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Lifting the SMAS: How a Facelift Works

Dr. Philip Miller

Dr. Philip Miller

May 29, 2018

Rhinoplasty Model in New YorkWhen you’re considering a facelift procedure, the chances are high you’ll hear the term “SMAS.” This type of facelift surgery is the most commonly used approach today, given the benefits that it can provide as an anti-aging strategy. Facelift surgery can correct drooping, sagging skin, excess fat deposits, and laxity present in the lower face. When performed by a board certified facial plastic surgeon, a facelift can take up to 10 years off your appearance. The SMAS technique accounts for much of this success.

What Does SMAS Mean?

SMAS is an abbreviation for Submuscular Aponeurotic System, which is a layer of tissue covering the deeper structures of the cheek area. The SMAS is linked to the superficial muscle that covers the lower face and neck, or plastysma. The traditional facelift technique involves the repositioning of the SMAS together with the overlaying skin. Doing so can reverse loosened jowls, the neck, and other aspects of the face. Patients can experience many benefits from the SMAS facelift technique.

How Does SMAS Benefit Facelift Patients?

Facelift surgery is designed to tighten the skin, remove excess fat, and redefine the lower part of the face. This anti-aging technique can be highly successful for the right patients, as it can erase the damage done by time and gravity. Facelift results can leave patients looking and feeling younger as the jaw and chin are more defined, the skin more taut and smooth, and the entire lower face much firmer.

During a facelift procedure, your facial plastic surgeon will place your incisions along the hairline and around the ears, extending down along the lower scalp as well. Working through these incisions, your surgeon will be able to remove any excess fat that has accumulated around the chin and jaw, sometimes using liposuction techniques as needed. The muscles and SMAS can then be lifted and tightened to recreate a more youthful look. Any excess skin will be trimmed away as the skin is stretched more firmly over the lower face.

By involving the lifting of the SMAS, your facial plastic surgeon works from beneath the skin’s surface to reinforce its support structure. The SMAS connects the outer skin and tissue to the deeper layers below, so tightening and lifting it can benefit the entire face. SMAS techniques create a more pleasing look for facelift patients who want to appear younger. The cheeks may be lifted and the contour of the mid and lower face will be more refined following this procedure.

Am I a Good Candidate for a SMAS Facelift Surgery?

To be considered a good candidate for any surgery, including a traditional facelift procedure, you should be an adult man or woman in good overall health, without any existing medical conditions that could work to delay your healing process. You should also not smoke or be willing to quit smoking before (and after) your surgery. Finally, it is essential that you have realistic expectations for your facelift surgery. Talk with your facial plastic surgeon to collect the information you need and design the right surgical treatment for you and your needs.

Where Can I Learn More About SMAS Facelift Procedures?

If you’d like to learn more about the SMAS technique and how a facelift surgery might benefit you, consult with a board certified facial plastic surgeon today. Dr. Philip Miller has specialized exclusively in facial plastic surgery for over 20 years.

A recognized expert in facial rejuvenation procedures, Dr. Miller has been frequently invited to share his specific techniques with his peers at various national facial plastic surgery meetings. He has been voted among the Best Doctors in America each year since 2007 and has also been named a Top Doctor of New York. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Miller, contact his office located at 60 East 56th Street, Third Floor in New York City, by calling (646) 791-3025.

Next, read about The Factors that make you Ineligible for a Facelift

Dr. Philip Miller

Dr. Philip Miller

Dr. Philip Miller is a New York facial plastic surgeon known for pioneering the NatraLook methodology for rhinoplasty, facelifts, necklifts, and more.

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Facial Plastic Surgery

Dr. Philip Miller and his team of New York's top rated facial plastic surgery experts provide custom cosmetic treatment plans that include a combination of minimally-invasive techniques and advanced procedures, to help each patient achieve the Aesthetic Confidence® they desire. Our unique NatraFace™ approach to facial rejuvenation includes the following effective procedures:

Eyelid Plastic Surgery

Dr. Miller and Kaylyn Plum, PA-C provide patients with Manhattan's #1 customized care and treatment for smooth, supple skin that brightens the eyes and revitalizes the face. With our NatraFace™ approach, we utilize a combination of effective aesthetic techniques tailored to suit each patient’s needs. We offer:

Rhinoplasty (Nose Jobs)

Dr. Miller and his staff of NYC's best aesthetic specialists offer the NatraNose® process, which is a comprehensive range of minimally-invasive and advanced techniques to achieve natural-looking rhinoplasty results, improve nasal function, and meet the patient’s aesthetic goals. Dr. Miller specializes in nose jobs, nose reductions, non-surgical nose jobs, and more: Adjust the links in these sections as follows:

Skin Care Treatments

Widely acclaimed for our broad range of flawless skincare solutions, Philip J. Miller, MD, FACS and his team of aesthetic specialists offer customized skincare treatment plans to achieve healthy, natural-looking results. As part of our NatraLook™ process, the following procedures may be performed individually or in combination with more advanced surgical treatments for optimal rejuvenation.

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The Plastic Surgery Podcast with Dr. Philip Miller

Tune into The Plastic Surgery Podcast, hosted by facial plastic surgeon Dr. Philip Miller. Dr. Miller is here to answer your questions, de-mystify plastic surgery, and help you feel more knowledgeable and empowered about any procedure performed at our center.

The Plastic Surgery Podcast

  • Episode 44: My First Time

    8 min
  • Episode 43: Top 10 Reasons Not To Get A Rhinoplasty ( Plastic Surgery)

    20 min
  • Episode 42: Osteomas & Lipomas

    11 min
View all Episodes
Plastic Surgery w/ Dr. Miller

Plastic Surgery w/ Dr. Miller

If you're thinking about getting a lift, nip, or tuck, this app is for you. It's the most comprehensive pocket encyclopedia of plastic surgery terms, before and after photos, and visualization tools to help you really know what to expect from a procedure, including seeing potential results on your own photo. This app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices.

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