Talk shows and online forums are abuzz with chatter about the SMAS facelift: a procedure which goes deeper than the traditional facelift to provide longer lasting results. But what is the SMAS lift, and how does it work?

It’s important to know that there are a variety of different facelift procedures. Cosmetic surgeons can perform different techniques, based on incision patterns, depth, and other factors. While all facelifts involve the removal of excess skin, the main difference is what happens to the underlying muscles and connective tissues of the face.

The traditional facelift repositions the underlying muscle and connective tissue, but stops short of the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS). This layer, composed of fibrous and muscular tissues, interlinks the different muscles of facial expression.

Cosmetic surgeons have found that making changes to the SMAS provide longer-lasting results than what can be achieved with a traditional facelift. The SMAS lift involves tightening the SMAS along with the skin, by using sutures or tissue glue to reverse the appearance of sagging. Since this procedure goes deeper than the traditional facelift, patients can sometimes expect a longer downtime and recovery period.

However, once the healing process is over, patients often find results that last years longer than the traditional facelift. By going deeper than the traditional facelift, the SMAS facelift can target sagging where it begins, under the superficial layers of the face.

To provide the best possible results, the SMAS facelift is sometimes paired with other procedures, such as the brow lift. For patients who have substantial signs of aging in the mid-face, cosmetic surgeons often suggest the deep plane lift. This technique goes even deeper than the SMAS lift, repositioning the SMAS in order to provide longer-lasting results.

If you’re considering facelift surgery, you should consult with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who can discuss the SMAS facelift and other techniques. The best facelift technique for you will depend on your individual needs and priorities.