Facelifts are one of the most popular plastic surgeries chosen by men and women around the country. Nevertheless, a lot of people don’t really know what the procedure does until they get in a doctor’s office. They know that it tightens their face and helps with wrinkles, but the actual techniques involved are more of a mystery.
There are many facelift techniques that have been developed over the years. Initially, the lifts were “skin only,” meaning that all of the tension was placed on the skin in order to elevate it. The results were mostly short-lived. This led surgeons to search for more reliable and long-lasting rhytidectomy techniques. The next advance came in the form of the SMAS facelift.
While there are different methods and approaches used by plastic surgeons, only two types of facelifts are commonly performed. These are the deep plane facelift and the traditional facelift.
The Traditional Facelift
The SMAS (Superficial musculoaponeurotic system) is a fibrous layer underneath the skin of the face. It envelopes the facial muscles. The SMAS technique involves the removal of a strip of the SMAS and the advancement of this layer to tighten the underlying tissues. This was a major advancement and improved the facelift results over the skin-only technique. The deep plane facelift was developed to help treat the areas where the SMAS lifts were deficient, mainly the midface.
Traditional SMAS lifts work by pulling the SMAS (muscular) layer. However, they do not completely free the facial retaining ligaments that hold the muscular layer. By failing to release these ligaments, the elevation of the deep muscular layer is limited in SMAS facelifts.
When facelift surgery was first performed, plastic surgeons would just tighten the top layers of skin. The problem with doing this is that your skin is made of several layers, all of which play a role in how your skin appears. If only the top layers are improved, that doesn’t address any issues present in the deeper layers. That’s why plastic surgeons developed the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) lift, which is now the traditional facelift approach. The traditional facelift surpasses its predecessor by focusing on improving your skin from the inside out. It includes the deepest layers of soft tissue so that aging effects around your face can be completely addressed.
In this method, the surgeon makes an incision or multiple incisions behind the hairline, usually around the temple and behind the ear towards the neck. A lot of people think that a facelift involves tightening the face from the forehead, but this is actually considered a brow lift. In reality, a facelift tightens the area from under your cheek down to your jaw line, which is why the incisions go behind your ears or around your temple instead of across your forehead. The skin is tightened back to the incisions to improve loose or sagging skin around your jaw and neck. It also is used to improve the appearance of lines or wrinkles around your mouth.
The Deep Plane Facelift
The deep plane facelift is a more advanced version of the traditional facelift. It focuses on the facial muscles and fat deposits located in the lower half of your face in addition to the soft tissue. By reaching this deep into your facial structure, a surgeon can repair damage to your facial muscles and relocate fat deposits. Repairing your muscles is important because they provide support for your soft tissue. When your muscles are damaged, your soft tissue doesn’t have as strong of a foundation, which contributes to an older appearance. Fat may also need to be relocated because it can move lower on your face thanks to gravity. This can make your eyes and cheeks look hollowed, or it can make you look heavier.
For this facelift, the surgeon lifts the entire midface region of your face. Unlike the traditional facelift, this includes the cheeks. The muscles are repaired, tightened, and lifted back into position. The malar fat pad (the patch of fat inside your cheeks) is repositioned so it fills out your cheeks again. Extra fat deposits that are hiding around your face can also be removed. The soft tissue is then lifted back into position, tightened, and secured in place.
Which Facelift is the Better Option?
The reality is that both of these facelifts are excellent choices. They are effective at taking years away from your face (up to a full decade!). They have proven track records for safety and amazing results. They even cost about the same. So what is that really makes them different?
It basically comes down to two things: what your face needs, and what your surgeon prefers. A traditional facelift works well for patients who have loose skin around the lower region of their face and wrinkles around their mouth. A deep plane facelift works well for patients who have these same issues, but to a greater extent. This type addresses not only the soft tissue, but the muscles and fat as well. If your problems are more related to the soft tissue, you might not need a deep plane facelift. However, if your problems stem from your facial muscles or fat deposit migration, you might benefit more from the deep plane facelift.
A Surgeon’s Preference
Your plastic surgeon also impacts which type of facelift you get. Some surgeons don’t offer the deep plane facelift, or simply prefer to do the traditional facelift. Dr. Bustillo prefers to use the deep plane facelift for his patients because it works to improve your appearance at the ground floor. This ensures that you get to enjoy the results of your facelift for as long as possible. Plus, the deep plane facelift is generally considered more natural-looking.
Regardless of which facelift you get, it should only be performed by a trained and qualified professional. If a facelift is done incorrectly, you could have serious complications or less than desirable results. For example, if your skin is pulled too tightly across your face, it won’t look natural and could feel very uncomfortable. On the flip side, if your skin is not tightened enough, it will be difficult to discern your results. A surgeon experienced and qualified in facelift surgery is the only one who should be performing your procedure.
Facelift Consultations with Dr. Bustillo
If you are interested in facelift surgery, schedule an initial patient consultation with Dr. Andres Bustillo. Dr. Bustillo has been a facial plastic surgeon for the past thirteen years. He has contributed to several publications on facelift surgery and he educates other plastic surgeons on his techniques. Dr. Bustillo operates on a more conservative approach to ensure that his patients are getting the best possible care without subjecting them to unnecessary procedures. He also takes the time to get to know his patients so he understands exactly what they are hoping to achieve with plastic surgery, and he works closely with them to determine the best way to reach their goals.
To schedule a patient consultation with Dr. Bustillo, contact his office in Miami, FL at (305) 663-3380.