The Race For Post-Lockdown Surgery Is On

Have you heard of the deep-plane face-lift which repositions tissues as well as skin? Marc Jacobs has…

Illustration by DEREK CHARM


During the 2020 lockdowns, many joked about it being the perfect time for a nip and tuck without the fear of being “found out.” But like most things, elective surgeries were canceled — just as much of the population transitioned to virtual life and began staring at themselves on-screen for hours a day. Almost two years later, with restrictions easing across the U.S., the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that pent-up demand is fueling the industry’s current surge, with interest in both non-surgical and surgical treatments increasing; call it the Zoom boom.


“Once, no one talked about plastic surgery. Now they speak of it openly”

dr. rami batniji


Today’s potential clients base isn’t playing around — they know what they want. They’ve gone down the Instagram rabbit hole, studying the proliferation of doctor accounts. “I love looking at them and seeing the time, precision and true artistic talent that goes into it,” says Kirbie Johnson, co-host and producer of the California-based beauty podcast Gloss Angeles. “Instagram is a business card of sorts. If someone gets a recommendation, they’ll scroll through [the surgeon’s] Instagram for before and after images to decide if it’s worth a consult.”

Riding the social media wave is the deep-plane face-lift. Introduced in the 1990s, it’s named for the fact that it targets a deeper layer of facial muscles and structures than in a standard face-lift. The operation is now popular with a whole new audience, in part due to fashion designer Marc Jacobs, who made his surgery Instagram-official this summer by uploading a postop selfie, tagging his surgeon @DrJacono and captioning it “#f*ckgravity #livelovelift.” “Once, no one talked about plastic surgery. Now, people speak of it openly. Having Marc Jacobs show pictures and videos of his journey demystifies facial plastic surgery, opening the conversation for others,” says Southern California-based Dr. Rami Batniji (drbatniji.com), a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and an expert in the deep-plane face-lift.



What is this procedure that’s giving face-lifts a PR makeover? “In one surgery you can restore volume, reposition jowls, remove buccal fat, add volume to the jawbone, reposition, lift and volumize cheek tissue, address skin laxity and treat under-chin fullness,” says Batniji, who performs up to 30 deep-plane face-lifts per month. “Traditional face-lifts used to reposition skin only, which caused the dreaded ‘windblown’ look, but the deep-plane technique repositions the skin and deeper tissues (muscles and fat pads) as one unit in a vertical/upward direction to restore the cheek tissues in a more youthful position, reclaiming the more youthful cheek volume as well as refining the jawline and neckline.” Recovery includes two weeks of social downtime, and a month before physical activity can resume.

While Instagram gives doctors a place to showcase their work, it doesn’t take the place of exercising due diligence when you’re choosing a doctor. Batniji suggests, “Seek out surgeons who are board-certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and have dedicated their career to facial plastic surgery. Look at before and after pictures, and speak with previous patients.” It’s also important to find out where the surgery will be performed, and whether a board-certified anesthesiologist will be present to monitor anesthesia.


This story originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of C Magazine.

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