What Is A Deep Plane Facelift? | Donaldson Plastic Surgery

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By Dr. Michelle Sieffert |

What is a Deep Plane Facelift?

An In-Depth Look at Dr. Sieffert’s Surgical Technique

Female Plastic Surgeon Dr. Sieffert in OR

Let’s Face It. It’s Not Just Skin-Deep!

Dr. Sieffert is a highly-skilled plastic surgeon who understands that science and beauty are not just skin-deep. Facelifts are a plastic surgeon’s best tool for addressing facial sagging, but for many, the lifts are simply “skin only”. This is an overly-simplistic approach — facial anatomy is complex, and the deep tissues that are responsible for holding your skin in place are also affected by gravity and aging. The deep plane facelift technique, performed at Donaldson Plastic Surgery, addresses not only the skin layer but also the underlying structures, making it Dr. Sieffert’s preferred method for exceptional facelift results!

What is a Deep Plane Facelift?

A deep plane facelift is an advanced surgical facelift procedure designed to tighten the underlying layer of connective tissue beneath the skin known as the SMAS (superficial musculo-aponeurotic system), while simultaneously lifting, draping, and tightening the skin covering the cheek and lower face. 

This method is, without a doubt, the most effective way to comprehensively correct facial sagging in the mid-to-lower face (more specifically, from the top of the cheekbone to the jawline where the first signs of aging are most likely to appear). Dr. Sieffert can perform advanced deep plane facelift surgery for men and women who would like to see the most significant and long-lasting improvement in these areas and want the best technique available to refresh their features.

What Does the Phrase “Deep Plane” Mean? 

Imagine for a moment the anatomy of the face is separated into 2 layers, or “planes.” The facial skin is the outer-most layer, and beneath that is the connective tissue and muscle layer known as the SMAS. A “deep plane” facelift means the mechanism of action is occurring at the SMAS plane.

What Areas Does a Deep Plane Facelift Include?

A deep plane facelift is chosen to correct concerns related to marionette lines, nasolabial folds, and jowls along the jawline. While it primarily focuses on the cheeks and lower face, it is often paired with fat grafting to address loss of volume throughout the face, and a neck lift to address the chin, neck, and submental region (under the chin). There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this method. Your deep plane surgery is completely customizable to fit your goals and needs.

Facelift Compression Chin Strap

Understanding The Advantages & Disadvantages of a Deep Plane Facelift


  • Longer-Lasting Outcomes.
    • Deep plane facelifts are proven to have longer-lasting outcomes than traditional facelifts because they manipulate the deeper structures of the face rather than just the skin. Results are considered permanent but they are not impervious to the ongoing effects of aging. Because of this, results may last upwards of a decade with proper maintenance. 
  • Natural-Looking Appearance. 
    • Moving the deep tissues and the skin tissue together allows for a better structural result. A deep plane facelift is much less likely to create a “stretched” or “wind tunnel”-like appearance that could potentially result from just lifting the skin alone. You will still look like yourself — just more well-rested!


  • Longer Downtime and Recovery.
    • Downtime for this procedure lasts approximately two weeks, which is best spent relaxing and taking time away from work and social activities. You will need this dedicated time to recover adequately before resuming your daily life. After two weeks, you may start to resume some of your normal daily activities with some restrictions. You may still have residual bruising and swelling beyond these first two weeks, but you will be able to resume work and daily activities.
  • More Intensive Procedure.
    • The deep plane facelift is a complicated method that can also take longer to perform, which means more time is spent in the operating room. It is also slightly more invasive than a traditional facelift, which requires some additional considerations.  
What Happens During a Deep Plane Facelift?

What Happens During a Deep Plane Facelift?

On the day of your surgery, you will meet with Dr. Sieffert before surgery to confirm the procedure plan and address any final questions you may have. Then you will be put under general anesthesia so you are comfortable through the procedure.

After you are resting comfortably under anesthesia, your surgical team will prep and drape the surgical field to begin. Any fat grafting that is indicated will be done first in order to replace lost volume throughout areas such as the temples, nasolabial folds, cheeks, lips, and even ear lobes. In cases where a neck lift is being performed, that procedure is done first. Then the facelift is addressed.

Incisions will be made starting at the hairline in front of the ear and will continue down in front of the upper ear, behind the tragus, underneath the earlobe, behind the ear in the crease, and into the hairline behind the ear to varying degrees. The skin is then dissected off the deeper tissues for greater exposure. Then, a portion of the SMAS is lifted up, excess is removed, and the deeper structures are repositioned.

“I utilize a multi-vector approach with the SMAS, which means that tissues are moved in multiple directions to give you the most natural-looking results,” Dr. Sieffert explains.

The SMAS muscle is secured with permanent sutures so the deep muscle structures help the facelift last. After that, Dr. Sieffert will re-drape your skin and remove the redundant skin at the point of incision. After the skin is excised, it’s time to close. Closure is performed with mostly absorbable sutures, and a few that need to be removed in the office.

After the procedure, you will come into the office 48 hours after so we can check on the quality of skin healing. You’ll come back at one week for your next follow-up to remove any remaining sutures. Then you will come back for regular follow-ups at one month, three months, and beyond.

Fat Grafting is Recommended for Better Results

Dr. Sieffert is known for her incredibly natural facelifts, partly due to the fact that fat transfer to the face is often added. The temples, cheeks, nasolabial folds, and lips all receive a small amount of your body’s own fat (grafted using liposuction through a small incision usually on the abdomen). Combining a fat transfer with a facelift helps your results to look more natural. It provides a youthful contour that complements the deep plane facelift.

Neck Lifting Complements Facelifting

The face and neck age together and are considered by Dr. Sieffert to be, “A single anatomical unit”.  Because of this, a facelift and necklift are often performed together in a single surgery. Ignoring aging in the neck can lead to a discordant appearance and may lessen the effects of surgery at the jawline.  In these combined surgeries, the facelift elevates and repositions tissues between the cheek and the jawline and the necklift repositions tissues between the jawline and the collarbones. 

Who is a Candidate for a Deep Plane Facelift?

An ideal candidate for a deep plane lift is primarily looking to correct significant signs of aging & loose skin in the lower face. More often than not, this candidate will have visible folds in the skin as a result of volume loss in the cheeks and around the mouth. The most common complaints that lead to seeking facelift surgery are marionette lines, jowling, and loss of jawline contour. To be a good candidate, one will will be in good health and have realistic expectations about the experience and outcomes of surgery. Age, lifestyle, and other influences on skin laxity are also important considerations for a deep plane lift. Your surgeon will help you determine if the deep plane technique is right for you!

That said, it’s important to note that there is no right age for a facelift — everyone ages at a different rate and feels the desire for rejuvenation at different times in life. A younger candidate who has skin laxity to a lesser degree may be best suited for another version of a facelift, such as a mini facelift.

Is a Deep Plane Facelift Right for Me?

Considering a deep plane facelift isn’t always about looking decades younger, or a desire to emulate reality TV stars. Many of our patients’ reasons for getting a facelift are about aging gracefully, and more importantly, at their own pace. We recognize everyone’s reasons for a facelift as unique as they are.

Not sure how to verbalize your goals? We can help you figure that out during a consultation! 

How To Get the Most Out of Your Deep Plane Facelift:

  1. Follow Your Post-Op Instructions. You’ll be given instructions for aftercare to help you heal faster and get the best possible results from your procedure.
  2. Add a Blepharoplasty, Brow Lift, or Neck Lift. An overall refreshed appearance can be made even better by combining your facelift with an upper or lower eyelid lift (blepharoplasty), a brow lift, or a neck lift. The cost-benefit of receiving multiple procedures will be covered during your consultation.
  3. Finish with Halo™ Laser Resurfacing. Receiving a laser treatment after your facelift is like adding the final polish. Once you have healed from surgery, the Halo can address texture, sun damage, smaller fine lines, wrinkles, and more. It will truly highlight your skin’s improved condition and give you a beautiful, radiant glow.
  4. Maintain Results with Medical-Grade Skincare. We’ll provide you with the best education and proper skincare and sun protection products that will preserve and increase the longevity of your results for years to come!

Choose Your Plastic Surgeon Carefully

Dr. Sieffert Facelift Surgeon Columbus Ohio

The technique that a plastic surgeon uses is left primarily up to their training and experience, so you will want to research and compare surgeons based on their credentials and comfort in performing the procedure in question. Not all surgeons perform the deep plane facelift technique. Asking about your surgeon’s methods and techniques may help you to determine which surgeon(s) you’ll meet with. During your consultation, listen to what your surgeon recommends. Although the decision to receive a facelift is up to you, you should allow their experience to help guide your decision.

We caution choosing (or even consulting with) a facelift surgeon based on price. Due to the nature of this particular procedure, facelifts are best left to plastic surgeons known for their commitment to safety and achieving exceptional results.

Why You Need a “Board Certified Plastic Surgeon”

Board-certified plastic surgeons are the only kinds of surgeons you should be researching to perform your surgery. Surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are in good medical standing and have met the requirements and standards set out by the ABPS, the leading authority in the field of plastic surgery. Transparency is of the utmost importance here — if your surgeon does not have verified certification, they are not considered a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Do What’s Right For You:

Not ready for surgery? No problem! Today, there are a number of aesthetic solutions that don’t require surgery and can be done right here in our office. Fillers, Ultherapy, Laser Skin Resurfacing, Microneedling & Advanced Microneedling with PRP (commonly referred to as the “Vampire Facial”) are all great options for tightening the skin non-surgically, without the need to go under anesthesia or deal with downtime or recovery! 

About The Author: Dr. Sieffert, Your Trusted Columbus Facelift Surgeon

Dr. Michelle Sieffert has perfected her deep plane facelift technique during her tenure at Donaldson Plastic Surgery and her specialty training at Wright State University’s Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. With an eye toward technical excellence, her mission is to inspire confidence and help every patient feel good in their own skin. She has taken extensive training to perform advanced plastic surgery techniques such as the deep-plane facelift.

Female Plastic Surgeon Columbus Ohio
✔️ Real, Unretouched Patient Photos
✔️ Countless Positive Reviews
✔️ Emphasis on Patient Education
✔️ Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
✔️ A Doctor You’ll Love

Ready for a Consultation?

We welcome patients from all over the Midwest & beyond to visit our practice here in Columbus, Ohio. Our Donaldson Plastic Surgery Patient Coordinators are here to help you meet with our highly-qualified plastic surgeons and start you on your journey. Call us today or contact us to request your own personal consultation. 

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