JOURNAL ARTICLE
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The deep plane facelift: a 20-year evolution of technique.

Ophthalmology 2000 March
PURPOSE: This report reviews the unique technical and conceptual oculoplastic innovations in the discipline of facelift surgery by analyzing the evolution of facelift technique at a university-based oculoplastic program. DESIGNED: Retrospective, noncomparative case series.

PARTICIPANTS: We analyzed 313 patients undergoing a facelift from 1980 through 1997. Most procedures were performed by the senior author.

METHODS: Three primary eras of surgical technique were identified: limited skin flap with superficial musculo-aponeurotic system plication (25 patients), extended skin flap with neck dissection and superficial musculo-aponeurotic system plication (210 patients), and deep plane facelift with robust superficial musculo-aponeurotic system flap (78 patients).

RESULTS: The steps in the evolution were designed to improve the results of the surgery regarding rejuvenation of the neck, jowls, and nasolabial fold, and to reduce the "tattletale signs" of facelift surgery including postauricular scarring, change in the position of the sideburn and temporal hairline, and unnatural results caused by pulling the tissues posteriorly, rather than repositioning them vertically. There were no complications in the skin flap only group. In the extended skin flap and superficial musculo-aponeurotic system plication group, there was one mandibular paresis which partially resolved. In the deep plane facelift (n = 78), there was one laceration of the parotid duct, successfully stented during surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: The deep plane facelift, with vertical elevation of the midface, jowls, and neck, is a logical extension of the mid-facelifting techniques that have been used by oculoplastic surgeons. Compared with cutaneous undermining with superficial musculo-aponeurotic system plication, we found patient and physician acceptance higher using the deep plane technique.

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