Brow Lifts and Forehead Lifts
A brow lift is a facial cosmetic surgery performed to rejuvenate the skin above the eyebrows, reducing the appearance of aging. Also called a forehead lift, this surgery is designed to tighten the skin between the eyebrows and hairline and often performed alongside a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) for a harmonious facial regeneration. A brow lift can be performed to improve brow positioning, reduce forehead wrinkles, address sagging brows and minimize “worry” or “frown” lines.
Brow Lift Surgery Consultation
Every surgical procedure should begin with a consultation that discusses the goals of the surgery, medical conditions, potential risks and other factors to ensure the surgeon and patient have an understanding.
During a consultation for brow lift surgery, patients should be prepared to discuss:
- The patient’s goals for the surgery (e.g., to remove wrinkles or part of a multi-procedure effort).
- Medical conditions, including drug allergies and any previous relevant treatments.
- General health, particularly any pre-existing conditions or risk factors for the procedure.
It is important for an honest discussion of expectations to occur during a consultation. A patient’s age, health, skin texture, bone structure and other factors can affect the results of brow lift surgery.
A consultation also is the ideal time to ask essential questions about the procedure, such as:
- What is expected of the patient to achieve the best results?
- What type(s) of anesthesia will be used?
- How long will recovery be?
- What are the risks and complications of brow lift surgery?
Brow Lift Procedure
There are many types of brow lift procedures, though surgeons typically use one of these techniques to achieve the desired appearance:
- Endoscopic Brow Lift – Many small incisions are made behind the hairline, hidden within the hair, and the surgery is performed endoscopically. Using a small camera (endoscope), the surgeon is able to see the muscle and tissue beneath the forehead. He or she then inserts another instrument (fiberoptic equipment) through a separate incision to lift the forehead tissue and anchor it in place.
- Classic or Coronal Brow Lift – The coronal brow lift sounds similar to how many patients imagine a facelift. An incision is made at or behind the hairline at the top of the head. The incision usually runs from the top of one ear across the forehead to the top of the other ear. The skin is then lifted to its new position with the skin in front of the incision overlapping the incision. The overlapping scalp is then removed, excess skin is removed, and the incision is sewn closed.
- Temporal (Limited Incision) Brow Lift – The temporal brow lift is used mainly to elevate the lateral (outer one-third) brow region. Incisions are made in the temple area behind the hairline.
- Hairline (Trichophytic) Brow Lift – Similar to the coronal brow lift, the hairline brow lift uses an incision between the top of the forehead and the beginning of the hairline. The skin is lifted, the overlap is removed, and the incision is sewn together. This procedure removes skin from the forehead instead of the scalp, minimizing the impact on the hairline.
The specific technique a surgeon uses will depend on the desired goal. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons also may combine approaches (performing a brow lift through endoscopic and direct methods, for instance). Patients should expect a brow lift procedure to take between 1-2 hours.
Brow Lift Recovery
While a forehead lift is an outpatient surgery that can last about an hour, it also can be performed alongside other facial cosmetic surgeries for a more transformative goal.
Patients should always follow the directions of their surgeon after surgery. After a brow lift, the patient’s forehead may be wrapped to minimize swelling. Sometimes a small tube is placed at the incision site to drain excess fluids.
In the first few days after a brow lift, patients are often advised to:
- Rest with their head elevated and take their pain medication (as prescribed by their surgeon).
- Relieve swelling via cold compresses.
- Avoid pressure or motion at the site of the incision.
As the incisions heal, patients can experience numbness or itching, which should lessen over time. A surgeon will typically remove bandages one to three days after the surgery, with sutures removed seven to 10 days afterward (when applicable).
Swelling might last several weeks, but as it decreases, the incision lines also should fade. Ask your surgeon when it is OK to resume normal activities, such as washing and drying your hair.
Find an OMS near You
As experts in face, mouth and jaw surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained in facial cosmetic procedures, including brow lifts. Patients considering a brow lift should be aware of other options that may help achieve their desired goals, such as combining their brow lift with eyelid surgery. Find an OMS trained in cosmetic facial procedures to discuss your goals and schedule a consultation to determine whether a brow lift is right for you.
While surgery may refine, rejuvenate or enhance existing features, the decision to have a brow lift or other facial cosmetic procedures should not be made lightly. Please talk with your OMS to understand expectations.