The appearance of drooping eyebrows may encourage a patient to seek a forehead lift, also called a brow lift. This procedure restores the eyelid area to a more youthful, oval shape using surgery to remove and tighten excess tissue. It may also simply involve releasing the muscles that cause frown lines—the lines parents often get when giving “The Look” to their children. For a better understanding of how this plastic surgery procedure might enhance your appearance, look into a mirror and place the palms of your hands at the outer edge of your eyes, above your eyebrows. Gently draw the skin up to raise the brow and forehead area. Depending on your reasons for surgery, this is approximately what a forehead lift can achieve. If you think this makes you look shocked or surprised, you probably should not undergo a forehead lift. Experienced plastic surgeon Joe Gryskiewicz, MD, FACS (“Dr. Joe”) takes great care to mark a patient’s skin preoperatively while they look into a mirror and verify their preferred brow placement. This diligence allows him to accurately replicate the direction of pull and determine how much elevation is necessary.
What Can a Brow Lift Do For Me?
A brow lift is typically used to create a more rested, energetic, and youthful facial aesthetic. One of the most noticeable signs of aging in the upper face is the formation of deep lines and lax skin in the forehead. These expression lines can contribute to the look of a sagging brow and often make men and women seem worried, stressed, or fatigued. A surgical brow lift can effectively address these concerns and diminish an aged appearance in the upper face by:
- Smoothing deep creases and folds in the brow
- Lifting loose, sagging skin in the forehead
- Elevating the eyebrows to a natural-looking, youthful position
- Reducing eyelid “hooding” caused by drooping brows
- Minimizing the appearance of furrows between the brow
Depending on your unique needs and cosmetic goals, a brow lift can be an excellent way to reverse facial aging in the forehead for long-lasting results. For patients who would prefer to avoid a surgical procedure, minimally invasive treatment with BOTOX® Cosmetic or injectable dermal fillers can temporarily achieve enhancement that can be comparable to a forehead lift for certain aesthetic concerns. During a consultation in which your medical history and cosmetic needs are assessed, Dr. Joe can help you determine the best treatment to fulfill your aesthetic goals.
Many patients use brow lift surgery as an opportunity to refine additional aspects of their facial appearance. If you exhibit lax upper eyelid skin that may create a “hooding” effect, or puffiness and eye bags under the lower lids, combining a brow lift with a blepharoplasty procedure can be an ideal way to comprehensively reduce an aged aesthetic in the upper face. Also referred to as eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty is designed to improve the area around the eyes for long-lasting rejuvenation. For many patients, complementing a brow lift with eyelid surgery can allow individuals to address a number of age-related cosmetic concerns and achieve a more refreshed appearance overall.
What is a Brow Lift Procedure Like?
Most forehead lifts are performed through three or four small scalp incisions, each less than one inch long. An endoscope—a tiny, pencil-like camera—is inserted through one of the incisions. While looking through the endoscope, the doctor inserts an instrument through a second incision and lifts the skin and muscle. At the same time, the surgeon removes or alters underlying tissues. Eyebrows may also be lifted and secured to a higher position with sutures beneath the skin’s surface.
This approach is known as an endoscopic brow lift. Compared to other surgical approaches, use of the endoscope can have the advantage of smaller incisions, less visible scarring, and an accelerated recovery period. As a less invasive technique in brow lift surgery than other methods, the endoscopic brow lift usually results in minimized bruising and swelling post-operatively. For some patients, an endoscopic brow lift is not the most effective technique. Occasionally, an incision is made across the top of the head from ear to ear, all marks hidden within the hairline. This may be a more reliable approach, depending on how thick and heavy the brow is.
What is Recovery Like for a Brow Lift?
Individuals may experience some numbness, incision discomfort, and mild swelling after your surgery. Pain at the incision site is usually minimal and mild pain medication can manage it. Stitches or staples will be removed within one week. If temporary fixation screws were used, they will be removed in two weeks.
It’s recommended to take it easy the week after surgery. Most patients are able to shower and shampoo their hair within two days. Additionally, individuals are usually back at work in a week, although vigorous physical activity should be limited for a couple of weeks. Patients should limit their exposure to heat and sun, which may promote swelling. Scars from a forehead lift should fade quickly, but they are generally permanent.
What are the Risks of Brow Lift Surgery?
Risks involved with forehead lifts are minimal, but can include infection and bleeding, numbness, delayed healing, and temporary injury to the nerves that control eyebrow movement. As with a facelift, high blood pressure can cause complications; however, any elevation in blood pressure is treated with an anti-hypertensive pill pre-operatively. As the aging process continues, individuals may have to repeat the procedure in the distant future. With that said, patients are usually pleasantly surprised after surgery by how such a simple procedure can take years off of the face.