What is a Browlift?
A brow lift, or browplasty is also known as a forehead lift reduces the wrinkle lines that develop horizontally across the forehead, as well as those that occur on the bridge of the nose, between the eyes. A brow lift, also commonly called a forehead lift, rejuvenates the face above the eyes to restore a more refreshed appearance that better reflects a patient’s natural vibrance. By removing excess sagging, skin on the forehead and repositioning the underlying muscles and tissues, a brow lift can correct a heavy, sagging brow, eliminate deep furrows, and restore a smoother, more youthful contour to the upper one-third of the face.
What are the benefits of getting a brow lift?
- Improves frown lines the vertical creases that develop between the eyebrows
- Raises sagging brows that are hooding the upper eyelids
- Places the eyebrows in an alert and youthful position
Two Types of Brow Lifts
There are two methods to lift your forehead and eyebrow areas:
- Classic lift
- Endoscopic lift
The classic lift involves one continuous cut beginning at the level of your ears and going up around your hairline. Depending on where your hairline is, the surgeon will work to avoid a visible scar.
For the endoscopic lift, the surgeon makes a few shorter cuts in your scalp. He or she will insert a scope — a small camera on the end of a thin tube — into one of the cuts and use another device inserted in another cut to make the necessary changes.
In the endoscopic lift, the surgeon uses small anchors to secure the tissue. Because the cuts are smaller, this procedure is less invasive than the classic lift. You will have minimal scarring and a shorter recovery time.
Your Brow Lift Consultation
You’ll have a meeting to consult with your surgeon before the procedure. At this meeting, you should talk about your goals, your current health, and your medical history. Your surgeon will evaluate your entire forehead region, including your upper eyelids, paying attention to the muscles. Dr. Roth may have you make a series of facial expressions so he or she can best see exactly how to help you.
How to Prepare for Your Brow Lift
There might be some lifestyle adjustments you have to make before you can have a brow lift. Dr. Roth will give you detailed instructions about what you need to do and when you need to do it.
For instance, if you smoke, your surgeon may ask you to stop at least temporarily. You may also have to avoid alcohol and certain medications. If you regularly take an aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs, your surgeon will ask you to stop taking these for a certain period of time before the surgery. These drugs can cause increased bleeding and should be avoided.
Also, if your hair is long and will get in the way of the procedure, you may have to trim it. If your hair is shorter, you may want to grow it out to cover any scars. Be sure to discuss all these things — as well as how to prepare.
Why Have a Brow Lift?
The problem with an aging forehead is the effect it has on our facial expressions—a sagging, heavily furrowed brow can cause us to look constantly tired, worried or even angry. Some of us are also genetically inclined to have a heavier, thicker brow, making us look as though we are wearing a frown even when we are feeling our best. A brow lift directly addresses these issues, helping patients enjoy a more naturally refreshed appearance as well as other positive changes:
- Others may find you more approachable, as they no longer mistakenly perceive you as angry or concerned
- Your eyes will appear brighter and more naturally alert
- Self-confidence can improve as you are no longer worried about looking “worried”
Types of Brow Lift Surgery
Dr. Roth will use different techniques for brow lift surgery; which is best for any given patient depends on a patient’s goals, unique anatomy, and the extent of corrections needed to achieve the desired results.
Typically, Dr. Roth will administer a combination of local anesthesia and more powerful sedatives. However, in some cases, he can also provide general sedation. Dr. Roth could place your incision across the crown of your head or along your hairline. The location will depend on your goals, skin type, and the amount of tissue to be removed. Through this opening, your surgeon will raise your forehead muscles, often repositioning your eyebrows at the same time. Then he will trim off sagging or damaged skin before closing the incision with small sutures.
Endoscopic Brow Lift
In some cases, Dr. Roth may recommend and endoscopic brow lift. This surgery is similar to a traditional procedure. However, instead of creating a single long incision, he will make several short incisions along your hairline. Then he will use a tiny surgical camera, or endoscope, to view and access the underlying muscles.
Increasingly, cosmetic surgeons are using the endoscopic method for brow lift surgery, which is much less invasive than previous techniques, yet can often achieve an equally desirable result. For an endoscopic brow lift, Dr. Roth will make a series of very short incisions (about ¾” in length) just behind the hairline. Then, using a special tiny camera and thin instruments, he or she will reposition the muscles and lift underlying tissues of the forehead, removing excess fat and tissue as needed to create a naturally more youthful brow.
Temporal or Limited Incision Brow Lift
A temporal brow lift involves slightly longer incisions than an endoscopic brow lift and is most commonly performed in conjunction with eyelid surgery. Incisions about 1 inch long are made just above each temple, behind the hairline. Through these incisions, your cosmetic surgeon will lift and reposition the tissues of the outer brow area. Then, through the incisions made for an upper eyelid procedure, the area between the eyebrows is lifted to smooth out frown lines.
Classic or Coronal Brow Lift
Once the standard technique, the coronal brow lift has generally fallen out of fashion, as well-qualified cosmetic surgeons are typically able to make needed improvements with less invasive techniques. In certain cases, however, a coronal brow lift may be necessary to achieve a patient’s desired results. This technique involves one long incision made behind the hairline, running from ear to ear. Excess skin, fat and tissue are removed and the remaining skin and brow muscles are repositioned into a more youthful appearance.
Brow Lift Surgery & Recovery
Brow lift surgery is an outpatient procedure, performed using general anesthesia or intravenous sedation with local anesthesia. The duration of surgery depends on the type of brow lift as well as whether or not another procedure is being performed at the same time. Your incisions may be closed with sutures or staples, which are typically removed about 1 week after surgery.
Patients typically experience very little pain after a brow lift, but it is common to feel slight discomfort as well as a sensation of tightness throughout the forehead. Swelling and bruising are most common during the first 10 days or so after surgery, and are mostly resolved after about 2 weeks.
What You’ll Need at Home After a Brow Lift
Make sure your house is stocked with plenty of gauze and clean towels for when you get home after your brow lift.
Also make sure you have the following on hand:
- Plenty of ice
- Container to use for ice or cold water
- Plastic freezer bags to hold the ice, or bags of frozen corn or peas to use in place of ice
- Pillows (you’ll have to keep your head elevated for a period of time)
- Ointment for the incision area (which your surgeon can recommend or prescribe, if necessary)
The Day of Your Brow Lift
The surgery should take less than two hours, and you will not normally need to stay overnight. You will, though, need to bring someone along who can drive you home and, if you live alone, stay with you the first night or two.
Most of the time, Dr. Roth will use local anesthesia. But if it makes you more comfortable, you can ask for an anesthesia that will put you to sleep during the operation (general anesthesia). Once the operation is over, your surgeon will close the incisions with stitches or staples, cleanse the area, and bandage your face.
What To Expect After a Brow Lift
You will probably have swelling and bruising, that can affect parts of your face that wasn’t operated on, including your cheeks and eyes. The swelling should be gone in about a week. For at least two days after the surgery, you should keep your head elevated to help ease the swelling, and you can gently apply ice packs to the affected region.
After the endoscopic procedure, you will also get a prescription painkiller. Itching can be a side effect, but it should be much milder than with the classic method.
In either case, you may also have numbness or tingling. This will ease over time. Those who have the classic procedure may have more numbness. Most people can return to work or school within 10 days depending on which procedure was performed and your own personal rate of recovery. Avoid heavy lifting, vigorous exercise, or other activity for the first few weeks after surgery.
Though the side effects are minimal, possible complications can include infection, scars, complications with eyebrow movement, or the loss of sensation around the incision site. It’s important to remember that these complications are rare.
The timeline for resuming activity after a brow lift depends on the individual—if you are having a brow lift alone, recovery is usually much quicker than that for a patient having a brow lift in conjunction with a facelift or other more extensive procedure. Below are typical recovery milestones following brow lift surgery:
- Day of surgery: walking around the house in encouraged.
- 1 to 2 days after surgery: showering is permitted; be gentle around your incision sites.
- 1 week after surgery: return to a sedentary job; some patients are able to return to work earlier. You may tire more easily, so consider a limited work schedule initially. If you are concerned about visible bruising, your cosmetic surgeon can recommend options for camouflage makeup.
- 1 to 2 weeks after surgery: resume driving, as long as you have full mobility and are no longer taking prescription pain medication.
- 2 to 4 weeks after surgery: gradually resume exercise; your cosmetic surgeon will provide guidance for which activities are allowed.
Brow Lift vs. Eyelid Lift vs. Facelift
When it comes to facial cosmetic surgery, it can be difficult to know which procedure you really need to optimally address the signs of aging that are affecting you. If you have sagging, hollowed cheeks and eyelid bags, do you need a facelift or an eyelid lift? If you have a tired, concerned appearance, will an eyelid lift or a brow lift help you the most?
While the best way to find out the most appropriate procedure or procedures for you is to discuss your concerns with an experienced, qualified cosmetic surgeon, it may help to associate each facial procedure with a certain area of aging:
- Brow Lift: improves the forehead and above the eyebrows
- Eyelid Lift: improves the orbital area, around the eyes from the cheekbone to the brow bone. Learn more about eyelid lifts
- Face Lift: improves the mid to lower face, from the cheekbones to the chin and jawline. Learn more about facelifts »
- Neck Lift: improves the neck, from the chin to the collarbone. Learn more about neck lifts »
Will the results of brow lift surgery last?
The improvements made with brow lift surgery will last for many years to come. However, nothing can stop the normal aging process, and eventually, your forehead tissues will begin to settle with time and gravity. You can help keep your results looking their best by living a healthy lifestyle. Wear sunscreen daily, eat a diet rich in whole foods and vitamins, and don’t smoke. This will help keep your body healthy and skin looking its best.
After a Brow Lift, Call Your Doctor Immediately if:
- Fever that climbs over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Excessive swelling or bleeding.