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A facelift, known as a rhytidectomy or meloplasty, removes excess and loose skin from the middle and lower face, and tightens the underlying tissues. It treats the cheeks, jowls and jawline, and may be combined with other facial rejuvenation procedures to give a balanced and harmonious facial appearance. There are a number of advanced surgical methods designed to reverse the signs of ageing to restore the face to a more youthful state. One of the most widely trusted and effective techniques is the “deep plane” approach which Dr Richardson performs and has had specialist training in.

Deep plane facelift surgery is considered an advanced facelifting technique over other more traditional facelift approaches. It addresses the deeper facial structures by repositioning them to a more youthful position, restoring volume, contour and tone to the face and neck. Dr Richardson uses the most advanced and effective techniques, customising each procedure to his patients in order to achieve excellent, natural and lasting results.

What is a Deep Plane Facelift?

A deep plane facelift targets structures below the SMAS (Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System), also known as the “deep-plane”, and through careful dissection of specific ligaments and tissue planes, allows repositioning of facial muscle, fat, and skin to strategically lift the soft tissue envelope of the face. This is different from other methods which focus only on lifting the outermost layers of facial skin, which can often creates a tight and stretched look with limited longevity.

The deep plane approach produces a more reliable result and creates a subtle and natural appearance. It is considered one of the most effective ways to smooth and refine the mid- and lower-face and address nasolabial folds (creases from the corners of the nose to the mouth) and jowls.

What to Expect During Your Consultation

If you are considering facelift surgery, a consultation with Dr Richardson, an experienced Specialist Plastic Surgeon, will help establish if this is the right procedure for you. During your consultation, we will discuss your current health, medical history, and any medications you are currently taking. You will also have the chance to discuss your concerns and reasons for seeking surgery. Once we have discussed the relevant factors and determined you to be a suitable candidate, Dr Richardson will outline a surgical plan for you.

To help you attain your goals, Dr Richardson may suggest additional procedures, such as a neck lift, brow lift, blepharoplasty eyelid surgery, facial fat grafting, skin resurfacing, or liposuction to assist you attaining your desired outcome.

After your consultation, you should have a clear understanding of what deep plane facelift surgery entails.

The Procedure

Dr  Richardson performs deep plane facelift surgery in an accredited-hospital under general or with sedation anaesthesia. It may be performed as a day case, but typically you will have an overnight stay. Facial rejuvenation surgery can take several hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the procedure and whether other adjunctive procedures, such as a neck lift, brow lift , or blepharoplasty are performed.

Due to the personal nature of the surgery, the process may involve a number of techniques. Incisions are hidden in natural creases and contours at the side of the face in the hairline, along the edge of the front of the ear, up behind the ear, and along the posterior scalp hairline. If a neck lift is also performed, there will also be a small incision hidden beneath the chin. Through these, the skin is carefully elevated and the deep plane entered to access the underlying ligaments, muscles and fat compartments which are released, tightened and re-suspended, prior to any excess skin or fat being repositioned or removed to create the desired effect. Incisions are closed precisely, leaving you with a more youthful and refreshed facial contour.

Other surgical procedures, including liposuction and facial fat grafting , or non-surgical treatments with LED (Healite), ultrasound or radiofrequency (RF) therapy may be recommended to improve facial appearance and contour during or following your procedure.

Cost of Deep Plane Surgery

Fees for facial rejuvenation vary depending on what is required to achieve your goals. For example, some procedures are more extensive than others and patients may require additional treatments to achieve a harmonious and refreshed appearance of the whole face, rathan then just one area, which would increase the overall cost. Additionally, we need to take into account the anaesthetist fees, hospital fees and the cost of medications and aftercare. If you have further questions regarding surgery fees, we can address these during your consultation. This way, your personal needs and goals are taken into account.

We will advise if you are eligible for an MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) Item number for your procedure. If so, Medicare and private health insurance may cover a portion of your total fee.

Your Personal Consultation

Request a Consultation

Your personal consultation is the first step to finding the right procedure for you. Dr Richardson is a highly skilled Specialist Plastic Surgeon, dedicated to providing quality results and a positive patient experience.

Book your appointment to
  • Discuss your physical concerns and goals
  • Receive an outline of your surgical options
  • Get quality advice from a trained Specialist Plastic Surgeon
  • Receive a customised treatment plan
  • Meet Dr Richardson’s Patient Coordinator and team, who will support you throughout your journey


After deep plane facelift surgery, your head will be gently elevated, your face bandaged, and you may have a drainage tube on either side of your neck to remove excess fluid. Any discomfort is managed by prescribing regular medications and you will spend one night in hospital. It is important to organise for a trusted friend or family member to drive you home, and for your support person to stay with you for at least the first 48 hours after your discharge home.

You will receive specific aftercare instructions, which include:

  • Not flexing your neck forward
  • Taking regular prescribed pain medication
  • Wearing compression garments
  • Staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet
  • Stay out of direct sunlight
  • Sleeping on your back and using extra pillows to elevate your head
  • Avoid strenuous movements, exercise, bending or heavy lifting
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol, as this can slow the healing process
  • Contact Dr Richardson’s Rooms if you have any concerns

You should expect some swelling and bruising after your deep plane facelift which will settle after a few weeks. However, it is important to remember that people heal differently and some people may need more time to recover than others.

After facelift and facial rejuvenation procedures, a period of psychological adjustment is common as you settle into your new and improved appearance. Please be mindful of this as you progress through your recovery.

As a guide, most patients can expect the following recovery after deep plane facelift surgery:

  • Initial discomfort: 1-2 weeks
  • Return to activity: 1 week
  • Return to work: 2-3 weeks
  • Post-op compression garments: 4 weeks
  • Return to travel: 6 weeks
  • Return to social functions: 6-8 weeks
  • Return to exercise: gentle walk from 1 week, gym after 6-8 weeks
  • Return to driving: 2-3* weeks. *Patients must be fully alert, no longer taking any sedating medications, and be able to move freely without restriction

Dr Richardson and his team will guide and advise you further according to your surgery and specific circumstances.

Following your facelift, it is important to maintain the results you have achieved. This maintenance will include living a healthy lifestyle and not smoking, as well as regular skin care and sun protection with a high-SPF. For optimal results, peels, regular muscle-relaxing injections and fillers may be recommended.

Risks and Complications

Like every procedure, deep plane facelift surgery has with some risks. Whilst not common, you should be aware of these in order to make a fully informed decision. Specific issues that can occur, include:

  • Prolonged swelling, bruising and tightness
  • Bleeding and infection
  • Slow or poor healing
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Reactions to anaesthesia
  • Injury to underlying nerves
  • Minor facial asymmetry
  • Irregularities of contour or skin texture
  • Changes in skin colour
  • Further adjustment procedures

Following your aftercare instructions will help promote healing for a good outcome.

Deep Plane Facelift FAQ

Who is a good candidate for deep plane surgery?

How can I prepare for surgery?

How is a deep plane facelift different from other facelifts?

What are the benefits?

When can I return to work?

What do I need to know when preparing for surgery?