Facelift & Eye Surgery

Facelift Surgery Expert Dr. Buonassisi Explains The Difference Between the Various Facelift Procedures

Are you researching face or neck lift surgery with the aim of assessing if a procedure of this type might be right for you? Welcome to the website of Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Buonassisi. Over the last 20 years, he and his team have prepared an extensive resource section of videos and FAQs about surgery to help educate our facelift patients on the various procedures that are available for helping to restore a more youthful look to your face, whether it’s rejuvenating the upper face or the lower face and neck. On this page, you will learn about: Mini Lifts, Full Facelifts with SMAS Elevation, Full Facelifts with Deep Plane Elevation, Brow Lifts, Blepharoplasty Eyelid Lifts, and more.

Surgery at 8 West Clinic isn’t just for Vancouver patients and we have a well developed out of town patient process. Many patients choose beautiful Vancouver and Dr. Buonassisi for their surgery. Out of town patients can take advantage of our virtual consultation.


About Facelift and Facial Rejuvenation Procedures in Vancouver

If you have been researching on the internet, you will have noticed that there are many different types of facelifts, and even more non surgical technologies touted to create the same result as a facelift. We’ve developed a huge information section on our website that will help clear up the types of facelifts available, and what they can and can’t do for you. For Your Prime Online Video Resource for All Things Facelift, Dr. Buonassisi’s free-to-access educational video series is available for streaming on our website, all in one place for easy viewing.

After watching the 9-part video series, read on for more resources on the several different types of facelifts⁠—the one for you will depend on your features, aging pattern, tolerance for downtime and expectations. An in-depth consultation with Dr. Buonassisi is essential to determine which approach would be ideal for you, and his patients always begin with a complimentary pre-assessment done with his knowledgeable surgical patient care team.


Facelifts are Customized for You

While this website is intended to provide information about the various facelift and neck lift techniques, it is important to note that the procedure is highly customized for each patient by Dr. Buonassisi. For example, it may make sense for him to go into the deep plane for one patient, but not for another. A patient may be a good candidate for a platysmaplasty to further improve their result, but in consultation Dr. Buonassisi and the patient may decide not to proceed with a platysmaplasty for lifestyle reasons.

To get started with Dr. Buonassisi, please request a complimentary pre-assessment with one of our patient care managers. As a service, we often have Dr. Buonassisi review the patients photos (at no charge) so that we can give preliminary information about expected costs and downtime. Then, you may wish to proceed to the next stage and book an in person or virtual (for out of town patients) consultation with Dr. Buonassisi.


Types of Facelifts, Neck Lifts, Eye Lifts and Incisions




A minimally invasive mini lift is sometimes called an S-lift (because of the shape of the incision), and like all facelifts is completely customized to each patient by Dr. Buonassisi. In general, a mini lift is appropriate for patients with early signs of jawline laxity. Because of the nature of the mini lift (the area of dissection is smaller which means the recovery is shorter) the result is also mini when compared to a full facelift.Full facelifts are explained below.

Do note that the mini lift performed by Dr. Buonassisi is not a skin lift⁠—an older technique that was known to not yield very natural results⁠. Rather, it is a SMAS lift (explained below). The extent of the SMAS elevation, however, is small and the lift “mini” due to the small area of dissection. Learn more about the mini lift.



Facelifts have changed and are no longer just skin lifts, which resulted in the notorious “wind blown” look. Now, facial specialists dissect down to the SMAS layer of the face and then pull on it, which brings the deep layers of the face along with it in an upward motion. Extra skin is then trimmed away and the sagging features of the face lifted to a more youthful position. In some cases, a SMAS lift alone is appropriate for the patient, however, in other patients Dr. Buonassisi may choose to go deeper below the SMAS for a deep plane facelift (explained below) to get even more mobility of the deep layers of the face and have more control over the direction of pull. A deep plane facelift is not by definition better than a SMAS lift⁠—however, it will be the better technique for some patients.



In some cases, the patient will get the best result if Dr. Buonassisi doesn’t just stop at the SMAS layer, but then dissects deeper into the deep plane of the face. This is a highly advanced technique that few surgeons are comfortable with performing. As Dr. Buonassisi is a Facial Plastic Surgeon who focuses a great deal on facial rejuvenation surgery, the deep plane technique is something that he performs on a regular basis. The benefit of the deep plane facelift is that Dr. Buonassisi can achieve even more mobility of the deep structures of the face, with a very extensive but natural looking lift. He has more control over the direction of pull and the extent of pull. As mentioned, this will not be his preferred technique in all patients.

In the right patient, here are some of the benefits of a deep plane facelift over a SMAS elevation facelift:

  • More significant movement (repositioning) of the volume of the face (not just the skin)⁠—for example, moving the cheek volume back to its more youthful position.
  • While other SMAS techniques (plication and imbrication) are helpful in some cases, they are not as powerful as what can be achieved with a deep plane (rather than just pulling on it, it is elevated and completely repositioned).
  • During a a deep plane facelift, Dr. Buonassisi releases the tethering points and ligaments of the face in the deep plane, so that more mobility can be achieved for lifting, and the direction of pull can be more customized.



This is a full facelift that Dr. Buonassisi performs with a short incision and is most commonly for someone who does not need any improvement to their neck. While Dr. Buonassisi does offer this approach, it is less common than the long incision full facelift (explained below) because most patients who would benefit from a lower facelift are also likely to require some improvement to the neck. As the lower face sags, the neck goes along with it.

With the short incision full facelift, because the incision is slightly shorter and the area of dissection is slightly smaller, the recovery can also be slightly shorter. However, we strongly encourage you to consider having the facelift that will get you the best result, even if it means a longer incision with a few more days of bruising a swelling. Dr. Buonassisi will help manage your expectations during your consultation.

The short incision facelift could be a SMAS elevation facelift or could include some elements of a deep place facelift. Dr. Buonassisi will determine which approach will deliver the best result for each specific patient. Learn more about the Short Incision Full Facelift.



Patients who have done research on neck lifts will have learned that a neck lift is an extension of a lower facelift. A long full facelift with a long incision is actually a lower face and neck lift done with either a SMAS elevation or deep plane lift, through a longer incision to provide greater improvement to the neck. Dr. Buonassisi will assess each patient carefully and determine the best approach for them. Learn more about the Long Incision Full Facelift.



A platysmaplasty is an additional procedure to a facelift done through a small incision under the chin that can improve the result in that area. Learn more about the platysmaplasty neck tightening.



Because the primary objective of the facelift is to improve the lower face, many patients will decide to have their upper face also treated at the same time they have their facelift. This includes commonly added-on procedures that rejuvenate the eye and brow area, such as upper and/or lower eyelid blepharoplasty, or a brow lift. Blepharoplasty eyelid surgeries are effective solutions for loose skin around the eyes and under eye bags, while a brow lift is great for repositioning a dropping brow and for lifting the eyelids as well. Learn more about blepharoplasty eyelid lifts and brow lifts.

This is also a great time to consider non surgical laser and other treatments to help improve the condition of the skin.



While there are not any non surgical treatments that produce the same result as a facelift, there are many options for rejuvenating the skin. At 8 West Clinic we have a team of medical aestheticians who specialize in the various technologies. Learn more about non surgical rejuvenation.

Not sure how to get started? Have all your facelift questions answered in our complimentary pre-assessment service. Request yours now!


About Facial Rejuvenation Surgery at 8 West Cosmetic Surgery

We are thrilled to have been voted a top Place for Cosmetic Surgery in 2018 and 2019 by the Best of Georgia Straight! Thank you to our many long term patients for your support. 8 West Cosmetic Surgery is a full service plastic surgery and medical spa clinic, working under the direction of our founder Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Buonassisi. Dr. Buonassisi is a well respected surgeon with 20 years experience performing thousands of cosmetic facial procedures. Our team of medical professionals includes plastic surgeons, registered nurses, medical aestheticians, makeup artists, and our amazing patient care managers. To speak to one of our experts, please call 604 733 1669 or contact us here.