What is a Brow Lift (Forehead Lift)?
- December 10, 2022
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As time goes by we all notice changes in our appearance. Whether it is graying hair or aching joints, signs of aging are inevitable. One such sign is the emergence of wrinkles on your skin. This is where the brow lift comes in. With this procedure, you can look and feel young again.
What is a Brow Lift?
A brow lift, sometimes called a forehead lift, is a cosmetic procedure that repositions your eyebrows to make your face look younger and more alert. The muscles and tissues in your face that cause drooping will be removed or repositioned so that your forehead becomes smoother and your eyebrows raise. A brow lift can:
- Reduce wrinkles on the face, including those across the forehead, on the bridge of the nose, and between the eyes
- Improve the look of frown lines and vertical creases between the eyebrows
- Raise drooping brows so that they are in a more alert, more youthful position
A brow lift is usually done because patients feel as though aging has caused their expressions to look angrier, more serious, or more tired. If you want to get an idea of how you would look if you had a forehead lift, there is a quick and easy way to do this at home. First, look into a mirror and put the palms of your hands above your eyebrows. Then, gently draw your hands up to raise the eyebrow and forehead area. The result is something close to what you will see after surgery.
Who is a Candidate for a Brow Lift?
Typically, people between the ages of 40 and 60 opt for a brow lift in order to decrease the effects of aging on their appearance. However, younger people can also have this surgery. Many younger patients come in with frown lines or furrowed brows due to stress or inherited traits. Therefore, people of all ages can have this procedure done.
Furthermore, if you are bald or have a receding hairline, you may still get a forehead lift. The only difference will be in the placing of the incision. In some cases, your surgeon might also choose to perform a different kind of operation that is more suited for you.
The main qualification, however, is for you to have a realistic attitude coming into the surgery. This procedure will not reverse the aging process or make your appearance perfect, per se. It will simply make you look more refreshed and rejuvenated. Having a positive attitude will greatly help with the recovery process after the surgery.
Types of Brow Lifts
The difference between the two types of brow lifts lies in the length and place of the incision and the tool used to do the surgery. Which surgery you end up doing will be chosen by your surgeon based on the information that you give them during the consultation. Another factor is your personal facial structure, as well. The two types of incisions are:
Endoscopic Brow Lift
In this type of brow lift, the surgeon will use an endoscope – a thin tube with a small camera on one end. First, your surgeon will make between three and five small scalp incisions that are less than one inch long. Then, the endoscope will be inserted into one of those incisions so that the surgeon can see the muscle and tissue beneath the skin. Another instrument is then inserted through a different incision and the skin of your forehead is lifted. Any muscle and tissue are either removed or altered, and the result is a smoother appearance. Your eyebrows can also be lifted to a higher position by sutures under the skin or temporary fixation screws behind the hairline.
Coronal Brow Lift
The incision that is made for this type of brow lift is one long cut, starting at ear level and running across the top of the forehead to the other side of the head. This is done behind the hairline so as to be less noticeable. The skin of the forehead is then lifted. The tissue underneath is then removed and the muscles are altered or released. The eyebrows can also be raised and any excess skin at the point of incision will be trimmed away. This results in a smoother and younger appearance.
Brow Lifts for Patients with High Foreheads
If a patient has a high forehead, the placement of the incision will change, regardless of the method being used. The recommended incision is at the anterior hairline. This makes it to where the brows can be elevated while also making sure the height of the front hairline is not changed. Though this scar is more visible, different hairstyles, like bangs, can be used to hide it.
Brow Lifts for Patients who are Bald or Have Thinning Hair
In this case, the placement of the incision also changes. For patients who are bald or have thinning hair, the recommended incision is mid-scalp. This makes it so that the incision follows the natural pattern of the bones in your skull. In this way, the scar is less noticeable.
Brow Lifts: A Step-by-Step Process
Below is a step-by-step walkthrough of each part of the process of getting a brow lift:
During a consultation, this is the time for you to ask your doctor any questions you may have about the brow lift and the aftermath. Be sure to ask everything you need to know about the surgery itself, how to prepare for it, what to do during recovery, and what financial options you have to pay for it. This is also when you can ask about your doctor’s credentials and get examples of their previous work. You can also ask for example photos of forehead lifts and photos of their previous patients.
However, this is also the time when your doctor will ask you questions and run some tests in order to get you prepared for surgery. Some things that you might discuss are:
- Your goals and expectations for your appearance after surgery
- Your medical history
- Any medications you may be taking
- Alcohol use, drug use, and smoking status
Furthermore, your surgeon might also:
- Evaluate your general health status and any risk factors
- Discuss your options and recommend which would be best for you
- Examine and measure different parts of your face
- Take photographs of your face
Preparation for a brow lift
In preparation for brow lift surgery, your doctor may ask you to do a few things. These include:
- Getting a medical evaluation
- Taking new medication or adjusting the medication that you already take
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs (these can increase bleeding and bruising after surgery)
In addition, you should also make arrangements for someone to drive you to and from surgery. You will also need someone to stay with you for the first night or two afterward to ensure your safety and help with recovery.
The Brow Lift
Regardless of the type of incision you will have, a brow lift will have the same general process. First, before anything is done, your hair will be tied using rubber bands on either side of the incision site. Any hair that is growing directly in front of the incision site may also need to be trimmed before surgery can begin. The full procedure should take between one and two hours.
The first step involves putting the patient under anesthesia. Most brow lifts are performed under local anesthesia, meaning that the patient is awake and the forehead will be insensitive to pain. Mild discomfort or tugging may be felt, but overall you won’t feel anything.
Sometimes, general anesthesia is used, meaning that you will be asleep throughout the entire procedure.
The next step is to make the incision. The type of incision – either endoscopic or coronal – will have been discussed beforehand with your doctor. In some cases, though very rare, during an endoscopic forehead lift, your surgeon might have to switch to a coronal brow lift mid-surgery. This will cause more extensive scarring and have a longer recovery period.
Closing the Incision
There are three ways to close brow lift incisions:
- Removable or absorbable sutures
- Skin adhesives
- Special clips
After the Brow Lift and Recovery
After surgery, your forehead may be taped, or you may have to wrap your head loosely so that you can minimize swelling and bruising. A thin tube may also be used to drain excess blood or fluids that might have collected under your skin.
Your results will be immediately visible after surgery; however, for your final results to show, you might have to wait a few weeks. This is due to the swelling and bruising that will go down over time.
In the days after the brow lift, keep your head elevated and avoid vigorous physical activity. Do not use ice or heat around the incision area. Initial wound healing should take one or two weeks. Bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery, and stitches, clips, and temporary fixation screws will be removed within about two weeks. Pain around the incisions, which is usually minimal, can be controlled by medication.
Hair loss or hair thinning may occur, but this is usually temporary. After a few weeks or months, your hair should start growing normally again.
You may also experience some numbness or discomfort around the incision site after surgery, but medication can easily alleviate these symptoms if they are to occur. This numbness will turn to itching over time, which should stop in about six months. If you are prone to headaches, your doctor might also give you longer-acting anesthesia to help.
You should be able to return to work after 10 to 14 days, but a full recovery may take several months. Any bruising in that time can be covered using cosmetics.
Risks and Complications of Brow Lifts
Just as with any operation, brow lifts come with certain risks. However, with the proper guidance and help from your surgeon and other medical staff, the procedure will be done in the safest way possible. Possible short-term side effects include:
- Allergic reactions to anesthesia
- Dryness of the eye
- Elevated hairline
- Eye irritation
- Fluid accumulation
- Hair loss around the incision
- Minimal pain
- Numbness on the top of the scalp
- Skin loss
- Temporary discomfort around the incision(s)
Other complications that may appear over the course of time include, but are not limited to:
- Deep venous thrombosis (blood clots) – though rare, this can result in pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that develops in a blood vessel and then travels to a lung artery, blocking blood flow), chest pains, and shortness of breath.
- Facial asymmetry – the two sides of the face not directly matching, like if one brow is higher than the other.
- Facial nerve injury with weakness or paralysis – though rather uncommon, there is the possibility of injuring the nerves that control eyebrow movement. This results in the inability to raise the eyebrows or wrinkle the forehead. This can also be corrected with surgery.
- Loss of sensation around the incision – this is more common with patients who receive coronal incisions. It is usually temporary, but in some cases, it may be permanent.
- Scar formation – though this is rare, a scar may form. This can be corrected surgically by removing the wider scar tissue.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does a brow lift cost?
The cost of a brow lift depends on your surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure, and the office location. However, on average, a brow lift will be around $4,000. This, however, is only part of the overall fee. Other related costs include:
- Anesthesia fees
- Medical tests
- Medication costs
- Surgeon’s fees
- Surgical facility costs
Are brow lifts covered by insurance providers?
Most health care providers will not cover surgeries that are done for purely cosmetic reasons, like a brow lift. However, if you are having a brow lift for medical reasons, like a sagging forehead or sagging brows that interfere with vision, then your insurance company may cover some or all of the charges.
What other surgeries are typically done alongside brow lifts?
Usually, other surgeries are recommended in addition to a brow lift to rejuvenate the whole face and create harmony between the features. Some of these other cosmetic procedures include:
- Blepharoplasty (upper or lower eyelid surgery)
- Rhytidectomy (facelift)
- Skin resurfacing techniques
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