25th Jun 2024

What are the differences between a SMAS facelift and Deep Plane facelift?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the difference between a deep plane facelift and a SMAS facelift. Both provide a rejuvenating effect, but the techniques used differ, and the results may vary. Here's a look at the two anti-ageing surgical procedures and how they can help you look younger.

What Is a Deep Plane Facelift?

A deep plane facelift is a surgical procedure that removes excess facial fat, skin, and muscle from the lower face and neck. It is typically used to improve the appearance of sagging skin, wrinkles, and jowls.

What Is a SMAS Facelift?

A SMAS facelift is a surgical procedure that removes excess facial fat, skin, and muscle from the lower face and neck. It is typically used to improve the appearance of sagging skin, wrinkles, and jowls. However, unlike a deep plane facelift, a SMAS facelift also involves tightening the SMAS layer (a thin layer of connective tissue that lies beneath the skin).

The Differences Between a Deep Plane Facelift and a SMAS Facelift

There are several key differences between a deep plane facelift and a SMAS facelift:


  1. The depth of the incision: A deep plane facelift involves making a deeper incision than a SMAS facelift. This allows for more extensive tissue removal.
  2. The approach to tightening the SMAS layer: An SMAS facelift involves drawing the SMAS layer using sutures. A deep plane facelift does not involve tightening the SMAS layer; instead, it relies on undermining (or separating) this layer to achieve results.
  3. The level of anaesthesia: A deep plane facelift typically requires general anaesthesia, while our surgeons can perform a SMAS facelift using local anaesthesia or general anaesthesia.
  4. The recovery time: A deep plane facelift typically requires longer time than a SMAS facelift.
  5. The results: a deep plane facelift produces similar results to a SMAS facelift. The deep plane facelift is more extensive and can carry more risk and a longer recovery. It is advised to discuss the options with our plastic surgeons who will give you honest advice on the best option for your facial structure and skin laxity.

Who is the Best Candidate for these Facelift Procedures?

A deep plane facelift and a SMAS facelift are suitable for anyone looking to reduce signs of ageing. However, they are better suited to patients in good general health and have sagging skin or facial wrinkles.

The best age for a deep plane or SMAS facelift is typically between 40-60 years old, although we do operate on older patients in their 70s for facelifts and blepharoplasty. 

Regardless of your chosen procedure, it is important to meet with one of our qualified facial plastic surgeon at Kensington Medical to discuss your individual goals and expectations. They can help you determine which approach best suits you facial structure  and ensure that you get the results you're looking for.


The recovery time for a deep plane facelift is typically 4 to 8 weeks, while the recovery time for a SMAS facelift is shorter, at 2 to 6 weeks. However, you may experience swelling and bruising during this time. Your surgeon will provide more information on the recovery process.

Like all surgical procedures, a deep plane face lift or SMAS facelift carries certain risks. These include bleeding, infection, loss of sensation in the face, and nerve damage. Your plastic surgeon will discuss these risks with you before the procedure.

Yes, a deep plane facelift or SMAS facelift can be combined with other facial cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), brow lift, neck lift, and fat transfer. Combining these procedures can help you achieve more comprehensive results.

A SMAS facelift can result in less scarring than a deep plane facelift. However it really does depend on the expertise of your facial plastic surgeon. Your surgeon will make the incision in an area of the face that is not visible, and they will use care to ensure minimal scarring. If you are interested in a facelift the best option will be to discuss what you want to achive. Our plastic surgeons can then advise if a Smas face lift or a deep plane will give you the results you are after. 

A deep plane or SMAS facelift results typically last for 10 to 15 years, depending on your age, skin type, and lifestyle habits. Looking after your skin, wearing a SPF 50 every day, concentrating on good diet and exercise can help you maintain your youthful appearance for longer.

The best way to find out if a deep plane or SMAS facelift is right for you is to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon at Kensington Medical. They can evaluate your specific goals and needs and recommend your best approach.

At Kensington Medical, we want to ensure that your facelift experience is safe and successful. Our London based surgeons are highly experienced in performing facelifts and neck lifts and will work with you to help you achieve beautiful, natural-looking results.

Mr David Gateley is a specialist GMC registered plastic surgeon who has carried out thousands of facial procedures. His experience spans all types of facelifts and neck lifts along with blepharoplasty. He has held a senior position within St. Georges NHS hospital as head of the plastics department and has taught many plastic surgeons.

Mr Amir Sadri is a specialist GMC registered plastic surgeon who specialises in facial plastic surgery. Within his private practice, he focuses on face and nose surgery. He also holds a consultant position for plastic surgery at Great Ormond St children’s hospital in London.

Mr Paul Tulley is specialsist GMC registered Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive, and Cosmetic Surgeon practicing at Kensington Medical in Harley Street, London and the Southeast of the UK. His experience in facial plastic surgery encompasses a comprehensive range of cosmetic surgeries, notably facial rejuvenation procedures such as deep plane.  

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or phone to find out more.

We look forward to helping you achieve a refreshed and nautural facial result.