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Deep-Plane vs. SMAS Facelift

If you’re considering your best options for facelift surgery, the different available techniques may seem daunting. Because facial anatomy differs from patient to patient, your facelift method must match your cosmetic concerns and desired outcome.

The two most advanced facelift approaches are called deep plane and superficial musculoaponeurotic system, or SMAS. Each can reduce the signs of aging women and men realize as they get older, producing stunning, natural-looking results that avoid the stereotypical “windblown” effect. If you recently began researching facelift surgery, it can be helpful to understand the difference between these two methods.

A Brief History of Facelift Surgery

Today’s facelift techniques have evolved considerably since 1916, when a German surgeon named Dr. Erich Lexer performed the first such surgery. Then, it was a simple matter of lifting and tightening facial skin layers. Though this early process produced satisfactory results, they weren’t long-term, and left patients with significant, visible scarring.

By the 1920s, surgeons had further refined their methods by separating the facial fat and skin before tightening. They also learned how to conceal incisions to make scars less noticeable.

The surgery’s next innovation came in the 1960s and ‘70s, when pioneering facelift experts began to address the muscles and connective tissue as part of their surgical approach. Since this layer enables facial expressions, a facelift that treats this area has shown much longer-term rejuvenating benefits. In addition, it comes with the added benefits of relieving pressure from the skin layer tightened in earlier facelift techniques, achieving an optimal degree of lifting and visible staying power.

Deep Plane

A deep-plane facelift tightens and lifts the middle and lower facial areas by targeting the SMAS. It’s effective and softens deep wrinkles and folds while maintaining a natural presence.

In performing a deep-plane facelift, Dr. Cooper lifts the jowls and neck, while releasing cheek ligaments and elevating the cheek fat pads and muscles. The overall result is to smooth wrinkles and restore a youthful heart shape.

This facelift technique has one notable advantage – lifting the skin and the SMAS at once rather than separately could create more natural results.


When performing a facelift with the SMAS technique, Dr. Cooper lifts the skin away from the SMAS layer and addresses each separately. In some cases, this approach affords him more control over the outcome.

Skin tightening is still critical, but its lifting role is secondary to SMAS. Sometimes, Dr. Cooper uses the SMAS and deep-plane approaches simultaneously if he thinks doing so will provide optimal results.

Your Best Choice for Palm Beach Facelift Surgery

The deep-plane and SMAS facelifts are optimal choices to rejuvenate your facial profile and reveal a younger, refreshed version of yourself. For patients in Jupiter and Palm Beach, Dr. Cooper can create a customized facelift plan to meet your every need.

First, we invite you to contact Harvard-trained plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Cooper by calling (561) 406-6574 or scheduling a consultation online.

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