A Guide to the Deep Plane Facelift For Asian Patients

A Guide to the Deep Plane Facelift For Asian Patients


Facial ageing is a complex process. Both intrinsic (genetically determined) and extrinsic (influenced by the environment) factors have a role in determining the speed, progression and visible effects of the process. In other words, while all faces age, they do not all age the same way.

The deep plane facelift is an advanced technique that targets the deeper layers of facial tissue. This approach has gained popularity amongst patients and plastic surgeons for its ability to target the specific anatomical characteristics and aesthetic preferences relevant to Asian patients.

Understanding Facial Ageing in Asian Populations

Asian faces have unique anatomical characteristics that contribute to distinct ageing patterns. These differences influence how the signs of ageing manifest in Asian patients, as well as the preferred approaches for addressing them surgically.

Some of the key characteristics of Asian facial anatomy and skin include:

  • Wider and flatter facial contours, with a shorter and wider face compared to caucasians
  • Prominent cheekbones and zygomatic arches
  • Shorter and wider nasal bones, with a lower nasal bridge and less pronounced nasal tip projection
  • Larger accumulations of fat in the midface
  • A larger, more square-shaped jawline than the average caucasian face
  • Thicker, more sebaceous (oily) skin with a higher concentration of melanin (pigment)

There are also cultural factors at play, such as the diligent sun avoidance practised in many Asian populations or the complex skincare routines made famous by the K-beauty industry.

All of these invisible influences give rise to the visible effects of the ageing process. Asian skin tends to age “slower” than caucasian skin due to its thicker dermis, which delays the development of wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity. Asian skin also has a higher melanin content, which helps to limit sun damage (photoageing). The downside to these differences is that Asian skin is more prone to keloid scarring and hyperpigmentation resulting from skin irritation or inflammation.

Understanding Cultural Preferences of Asian Patients

In addition to the anatomical differences that shape the ageing process, Asian patients also have distinct cultural preferences and aesthetic standards. While there is no singular "Asian ideal," it is common for Asian patients to desire subtle cosmetic work. Many are concerned about being left with obvious signs of a procedure having taken place, as they prefer to be discreet. 

Another notable difference between Asian patients and caucasian patients is the preferred facial shape. In caucasian populations, it is common to desire a defined and angular face, with prominent cheekbones and/or a sharp jawline. In contrast, Asian populations often desire a slender, oval face shape without acute angles.

The deep plane facelift is particularly well-suited to meeting these aesthetic preferences while addressing the unique anatomical characteristics of the Asian face.

What Is a Deep Plane Facelift?

A deep plane facelift goes beneath the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) to reposition the deeper facial tissues and muscles. The SMAS is a fibrous network of connective tissue that covers the facial muscles and plays a crucial role in supporting the overlying skin.

In a deep plane facelift, the surgeon carefully dissects beneath the SMAS layer while keeping the skin and SMAS connected. The procedure also involves the release of several ligaments so that the tissues can be elevated without creating excessive tension in the skin. 

The deep plane approach allows for a more comprehensive lift and reshaping of the midface, jawline and neck. Although it goes deeper than other types of facelift, less dissection takes place, which can lead to a faster and more comfortable recovery. Working on the deeper plane may also help avoid the "pulled" or "tight" appearance sometimes associated with facelift techniques that separate the skin and SMAS layers.

What Makes the Deep Plane Facelift an Appealing Option for Asian Patients?

Our soft tissue-focused specialist plastic surgeon, Dr Ellis Choy, finds that the deep plane facelift holds particular appeal for Asian patients. 

Asians may experience more pronounced soft tissue descent and loss of midface support with age. The deep plane technique targets the deeper structural components in this area, allowing the surgeon to reposition the malar fat pads and other tissues to give the midface a more vertically lifted appearance. 

Additionally, the Asian facial ageing process often leads to a more rectangular or boxy facial shape. A deep plane facelift is well-suited to addressing this. Elevating the skin and underlying tissues can help create the culturally-desired oval face shape with a smooth, unbroken curve from cheek to jawline.

Because the deep plane facelift involves deep tissue repositioning rather than extensive superficial skin tightening, it retains the ethnic features of the Asian face rather than producing an overly Westernised look. Many also feel this creates a more subtle and natural-appearing result, which Asian patients tend to prefer.

Could I Be a Candidate for a Deep Plane Facelift?

The ideal candidate for a deep plane facelift is typically someone in their 40s or older who is experiencing moderate to advanced signs of facial ageing, including:

  • Loss of cheek volume
  • A flattened or drooping appearance in the midface 
  • Jowling and jawline laxity
  • Neck laxity
  • Nasolabial folds and marionette lines

Patients in this age group often have sufficient skin laxity and volume loss to benefit from the more comprehensive lifting and repositioning achieved through the deep plane technique. Remember, however, that this age range is a general guideline — the rate of ageing can vary significantly from person to person, and each case must be assessed individually by a qualified doctor. 

Request Your Sydney Deep Plane Facelift Consultation

At Asian Plastic Surgery in Sydney, Dr Ellis Choy and Dr Quan Ngo have dedicated their careers to mastering the nuances of Asian cosmetic surgery. With his extensive training, experience and cultural sensitivity, Dr Choy is qualified to perform the deep plane facelift technique and adapt it to the needs of Asian patients.

Contact Asian Plastic Surgery on 02 8962 9388 or fill out our enquiry form today to request your one-on-one consultation with Dr Choy. A consultation allows you to discuss your concerns and expectations in a supportive environment and receive personalised guidance from a seasoned specialist plastic surgeon.

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