A forehead lift or “browlift” is a procedure that restores a more youthful, refreshed look to the area above the eyes. The procedure corrects drooping brows and improves the horizontal lines and furrows that can make a person appear angry, sad or tired.
In a forehead lift, the muscles and tissues that cause the furrowing or drooping are removed or altered to smooth the forehead, raise the eyebrows and minimize frown lines. Your surgeon may use the conventional surgical method, in which the incision is hidden just behind the hairline; or it may be performed with the use of an endoscope, a viewing instrument that allows the procedure to be performed with minimal incisions. Both techniques yield similar results – smoother forehead skin and a more animated appearance.
The Best Candidates for a Forehead Lift
A forehead lift is most commonly performed in the 40-60 age range to minimize the visible effects of aging. However, it can also help people of any age who have developed furrows or frown lines due to stress or muscle activity. Individuals with inherited conditions, such as a low, heavy brow or furrowed lines above the nose can achieve a more alert and refreshed look with this procedure.
Forehead lift is often performed in conjunction with a facelift to provide a smoother overall look to the face. Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) may also be performed at the same time as a forehead lift, especially if a patient has significant skin overhang in the upper eyelids. Sometimes, patients who believe they need upper-eyelid surgery find that a forehead lift better meets their surgical goals.
All Surgery Carries Some Uncertainty and Risk
Complications are rare and usually minor when a forehead lift is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Yet, the possibility of complications must be considered.
In rare cases, the nerves that control eyebrow movement may be injured on one or both sides, resulting in a loss of ability to raise the eyebrows or wrinkle the forehead. Additional surgery may be required to correct the problem.
Formation of a broad scar is also a rare complication. This may be treated surgically by removing the wide scar tissue so a new, thinner scar may result. Also, in some patients, hair loss may occur along the scar edges.
Planning Your Surgery
For a better understanding of how a forehead lift might change your appearance, look into a mirror and place the palms of your hands at the outer edges of your eyes, above your eyebrows. Gently draw the skin up to raise the brow and the forehead area. That is approximately what a forehead lift would do for you.
If you decide to proceed with a forehead lift, your surgeon will explain the surgical technique, the recommended type of anesthesia, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, the risks and the costs involved. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results of surgery.
Your surgeon will help you decide which surgical approach will best achieve your cosmetic goals: the classic or “open” method, or the endoscopic forehead lift. Make sure you understand the technique that your surgeon recommends and why he or she feels it is best for you.
The classic forehead lift:
Before the operation begins, your hair will be tied with rubber bands on either side of the incision line. Your head will not be shaved, but hair that is growing directly in front of the incision line may need to be trimmed.
For most patients, a coronal incision will be used. It follows a headphone-like pattern, starting at about ear level and running across the top of the forehead and down the other side of the head. The incision is usually made well behind the hairline so that the scar won’t be visible.
The endoscopic forehead lift:
Typically, an endoscopic forehead lift requires the same preparation steps as the traditional procedure: the hair is tied back and trimmed behind the hairline where the incisions will be made.
However, rather than making one long coronal incision, your surgeon will make three, four or five short scalp incisions, each less than an inch in length. An endoscope, which is a pencil-like camera device connected to a television monitor, is inserted through one of the incisions, allowing the surgeon to have a clear view of the muscles and tissues beneath the skin. Using another instrument inserted through a different incision, the forehead skin is lifted and the muscles and underlying tissues are removed or altered to produce a smoother appearance. The eyebrows may also be lifted and secured into their higher position by sutures beneath the skin’s surface or by temporary fixation screws placed behind the hairline.
After Your Surgery
Classic forehead lift:
patients may experience some numbness and temporary discomfort around the incision, which can be controlled with prescription medication. Patients who are prone to headaches may be treated with an additional longer-acting local anesthesia during surgery as a preventive measure.
Endoscopic forehead lift:
patients may experience some numbness, incision discomfort and mild swelling. Incision site pain is usually minimal, but can be controlled with medication, if necessary. Endoscopic forehead lift patients usually experience less of the itching sensation felt by patients who have had the classic forehead lift.
For an brow lift in Glendale California contact board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Saul Berger
Content courtesy of PlasticSurgery.org
A forehead lift can smooth the forehead, raise the upper eyelids, and minimize the frown lines that come with aging.
In preparation for a forehead lift, the hair is tied back with rubber bands in front of and behind the incision area. An incision is usually made across the top of the head, just behind the hairline.
Forehead skin is gently lifted and portions of facial muscle and excess skin are removed. The incision is then closed with stitches or clips.
The result of a forehead lift is a younger, more rested look.
Brow Lift FAQ
What is a brow lift and who is a candidate?
A brow lift is a procedure that raises the position of the eyebrows, thereby increasing the space above the upper eyelids and lifting the level of the eyebrows relative to the eye socket. It helps correct situations where the brows appear too low or the skin between the eyebrows and the upper eyelids is too crowded. There are multiple methods used to achieve this lift, including different types of incisions and methods of securing the lifted brows in a raised position.
What is involved in a surgical brow lift?
The basic principles involve surgically lifting the eyebrow skin and lower forehead to a higher position, and then typically using some method of “fixation” to keep the tissues lifted over time. One type of brow lift involves a longer incisions that can be camouflaged by placing it in or adjacent to the hair. A second type uses incisions that can also be used for eyelid surgery (“blepharoplasty”) and, thus, does not add additional scars. A third approach, and the most common that I use, involves tiny incisions (just a fraction of an inch long) hidden in the hair through which all of the work can be done.
What does the term “chemical” brow lift mean?
This is a term that refers to procedures that lift the eyebrows by means of medication rather than surgery. This mainly came in to popular use with the adoption of Botox for rejuvenation in the upper face. When Botox is injected into certain muscles that push or force the eyebrows downward, the opposite effect occurs and the brows rise. While this treatment is effective for many patients and is easy to receive, the amount of lift on is small, and generally not as powerful as a surgical lift.
What do I need to do to recover from a surgical brow lift?
Recovery from a brow lift is generally not difficult. Patients benefit from elevation of the head and upper body for the first 48 hours to reduce swelling, and the discomfort is mild. A special dressing is applied to the forehead, and it will vary with the type of lift performed. Dressings can generally be removed within a few days, and showers can also resume after the dressings are removed. Swelling after surgery is often mild, and mostly resolves after the first few weeks.
Are there factors that affect my suitability for brow lift?
While the aging process usually includes descent of the eyebrows, it is not automatically recommended that a brow lift be done. A careful consultation is essential in determining how appropriate the procedure is for any individual. It is important to evaluate a number of factors including the position of the brows in relation to the orbital bone and upper eyelids, the amount and distribution of skin of the upper eyelids, and the overall aesthetics and shaping of the eye area, including both upper and lower eyelids. As a generalization, the male aesthetic tends to handle the low brow position better than the female.
If you are interested in brow lift surgery or are considering it, you may find it useful to look at the brow position of the models that appear in advertisements. You may notice that brow position is highly variable, and many models look beautiful despite a low brow level. Again, one cannot underestimate the importance of a thorough consultation.