A brow lift (sometimes called a forehead lift), is a relatively simple surgical procedure that can correct a heavy brow, lift sagging tissue under your eyebrows, and smooth a wrinkled forehead. Rather than removing the tissue as in eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), a brow lift actually lifts the sagging tissue, making your eyes appear larger and more open.
Who Can Benefit from a Brow Lift?
You might be a good candidate for a brow lift if you have any of these conditions:
Depending upon what you want to accomplish, the doctor will tell you during your initial consultation if a brow lift is the best choice for you.
What is the Procedure Like?
You may remain asleep during the brow lift under a general anesthetic, or you may be under only a local anesthetic with a sedative to make you feel drowsy. In either situation, you will feel no pain, but even under sedation, you may hear, see and/or feel some things during surgery.
The surgery generally requires four or five incisions which are so tiny that your hair does not even have to be trimmed. Some of the incisions are made above your forehead, and others next to your temples, all hidden by your hair. Dr. Rubinstein prefers the endoscopic technique, though some patients require an open technique for the best result. In those cases, the incision may run under your hair from one side of the head to the other.
After the incisions are made, the surgeon lifts the tissue upward in order to reposition it to your specifications. As a result, sagging skin is tightened and wrinkles are reduced. If you have too much excess tissue above or below your eyes, you may opt to have a brow lift and eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) to both lift the area and remove excess fat and skin at the same time. Brow lifts are also commonly combined with facelift surgery.
What Can I Expect During Recovery?
A brow lift is an outpatient procedure, so you can go home the same day. Since you will have been under a general anesthetic or sedative, however, it is imperative that someone else drive you home. An ointment will be placed in your eyes during surgery, which will make your sight blurry for a few hours after the surgery.
You will experience some swelling for two or three days following the operation, which can be relieved with cool compresses. You may shampoo your hair the very next day. Bruising may occur in the eyelid and cheek area for a period of one to two weeks, but after the first week, you should be able to cover the bruises with makeup. Generally, within about two weeks, your stitches will be removed, and you can return to work.
Some patients experience mild headaches for the first couple of days, and you can obtain a prescription for pain medication from the doctor, if necessary. Bear in mind that the tissues will relax and drop slightly during the first two to three weeks after the surgery, so your doctor may lift your brows slightly higher than you wish them to be in order to compensate for this. After the swelling subsides, your brow will be in the correct position.
Since the incisions are made on your scalp, any scarring is hidden by your hair, and your facial expressions will not be at all affected by the surgery. Even though the aging process continues, the results of a brow lift usually last for several years. Many patients experience a long lasting "Botox-like" effect which reduces frown lines for a long time after surgery. In some cases, this is a permanent benefit of a brow lift.
What Are the Risks of a Brow Lift?
A brow lift is a very simple and safe surgery, and complications are extremely rare. All surgery carries some risk. In rare cases, there may be long-lasting numbness after surgery. While the improvements of a brow lift last a very long time, some patients may experience further aging and sagging of the brow over time.