Karan Chopra™ M.D.

Deep Plane Facelift vs.
SMAS Facelift: Which One
Offers Better Value?


Facelifts are some of the most effective facial rejuvenation procedures you can get, but the type of facelift you get matters a lot.

If you don’t already know me, I’ll introduce myself.

I’m Dr. Chopra, board-certified plastic surgeon and facial rejuvenation expert.

At my practice, the terms SMAS Facelift and Deep Plane Facelift come up a lot. Today, I want to discuss these two options so you can decide which one is right for you (or whether an entirely different procedure would be best).

Although they have similarities, there are substantial differences between the SMAS Facelift and Deep Plane Facelift.

Many of my patients ask:

  • Is the price difference really worth it? 
  • How long will the results last? 
  • What is the expected recovery time? 
  • What are the risks and potential complications? 
  • How do these procedures affect facial expressions?

These are all important questions, and you’re going to get the answers here.

Discover which approach would be best for you if you are looking for a more natural lift or want to target specific areas of your face.

What is a SMAS Facelift Procedure?

First things first… let’s define SMAS.

SMAS stands for Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System, and it’s a layer of tissue beneath the skin that surrounds the muscles and fat in the face.

This procedure involves tightening and lifting the SMAS layer. It aims to reduce moderate to severe sagging of the midface, jowls, and neck.

What is the Deep Plane Facelift Procedure?

On the other hand, the Deep Plane Facelift goes further beneath the SMAS layer. This approach allows the surgeon to reposition the SMAS by performing a full release of the retaining facial ligaments in a more vertical direction. This effectively creates a dramatic, durable and natural result. 

This Deep Plane Facelift penetrates and treats:

  • Skin and the superficial fat pads
  • The SMAS layer
  • The deep facial plane—includes facial ligaments and muscles
  • Nasolabial Folds
  • Marionette Lines

What are the Major Differences Between These Surgeries?

Despite the primary difference in surgical dissection depth, there are many other factors to consider when you make your choice. 

Let’s talk a little more about the results you can expect, the recovery process, and potential risks.

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What Results Can I Expect From Each Procedure?

Both surgeries result in a youthful-looking face with minimal scarring. The incisions are carefully placed within the natural creases of the face and hairline to prevent scars from forming.

If you go to a reputable and experienced surgeon (like me), you’ll receive a customized approach to treatment that matches your needs, preferences, and facial structure.

For example, if you have a specific concern, you can adjust the procedure to focus on certain areas of the face.

Elevating the SMAS layer generates more comprehensive and enduring benefits than skin-only lifts. 

Overall, the procedure will help you look younger. You can expect:

  • Improved jawline definition
  • Elimination of the jowls
  • Skin tightening for sagging faces
  • Confidence-boost
  • A natural-looking result that makes you appear much younger

The Deep Plane Facelift is my preferred approach because it addresses signs of aging more significantly than SMAS, lifting the mid-face and neck areas. 

This results in a more youthful appearance and offers rejuvenation that is profound. You can expect:

  • Long-lasting results that can last for up to 10-15 years or more
  • A more natural-looking result, without overdone or pulled effects
  • Rejuvenation of the entire face, including the nasolabial folds, jowls, and marionette lines

Where are the Incision Sites?

In both procedures, the incisions are the same. They are made at the hairline near the temples and may extend from around the ears to the hairline behind them. Once again, the difference here is that the Deep Plane Facelift focuses on the deeper layers of face.

What are the Potential Risks Associated with these Procedures?

Just like any other surgical procedure, both of these facelifts have their risks. 

Common side effects for both the SMAS and Deep Plane Facelift procedures are swelling and bruising (which will subside gradually over a few weeks), as well as temporary numbness in the facial area.

Other risks are considered rare when the procedure is carried out by an experienced surgeon. They are:

  • Hematoma or Seroma, blood or fluid accumulation under the skin that may need to be drained
  • Infections, which are prevented with antibiotics
  • Temporary nerve injury that leads to weakness or asymmetry in your facial muscles
  • Scars, but they are strategically placed to make them as unnoticeable as possible and will fade significantly over time
  • Anesthesia risks (which are present in any procedure that uses anesthesia)

Keep in mind that those who drink and smoke excessively may also face a more challenging healing process.

If you’re in poor health, you should tell your doctor that prior to surgery. You should also disclose any underlying medical conditions that could interfere with surgery or healing, such as uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from a Deep Plane and SMAS Lifting?

After any of these procedures, you’ll spend a few hours in our recovery room under our team’s close monitoring until you’re ready to go home. 

We’ll schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and provide guidance during your healing process.

In both the Deep Plane and SMAS lift options, my patients tend to require about one week of social downtime.

I like to say, “it’s about two weeks till you’re restaurant ready and two months until you’re red carpet ready”.

Dermal fillers are not used only for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Many surgeons recommend them for changing facial shapes as well. For example, reducing the fat in your cheeks with dermal fillers is less invasive. However, it involves injections that shape your face and give the impression that you have a more pronounced cheekbone.

How to Decide Which One is the Best Option for Me

Now that you know about both procedures, let’s talk about which one is the right fit for you!

First, there isn’t an ideal age for considering a SMAS or Deep Plane Facelift. It really depends on your skin type, lifestyle, genetics, and aesthetic goals.

The Deep Plane Facelift is the Gold Standard in facelifting and it’s my personal favorite for all age groups. It produces a more natural result because rather than pulling the skin or SMAS (which can create a flattened, wind-swept appearance), the Deep Plane repositions the deeper structures and the skin naturally follows. This approach preserves the natural contours of the face and enhances beauty. The deep plane is my preferred approach in patients as young as 40 and as old as 80. 

In certain scenarios, particularly when a patient has undergone multiple facelift procedures by different surgeons, a SMAS facelift, such as a SMAS Plication facelift, becomes my preferred approach. In these cases, the history of prior surgeries introduces unknown variables, making the Deep Plane Facelift potentially risky. The conservative nature of the SMAS lift is more suitable under these circumstances. 

Additionally, a SMAS facelift may be preferable if the patient’s BMI is less than 20. In such instances, the thinness of the patient’s SMAS layer may pose challenges for proper elevation during a deep plane procedure. Ultimately, while the Deep Plane Facelift is generally considered optimal, it may not be suitable for individuals with very low BMI or those with extensive scarring from previous surgeries, where achieving a clean deep plane becomes challenging.

Typically, SMAS Facelifts are for people who express a desire to reverse moderate signs of aging. Many patients are between the age of 40 and 60. They’ve begun to notice signs of aging such as sagging skin, deep creases, or loss of facial volume.

On the other hand, a Deep Plane Facelift usually suits those who require deeper correction. They’re usually in the 50s to 70s age range. These individuals face significant sagging and loss of volume in the face, particularly in the mid-face and neck region. If suitable, your surgeon may also recommend a deep neck lift.

However, facelifts are not only for older people. Younger patients may also be candidates if they have some of the same concerns we discussed due to genetics.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to plastic surgery. Before making any decision, you should have a thorough consultation with an experienced surgeon.

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How Much is Deep Plane Facelift and SMAS Facelift?

In most cases, a deep plane facelift is pricier than an SMAS facelift because it targets deeper layers of tissue and requires advanced training.. There are numerous factors that contribute to the final cost, however. Roughly, a Deep Plane Facelift in Miami ranges from Approximately $17,500 to $60,000. The exact cost will depend on the extent of surgical correction and other factors that need to be taken into account. 

Overall, What Should I Expect From Each Procedure?

While SMAS facelifts can enhance your appearance and boost confidence, they are not a means of achieving perfection or drastically altering your fundamental appearance. These techniques are commonly performed with 

While the Deep Plane Facelift can offer significant improvements, it is not a magic wand for all signs of aging. It doesn’t stop the natural aging process.

How to Choose the Right Surgeon

Getting a facelift is a highly personal choice. You should navigate this journey with as much information as possible. Before making any decisions, you need to have a clear goal in mind of what you aim to achieve with a facelift.

For example, you may only want subtle refinement, or you may want a more significant lift. You can discuss which procedure meets your goals and expectations with the help of a doctor.

I also highly recommend seeking out board-certified plastic surgeons with experience in facelifts. This is an extremely delicate and complex procedure. You want to end up with a beautiful face, not a botched one. Beware of choosing an inexperienced surgeon.

Finally, make sure you have time to allow for a full recovery. Even if there are few side effects, you need to take enough time off work so your new face can heal perfectly.

Why Dr. Chopra? Choose the Best Facelift Surgeon in Miami

Cosmetic procedures deeply affect your self-esteem. You don’t want to put your face at risk with inexperienced professionals. This is why you can trust me, Dr. Karan Chopra

Unlike many practitioners, I meet rigorous criteria:

  • 6 years of surgical training and over 10 years of experience
  • Completion of an accredited program
  • Performance of thousands of procedures
  • Commitment to continuing education
  • Training at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University

To meet your needs and goals, I personalize every treatment plan. I’ll tell you my professional opinion and choose the right approach to help you look and feel your best.

Whether it is a small change or a significant revision, I can correct mistakes made by other practitioners from the past. If another surgeon did you wrong in the past, don’t be afraid to book a consultation with me—I’m here to help however I can!

Ready to chat about your facelift options? I’d love to speak with you about your aesthetic goals. Let’s get a meeting on the calendar!

Further Reading about Facial Plastic
Surgery Procedures

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