With age comes wisdom, experience, and more memories, but it also comes with fine lines from years of smiling, frowning, laughing, and crying. The skin around your face and neck will inevitably droop and wrinkle with time, caused by decreased collagen production, weakened tissues and muscles, sun damage, lifestyle habits, and more. Skincare routines and non-surgical methods such as Botox or dermal fillers can be helpful for maintenance and prevention, but there comes a time when we need to go a little deeper to address facial aging. 

The most effective procedure for reversing severe aging signs in the face and neck is the deep plane face and neck lift, which involves repositioning the tissues below the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS). Deep plane facelifts lift and add volume to the mid to lower face by targeting the tissues below the muscle layers rather than those connected to the muscles. Dr. Markarian delivers this surgery slightly differently than the traditional methods for more well-rounded results.

What Is A Modified Deep Plane Facelift?

Dr. Markarian’s deep plane facelift technique combines a modified deep plane rhytidectomy with a corset platysmaplasty. He enters the “deep plane” to target the platysma (the muscle in the neck) along the midline. He removes any excess neck muscle in the midline and plicates it to create the corset platysmaplasty. He then folds and tightens the muscle, excess skin, and fat in the platysma and SMAS to create consistently tight, smooth, youthful-looking skin and contour from the mid-face down to the bottom of the neck.

Traditional deep-plane facelift methods don’t target the neck muscles and skin, causing the face to look much younger than the neck. Determined to give patients a youthful appearance from the mid-face to the collar bones, we address the deep plane of the platysma to reverse aging signs in the neck, where they can be the most severe. From muscle banding to jowling, an aging neck dramatically impacts appearance when left untreated.

What Is The Goal Of A Deep Plane Facelift?

The main goal of a deep plane facelift, whether it is modified or not, is to restore youthfulness to the face by removing and tightening excess, wrinkly skin. Many surgeons prefer the deep plane over traditional SMAS facelifts because it creates more natural-looking results by releasing tensions and tightening the deeper tissues. Other face-lifting techniques may cause a “pulled” appearance, which can look unnatural.

According to a book in the National Library of Medicine, the deep plane facelift aims to improve:

  • Nasolabial folds
  • Jowling
  • Drooping Cheeks
  • Facial dimples caused by lax skin and muscle bands
  • Swollen mounds in the lower eyelid and cheek area

How Is Deep Plane Facelift Different From Other Facelift Techniques?

The deep plane facelift stands out from other techniques for rejuvenating the face because it can redefine the entire contour of the face, from the cheekbones to the chin and jawline. Dr. Markarian’s method goes even further and includes redefining the neck structure. It can deliver natural volume to the cheeks, improving aging signs in both the mid-face and lower face. Most other facelift techniques focus mainly on the lower face, which can cause patients to seek other treatments for reversing aging signs around their mid-face.

The main difference between the deep plane facelift and the traditional SMAS facelift is that the deep plane facelift targets the skin and SMAS together in a composite approach, while the SMAS facelift is more of a two-layer dissection of the skin and SMAS separately, according to Dr. Brock Ridenour for RealSelf.

What Does “Deep Plane” Mean?

“Deep plane” is a term used to describe the embryologic cleavage plane between the SMAS layer and the deeper layer of muscles that play a role in facial expression and structure. By targeting this layer rather than the more superficial layers closer to the surface of the skin, it tightens the appearance of your face and neck without affecting your natural contour or facial expression. 

Recovery After Deep Plane Facelift: What To Expect

While a modified deep plane face and neck lift is very effective at addressing aging signs, it requires targeting deep tissues resulting in a slow but steady recovery. The healing process can take several months, but most patients believe the recovery is worth the dramatic, long-lasting results. 

The best way to recover as quickly and smoothly as possible is to follow your doctor’s instructions. Make sure you plan ahead of time to have someone drive you home from surgery and take care of you for the first day or two. 

On the first day after surgery, Dr. Markarian prefers to have patients return to our practice for a follow-up appointment just to take a look and ensure everything is starting to heal properly. Cold compresses can help with swelling for the first few days after surgery, and should you experience any pain around the treated areas, we can prescribe pain medications to minimize discomfort.

Removal of your sutures will be the second week of recovery. Most patients prefer to stay home for the first week after a deep plane facelift because of the swelling, but it’s safe to start doing low-impact errands like going to the store. You may feel close to being yourself about two weeks after surgery, and if your work doesn’t require strenuous physical activity, you should be safe to return to the office at this point.

Swelling and bruising will slightly improve day-to-day for the first few weeks. You’ll likely notice the most swelling in your jawline, neck, and lower cheeks. Once that dissipates, you should see your face and neck slowly becoming tighter and more lifted. 

When Can I Exercise Again After A Deep Plane Facelift?

You must take a break from the weights and treadmill to heal correctly and maintain your results. Light walks are safe around the one-week mark. We recommend waiting about a month to return to the gym and perform more strenuous exercises because any complications can slow your recovery and affect your final results.

When Will I See Results After Deep Plane Facelift?

Most patients notice their new, youthful face and neck within six months after deep plane face and neck lift surgery.

How Long Does A Deep Plane Facelift Last?

Since the deep plane face and neck lift targets far below the skin exposed to environmental factors, it typically lasts much longer than traditional, more superficial facelift techniques. Most patients enjoy their youthful faces and necks for 15 years or even longer after a deep plane facelift.

What Scars Can I Expect After a Deep Plane Face And Neck Lift?

Incisions during a deep plane face and neck lift are around your hairline, ear, and under your chin. While this is an invasive surgery that yields dramatic results, incisions from it usually heal with scarring that’s barely noticeable. For most patients, visible scarring that doesn’t fade is concealed, either by the ears or hair.

What Treatments Can You Combine With Deep Plane Facelifts?

While Dr. Markarian’s style of deep plane face and neck lifts creates the foundation for a more youthful face in your mid to lower face and neck, we may recommend that some patients combine it with other procedures to help improve the upper facial area and the more superficial layers of skin.

Some treatments that complement a deep plane facelift include:

According to the American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery, facial fat transfer, liposuction, and brow lift can also be great surgical treatments to combine with the deep plane facelift to complete and enhance your results.

Am I An Ideal Candidate For A Deep Plane Facelift?

Aging is beautiful as it reveals all the wrinkles made throughout years of happy memories. Even so,  we usually reach a point where drooping skin, jowling, excess fat pockets, muscle banding, and deep wrinkles get in the way of our confidence. A deep plane face and neck lift will allow you to maintain your natural facial structure while rejuvenating those aging signs so you look and feel your best. Deep plane facelifts are well-known for giving patients results that make them look younger but don’t take away their personality, expression, and unique sparkle.

If you want to restore your face and neck contour and bring out your natural beauty, a modified face and neck lift by Dr. Mark Markarian in Boston can help you look as lively and radiant on the outside as you feel on the inside. If you’re considering this surgery and would like to learn more about it, schedule a consultation with Dr. Markarian so he can evaluate your suitability.