A forehead lift corrects sagging in the skin of the forehead, upper eyelids, and eyebrows. Some people get one at the same time they get a face lift or cosmetic surgery on their nose.
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 hair line. Depending on where your hair line is, the surgeon will work to avoid a visible scar.
For the endoscopic lift, the surgeon makes a few shorter cuts in your scalp. They 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. The surgeon may have you make a series of facial expressions so they can best see exactly how to help you.
You should ask your surgeon for details of all charges -- including charges for follow-up care -- and payment options.
Health insurance typically doesn't pay for cosmetic procedures. There would have to be a medical reason for an insurance company to cover some or all of it. If you're not sure about your case, ask your doctor and your health insurance company before deciding whether to get the procedure. That way you can be clear on what you'll need to pay for yourself.
How to Prepare for Your Brow Lift
There might be some lifestyle adjustments you have to make before you can have a brow lift. Your surgeon should 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 drug, 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 -- with your surgeon.
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
You can have the brow lift done at your surgeon's office, in a hospital, or in an outpatient surgery facility. 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, the surgeon 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.
It's very important to follow your surgeon's instructions on how to care for the incision and how frequently to change the bandages.
What To Expect After a Brow Lift
Your recovery will vary depending on which brow lift procedure -- classic or endoscopic -- you had.
In either case, you will have stitches or staples that will need to be removed in about a week. If you have temporary fixation screws, your surgeon will remove them in about two weeks. These fixtures are installed beneath the hairline to hold the elevated brow in place.
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.
If your surgeon used the classic method, you will most likely experience more pain during your recovery. Your doctor will give you a prescription for a painkiller. You may also experience more itching, which can last a few months.
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.
After a Brow Lift, Call Your Doctor Immediately if:
- Fever that climbs over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Excessive swelling or bleeding.