Healing Time - Deep Plane Lift Vs. SMAS Lift?

Is the healing time different btwn a deep plane and a smas lift?

Doctor Answers 25

Healing time after a facelift

Comparing the recovery time between a deep plane and SMAS lift in my experience is about the same. Choose the procedure for the final result, not for decreased recovery time, in the long run, you want the best procedure. You will not remember if it took 2 or 3 weeks for the swelling to subside.

Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Facelift Healing time SMAS Lift vs Deep Plane

The simple answer is yes the deep plane technique takes a lot longer to recover from most other facelift techniques including SMAS face lift techniques like the MACS lift and LiteLift. There is a good reason most facelift surgeons do not use the deep plane technique: long recovery, increased complication rate, and many other negative factors. It is however a great technique in the right hands but losing popularity because other facelift procedures also give great results with less risk and morbidity. The tingling and numbness can occur after many different types of face lifts, but prolonged swelling seems to be part of the recovery process in a deep plane technique that can last several weeks.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Healing Time - Deep Plane Lift Vs. SMAS Lift?

I will kindly advise you not to care about the time of recovery too much, as it will not make great difference, wether it takes you 3 or five weeks. As all the candidate do, you will forget all about the healing, and only the result will be an importance.
As it is a great number of techniques called Deep plane facelift and SMAS, it is difficult to discuss recovery time. Generally speaking, the Deep plane facelift is a more invasive surgical procedure , with prolonged swelling and longer healing time accordingly.

Ercan Karacaoglu, MD
Turkey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Deep plane vs SMAS facelift

I think a deep plane has more swelling than a standard of high SMAS facelift.  But again this can vary from patient to patient.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Deep plane lift requires longer healing time than SMAS lift

A deep plane lift is a much more invasive and extensive type of a lift, which means increased swelling and a prolonged period of being swollen. 

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Healing Time and Recovery Time with Face Lift

Hi Lizza,

The recovery and healing time would depend on the type of surgery, the extent of surgery, and how each procedure is done.

Deep plane Facelift is just a kind of SMAS lift. There are a variety of other types of Facelift procedures such as bi-planar lift, MACS lift, endoscopic and superiosteal Facelift.

The most important aspect of the face lift procedure is not the kind of Facelift that is being done. The most important criteria to consider is the final result that can be achieved. You plastic surgeon should discuss all available options after hearing your goals and desires that you would like to achieve with surgery.

We show pictures at a variety of stages of healing. Each procedure is custom-designed and individualized based on patient's anatomy and desired result.

Generally speaking, deep plane face lift creates more swelling and requires longer healing time. The good news is that there are very good alternative options that can give you good result without extended recovery time.

Hope this was helpful.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

There are many definitions of a SMAS facelift

Each surgeon's definition of a SMAS lift varies. The Deep plane is one version of a SMAS lift. This usually takes longer to heal from than a simple SMAS lift for my patients. However, the Deep Plane Facelift results also last longer. More extensive SMAS surgeries such as a bi-planer or extended SMAS have equal healing time and often results as a Deep Plane lift.

Steven J. Pearlman, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Focus on the surgeon not the technique.

Dear Lizza

The difference in healing time is inconsequential.  However, surgeons sometimes throw in midface work as part of their deep plane facelift.  This type of procedure will contribute to some swelling in the midface that per se is not part of the facelift.  Ultimately facelifts represent more of an art form rather than science.  Focus on finding the best artist rather than their slavish devotion to a particular technique.  Be aware that how you facelift closure is tailored is one of the most important components of you happiness with the work.  FInd the right surgeon and you will find the right facelift for you.


Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Healing Time - Deep Plane Lift Vs. SMAS Lift?

There seems to exist some confusion regarding the different types of facelifts, both among providers and patients. The "deep plane" facelift and the high SMAS facelift are two flavors of facelifts that involve a more aggressive undermining of the SMAS layer well into the midface, which is known as a deep plane dissection (that's where the "deep plane" facelift got its name). The High SMAS procedure also employs a deep plane dissection of the midface (often to a lesser degree than the deep plane facelift), but there are some significant differences relating to the extent of skin dissection, how the lower eyelid is managed, the plane of dissection of the neck, etc. Although the deep-plane facelift is traditionally seen as a more aggressive and thorough deep plane dissection, the High SMAS typically means that, in addition to the deep plane dissection of midface, the skin is also dissected away from the SMAS (muscle) layer to a greater extent, allowing the muscle and the skin to be pulled in different directions (muscle upwards, skin diagonally backwards), meaning that both procedures take longer than traditional techniques. However, the essence of each procedure lies in their deep plane dissection of the midface, allowing both of the procedures to elevate the cheek in addition to the lower face and neck, thereby creating a more vertical vector of lift that can be significantly more natural. Because of that, both procedures will be able to suspend the midface upwards more successfully than traditional "low-SMAS techniques", creating a more natural result in those patients with more advanced aging. On the other hand, because they are both more aggressive facelifts, they also carry a slightly higher risk of facial paralysis and certainly more expected cheek edema. So they both can be expected to have similar recovery times, although recovery to a socially-acceptable appearance varies with the patient's facial fullness, tendency to bruise, as well as what they consider to be socially acceptable. Of note, the facial paralysis risk is also strongly influenced by other factors, such as the surgeon's technique and experience, and the presence of scar tissue or atrophy of the facial SMAS. I use both conventional "low SMAS" and more aggressive deep plane techniques, including the "deep plane" and "high SMAS techniques" depending on the type of facial aging. No two patients are alike, but they can easily be categorized into those with significant midfacial aging and those without. In a 65-75 year-old patient, I am much more likely to utilize the deep plane dissection techniques (again, deep plane or high SMAS variations) than I would be in a 45-55 year-old patient. Now, frankly, I will also tell you that surgeons who perform all of these different techniques, are more partial to the deep plane dissection facelifts, because they undoubtedly produce better results in patients with facial aging. The technique that will work best for you depends strongly on your face and degree of aging in each of the facial segments. You can likely still get a great result with a more conventional, less-invasive facelift technique, please know that. You should also know that a deep plane dissection facelift takes more time and skill to perform, and because of the intrinsically higher risk to the facial nerve, some surgeons do not perform these techniques. Which is why, If there is one key point to learn from this question, which is excellent by the way, it would be that the distinction should not be so much between the High SMAS vs. Deep plane facelifts, but on whether it should be a deep plane dissection lift at all. Both techniques will require a more prolonged healing time with more edema and possibly bruising, but the difference may be only of a few days. If the technique offers a better result, then no doubt the slightly increased recovery time should be well worth it. I would recommend that all patients who want to be closely involved with the decision-making process of choosing the right facelift for themselves, consult with their surgeon regarding this important point. Thank you for asking this question, best of luck to you!

Danny Soares, MD
Clermont Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Deep Plane Facelift vs SMAS Facelift Recovery Time

I have not seen much difference between the two surgeries in terms of recovery time.  Conversely, I have not seen a lot of difference between the two surgeries either.  Since there is more opportunity for something to wrong with the deep plane, I do not use this technique any more.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.