A brow lift, also known as a forehead or eyebrow lift, is a cosmetic surgery procedure done to lessen creases that form on the forehead. The surgery may be performed to remove lines that develop over the years due to frowning, and it can also be employed for the repositioning of sagging or low eyebrows.
Often, brow lifts may be combined with blepharoplasties, which are surgeries done to the eyelid. However, in contrast to eyelid surgeries, eyebrow lifts are able to rejuvenate the appearance, giving one a more youthful and relaxed look.
There are many different techniques that can be used for eyebrow lifts. The choice of technique depends on the cosmetic surgeon, who takes into account the patient’s anatomy, the goals, and the extent of the corrections required to achieve the desired outcomes. The approaches to eyebrow lifts include endoscopic, limited incision, and coronal or classic brow lifts.
The endoscopic approach is less invasive than the other techniques. Small incisions are made near the hairline and endoscopic surgical tools are used to reposition tissues and muscles, and remove excess tissue where necessary. Browpexy and direct brow lifts are also performed.
With the limited incision surgeries, also called temporal brow lifts, the incisions are slightly larger than those made for the endoscopic method. Limited incisions are more commonly performed together with blepharoplasty (i.e. surgery on the eyelid) and are made near the temple. It is via these incisions that repositioning of muscle and tissue is done.
Classical brow lifts were once the standard approaches, but are no longer as popular as before due to the availability of less invasive techniques. In the classical approach, an incision is made posterior to the hairline, running from one ear to the other, in order to reposition muscles and the underlying tissues.
Following the surgery, patients generally experience some discomfort and tightness, with a little pain in a few instances. In the week or two after the procedure there may be some bruising as well as swelling.
Other complications that may arise include itching or numbness, that is temporary in nature, and is limited to the hair and forehead. There may be small amounts of hair loss in areas where incisions were made. Another complication, albeit very rare, is injury to the nerves within the face, particularly the one that is responsible for raising the brows.
After the surgery, patients are advised to keep their heads elevated. Keeping the head raised, as well as the application of cold compresses, reduces the swelling that is associated with eyebrow lifts. Symptoms typically subside by the end of the second week postoperatively.
However, patients are advised to avoid intense physical activities during the period of healing. Patients are encouraged to walk around the house on the day after the surgery, and showering is permitted a day or two later. They may typically return to office jobs within a week, while exercising may be resumed after about 4 weeks.
Reviewed by Liji Thomas, MD