgeon will help you estimate potential costs after a consultation.
Expect the surgery to cost in the range of $20,000 and $30,000 (AUD) including the surgeon’s and assistant surgeon’s fees, anaesthetist’s fee, hospital facilities and services and the cost of follow up visits.
This information is correct as of 2017.