SMAS rhytidectomy versus deep plane rhytidectomy: an objective comparison

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1998 Sep;102(3):878-81. doi: 10.1097/00006534-199809030-00041.


Although there are a multitude of techniques currently used for performing face lifts, there is no general agreement as to which, if any, of these techniques is most effective. There may never be a definitive answer to this issue because of the highly subjective nature of aesthetics, variability among surgeons, differences in patient anatomy, and specific patient desires. In an attempt to evaluate face lift techniques objectively, this study compares the rate of patients undergoing a tuck procedure after traditional SMAS (superficial musculoaponeurotic system) rhytidectomy to that of patients after deep plane rhytidectomy. A retrospective chart review was performed on all patients who underwent a tuck procedure following a face lift by the senior author (Kamer) between July of 1990 and January of 1997. There were 634 patients who electively underwent either a SMAS or deep plane type of rhytidectomy during the 6.5-year period; 48 patients subsequently underwent tuck operations, and adequate information was available on 44 patients. Of these, 43 were women and the average age was 57 years. The overall tuck rate from July of 1990 to January of 1997 was 7.5 percent. The tuck rate following SMAS rhytidectomy was 11.4 percent, and that following deep plane rhytidectomy was 3.3 percent. Therefore, a tuck was required 71 percent less frequently after a deep plane lift than after a SMAS lift. This was found to be a statistically significant difference with a p value of .0001 (Fisher's exact test, 2-tail). If the assumption is made that the need for a tuck procedure implies a less than optimal face lift, then the data of this study suggest that the deep plane technique is more effective than the SMAS technique.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhytidoplasty / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome