Instagram made aesthetic terms like lip flips, red light therapy and radiofrequency microneedling part of our beauty vernacular. Social media has also pushed plastic surgery procedures further into the spotlight. So it is no surprise that the platform is making the deep plane facelift so well-known that patients now ask for it by name.
Here, we enlist four plastic surgeons for a deep dive into the trending surgery that any facelift connoisseur—newbie or veteran—will want to take note of.
Why the sudden trend?
WHY THE SUDDEN TREND?
Patients are jumping on the deep plane facelift train, which is trending on Instagram. In addition, celebrities are showing off their results, further validating the restorative power of the facelift. Boston facial plastic surgeon Min Ahn, MD adds that plastic surgeons who perform this facelift are popular in search results, reviews and on social media, “which adds to the hype.” Plus, public awareness always makes for more popular procedures.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and New York facial plastic surgeon Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD, says social media favors procedures with strong visual appeal. “The difference in the perceived age in before-and-after pictures of a deep plane facelift can be striking. Additionally, the deep plane facelift allows for balanced rejuvenation of the lower two-thirds of the face to avoid a tight look.”
WHAT IS A DEEP PLANE FACELIFT?
The deep plane facelift is the most complex of all the facelifts and consists of a deep dissection and surgical elevation of the lower facial plane. Salt Lake City, UT facial plastic surgeon P. Daniel Ward, MD explains that the face consists of different layers. “The deep plane layer exists below a thick fibrous sheet of tissue known as the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS),” he says. While other facelifts raise the skin and SMAS separately, the deep plane facelift lifts everything as one unit. “In a true deep plane lift, the dissection plane is entered quickly, and most of the lifting is there,” says Stanford CA, facial plastic surgeon Sam P. Most, MD. There are benefits to collectively lifting these layers, too: It preserves the blood supply to the skin and maintains the facial features’ innate appearance. “Plus, it leaves the attachments to the skin intact, so it heals faster and looks more natural,” Dr. Most adds.
Most facelifts necessitate pulling back the facial tissues. While this diminishes wrinkles, Dr. Ward says it does so at the expense of creating a somewhat unnatural appearance. “A deep plane facelift uses a more vertical lift, which counteracts the effects of gravity,” he shares. “There’s also some change in volume distribution by moving volume from the lower cheek to the upper cheek.”
Sure, the face is the epicenter of the deep plane facelift, but the surgery doesn’t neglect the neck since the SMAS is continuous with the platysma muscle. “In other words, the SMAS turns into the platysma muscle as you go down the face. So elevating the tissues in this plane lifts the face and neck and improves the midface slightly,” Dr. Ward explains.
HOW MUCH DOES A DEEP PLANE FACELIFT COST?
On the low end, a deep plane facelift costs between $25,000 and $50,000—Dr. Ward charges $80,000 for it. Some plastic surgeons command close to $300,000 for the surgery, depending on their location and experience. Tacking on additional procedures further increases the overall price. So why is the deep plane facelift exceedingly more expensive? “Even though it’s been around for 30 years, many surgeons are not trained in it or are not comfortable with it,” Dr. Most affirms.
HOW LONG DO THE RESULTS LAST?
A deep plane facelift lasts ten to 15 years. “If you never do another treatment or procedure, you will always look younger than someone who didn’t have surgery,” Dr. Ahn shares. Of course, how you care for your skin and face post-surgery—proper skin care, sun avoidance, and in-office treatments—helps maximize the results.
WHAT ABOUT THE SCARS?
The scars will be small, thin white lines in front of and behind the ears and in the sideburns and hairline. Your surgeon may make an additional incision under the chin to address the neck further. The recovery is similar to a traditional facelift, despite the deep dissection. Expect two to three weeks of social downtime with some swelling and bruising. After six weeks, you should feel ready to attend a special event and show off your beautifully rejuvenated face.
WHAT ELSE TO KNOW
All plastic surgery comes with risks, and Dr. Ward says there’s a rare incidence of nerve injury due to the location of the facial nerve branches. “There’s also a risk of skin numbness around the ears,” adds Dr. Most. There can be infrequent yet temporary changes to the corners of the lips related to weakening the muscle that elevates them. “But I’ve never seen this in the 2,000-plus facelifts I’ve performed,” Dr. Vasyukevich says.
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