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The Evolution of Facelift Techniques

Accepting the effects of aging and letting the youthful glow fade from your face is no longer fate. An experienced, skilled and board-certified cosmetic surgeon can help you combat the effects of aging on your face. Reduce the impacts of time and gain a more youthful appearance.

What is a Facelift?

A facelift is a surgical procedure. It is also known as a rhytidectomy. This procedure is used to reduce visible signs of aging in the face and neck. It can significantly enhance one’s appearance by tightening sagging skin, smoothing deep folds, and restoring the natural contours of the face.

Get more information about facelift in Turkey.

Brief History of Facelift Surgery

The first known facelift procedure dates back to 1901, performed by Berlin-based surgeon Eugen Holländer. By the 1920s, American surgeons had begun refining these techniques.

In the 1970s, a major breakthrough occurred. This was the Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System (SMAS) technique. It enabled surgeons to operate on deeper layers of tissue, creating more natural outcomes.

The late 20th and early 21st centuries introduced even more refined techniques, like the deep plane facelift and high SMAS technique. The introduction of less invasive procedures like the mini-facelift made these procedures more accessible.

Today, facelift surgery continues to evolve with advances in surgical techniques and a better understanding of facial anatomy.

Facial Aging

Aging is a natural part of life, and its signs can be more evident on the face. Over time, our skin loses its elasticity, and we may see wrinkles, fine lines, volume loss, and changes in skin texture. Genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices can influence the rate and extent of these changes.

Anatomy of Layers of the Face

Understanding the facial layers is key to grasping how different facelift techniques work. The face comprises several layers:

Face layers anatomy

Anatomy of layers of the face. (A) Skin; (B) subcutaneous; (C) SMAS; (D) retaining ligaments; (E) deep fascia; (F) nerve.

Over the years, surgeons have refined facelift techniques to offer better results and fewer complications. Below are the most common facelift techniques performed today.


The mini-facelift, also known as the “weekend facelift,” targets the lower part of the face—primarily the jawline and neck. It involves smaller incisions and less tissue manipulation, resulting in a quicker recovery period. This technique is ideal for individuals showing early signs of aging and who desire subtle improvements.

A mini-facelift, while effective for early signs of aging, may not be suitable for everyone. Here are a few circumstances where a mini-facelift might not be the best option:

  1. Severe Skin Sagging: The mini-facelift is designed to correct minor sagging around the lower face and neck. If a person has extensive skin sagging or deep wrinkles, a more comprehensive procedure like a traditional or deep plane facelift might be recommended.
  2. Advanced Signs of Aging: The procedure works best on people who are just starting to experience signs of aging. Those with advanced aging signs such as significant volume loss, deep wrinkles, or pronounced jowls might need a different approach.
  3. Mini-facelifts primarily target the lower face and neck. Therefore, it may not be suitable for people with mid-face aging, such as sunken cheeks or nasolabial folds.

Remember, the best way to determine the most appropriate procedure is by having a consultation with a certified plastic surgeon who can assess your needs and goals.

Related Content: One Stitch Facelift

Standard (Traditional) Facelift

The traditional facelift is more thorough. It can lift sagging skin, tighten muscles, and remove excess fat from the mid to lower face and neck.

The incisions usually start at the hairline, continuing around the ear to the lower scalp. This technique provides dramatic and enduring results. Therefore, it is a great choice for people with moderate to severe signs of aging.

Advantages of a Standard (Traditional) Facelift:

  1. Comprehensive Results: The traditional facelift offers a complete rejuvenation of the lower two-thirds of the face and neck. It addresses deep wrinkles, sagging skin, jowls, and a drooping neck, delivering significant and transformative results.
  2. A standard facelift can last up to 10 to 15 years. This is much longer than the results of less invasive procedures.
  3. Customizable: The traditional facelift is versatile and can be tailored to the specific needs and aesthetic goals of each patient. It can also be combined with other procedures like eyelid surgery or brow lift for more comprehensive facial rejuvenation.

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Disadvantages of a Standard (Traditional) Facelift:

  1. A traditional facelift requires a longer recovery period than less invasive procedures. This is because it is a more extensive procedure. Patients may need several weeks to fully recover.
  2. Scars are usually hidden in the hairline or behind the ears. However, traditional facelifts involve more extensive incisions. This could cause more visible scarring than with less invasive techniques.
  3. Potential Risks: As with any surgical procedure, there are risks, including bleeding, infection, poor wound healing, and complications related to anesthesia. However, these risks are minimized when the procedure is performed by a certified and experienced plastic surgeon.

Deep Plane Facelift

The deep plane facelift targets the deeper tissues and muscles of the face, rather than just pulling the skin tighter.

This technique helps to:

  • Restore volume and lift to the cheeks
  • Reduce deep nasolabial folds
  • Improve the jawline

The deep plane facelift is generally considered more effective for those with significant facial sagging and drooping.

A deep plane facelift is a more complex procedure that addresses sagging and aging at a deeper level. Let’s consider its advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of a Deep Plane Facelift:

  1. Natural-Looking Results: This technique adjusts deeper facial structures, producing more natural-looking results than traditional methods that primarily tighten the skin.
  2. Addresses Mid-Face Aging: The deep plane facelift is particularly effective in addressing sagging in the mid-face and cheeks, as well as deep nasolabial folds.
  3. Long-Lasting Results: Like the traditional facelift, the results of a deep plane facelift can last for many years, often up to 10-15 years.

Disadvantages of a Deep Plane Facelift:

  1. More Complex Surgery: This is a more complicated procedure that requires a skilled and experienced surgeon. As such, finding a surgeon with specific training and expertise in deep plane facelifts can be more challenging.
  2. Longer Recovery: The deep plane facelift is a complex surgery. It requires more recovery time than less invasive techniques. This is because of the depth of the procedure.
  3. Risk of Nerve Damage: Nerve damage is a rare risk associated with procedures that involve deeper dissection. This risk is slightly higher than that of less invasive procedures.
  4. Potential Risks: As with any surgical procedure, there are risks of complications, such as bleeding, infection, and anesthesia-related issues.

As always, it’s crucial to have a detailed consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon experienced in deep plane facelifts to understand whether this procedure is right for you.

Extended High SMAS Facelift Technique

The Extended High SMAS facelift is a technique that focuses on the Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System layer of the face. This provides more effective and natural-looking results. By lifting the SMAS layer, this procedure allows for corrections to the mid-face, jowls, and neck. It often results in a youthful, rested look rather than the “pulled tight” appearance that some other techniques may produce.

The Extended High SMAS Facelift technique is a popular and effective procedure. However, like any surgical intervention, it has its pros and cons. Here they are:

Advantages of the Extended High SMAS Facelift

  1. Natural-Looking Results: By lifting the SMAS layer, the procedure creates more natural and longer-lasting results, without giving the face a “pulled tight” appearance.
  2. Addresses Multiple Areas: This technique can correct aging signs in the mid-face, jowls, and neck, offering comprehensive facial rejuvenation.
  3. Long-Lasting: Results from an Extended High SMAS facelift can last up to 10 to 15 years, depending on individual factors like age, skin quality, and lifestyle habits.

Disadvantages of the Extended High SMAS Facelift

  1. Complex Procedure: It’s a more complex procedure than a traditional or mini-facelift, requiring a surgeon with specific expertise in this technique.
  2. Recovery Time: The recovery period can be longer due to the more invasive nature of the procedure. Swelling and bruising can also be more extensive initially.
  3. Potential Risks: There are potential surgical risks, including complications from anesthesia, infection, bleeding, and the possibility of nerve damage. However, these risks are usually rare when the procedure is performed by an experienced, board-certified surgeon.
  4. Scarring: Although scars are typically hidden within the hairline or natural skin creases, there may be more noticeable scarring due to the extent of the incisions.

Which Facelift Technique is Best for You?

Choosing the right facelift technique depends on several factors, including your age, genetic makeup, health status, and specific aesthetic goals. It is important to consult with a certified plastic surgeon. This consultation should be thorough. The surgeon can determine your needs and suggest the best option.

Check out Facelift Surgery costs in UK vs. Turkey in detail.

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Prof. Dr. Mehmet Veli Karaaltin

Prof. Dr. Karaaltin acquired his medical degree in Medicine from Istanbul University, in the English-learner Branch, and ranked 12 out of 25.000 medical doctors, in the National Turkish Examination.

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