A deep plane facelift is a variant of the standard facelift. Like any facelift, it is designed to improve the appearance of the face and neck. The anatomy of the face is arranged in layers and facelift techniques are categorized based on how those layers are manipulated during the procedure. When the face ages, the changes do not just involve the skin so it is logical that a procedure to improve those aging changes would involve the layers deep into the skin as well. The Deep Plane Facelift is one of the techniques that is used to tighten and reposition the tissues of the aging face.
Anatomy of the face
As mentioned above, the face is arranged in layers. The first layer is skin, the second is fat, the third is a layer of connective tissue called the SMAS (superficial musculo-aponeurotic system) and surrounds the facial muscles and the fourth is the facial nerve that connects to those muscles. Aging involves the skin, fat, and muscle so facelift techniques must tighten all of those layers.
Difference Between Deep Plane Facelift and other Facelift Techniques
All modern facelifts deal in some way with the deep plane of the face; that is, the layer that consists of the facial muscles called the SMAS and the fat that lies on top of that layer. Some procedures place sutures in the deep plane without elevating it, a technique called plication. Other procedures involve dissection of the superficial plane (skin) and the deep plane separately so the surgeon has two separate layers to tighten. The advantage is that the two layers can be repositioned in slightly different directions and with different degrees of tension. The deep plane lift involves, for the most part, leaving the skin attached to the deep plane, and repositioning both layers of the face in one unit. The advantage is that tension can be placed on the deep layer rather than the skin. While surgeons may have techniques they prefer, most experienced surgeons vary the procedure depending on the anatomy, age, and aging changes of the patient. As a general rule, there is no BEST facelift procedure but there may be the BEST facelift procedure for a particular patient.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
The procedure begins with incisions, like any facelift, and after the skin has been elevated for a short distance, the dissection is performed deep to the SMAS. The cheek tissues are then elevated in one layer and fixed in position with sutures in the SMAS and then the skin is gently redraped without tension. The idea is to put the tension on the deeper tissues where it won’t show as opposed to on the skin where it would look tight and pulled.
A deep plane facelift procedure typically takes approximately 3-4 hours. The sutures are removed in stages over the next two weeks and the patients return to normal activities after a total of 3 weeks.
Complications of Deep Plane Face Lifting
The deep plane procedure probably has a higher risk of injury to the facial nerve than other procedures. Nerve injuries are the most dreaded complications of face-lifting because they can result in permanent asymmetry of facial movement such as smiling. In experienced hands, nerve injuries after deep plane face lifting should occur in far less than 1% of cases.
Consult a Plastic Surgeon
A deep plane facelift is a procedure that requires specialized surgical expertise and experience. Dr. Charles Thorne is a well-known plastic surgeon with many years of experience performing aesthetic procedures, including the deep plane facelift.
If you're considering a deep plane facelift or want more information about the procedure, schedule a virtual consultation with Dr. Throne. He will address your questions and concerns and tell you what type of facelift might help you.