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Also known as a forehead lift, a brow lift minimizes the creases that develop across the forehead, or those that occur high on the bridge of the nose; improves what are commonly referred to as frown lines; and repositions a low or sagging brow.
Why Brow Lift?
Enhancing your appearance with a brow lift
If you are bothered by expression lines or other signs of aging in the brow region, a brow lift may be right for you. A brow lift:
- Minimizes the creases that develop across the forehead, or those that occur high on the bridge of the nose, between the eyes
- Improves what are commonly referred to as frown lines, vertical creases that develop between the eyebrows
- Repositions a low or sagging brow that is hooding the upper eyelid
- Raises the eyebrows to a more alert and youthful position
Rejuvenation procedures typically performed in conjunction with a brow lift include:
- Eyelid surgery to rejuvenate aging eyes
- Facelift to correct aging changes in the mid- to lower face and neck regions
- Skin resurfacing techniques
Is it right for me?
A brow lift is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image. Brow lift surgery is a good option for you if:
- You are physically healthy
- You don’t smoke
- You have a positive outlook and specific, but realistic goals in mind for the improvement of your appearance
What happens during brow lift surgery?
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 – The incision
A brow lift may sometimes be performed using an endoscope (surgical video device) and special instruments placed through small incisions made within the hairline. This allows the tissue and muscle beneath the skin to be repositioned, altered or removed, correcting the source of visible creases and furrows in the forehead.
Correction of a low-positioned or sagging brow may be made with or without the use of an endoscope through incisions at the temples and in the scalp.
This technique may be done in conjunction with incisions hidden within the natural crease of the upper eyelids to eliminate frown lines between the brows, on or above the bridge of the nose.
An alternative brow lift technique is the coronal brow lift. The coronal brow lift can pinpoint specific regions of the brow to correct.
This technique involves an incision from ear to ear, lifting the forehead and removing excess skin from the scalp.
Recovery time is often longer than the endoscopic brow lift due to the size of the incision.
The incision lines from a brow lift are well concealed within the hair or natural contours of the face unless they are placed at the hairline to shorten the forehead.
Results appear gradually as swelling and bruising subside to reveal smoother forehead skin and a more youthful, restful appearance.
Step 3 – Closing the incisions
Brow lift incisions typically are closed with:
- Removable or absorbable sutures
- Skin adhesives
- Surgical tape
- Special clips
Step 4 – See the results
Brow elevation may be maintained by the use of:
- Permanent sutures
- Small surgical screws
- Absorbable fixation device placed inconspicuously at the temples
Important facts about the safety and risks of brow lift Surgery
The decision to have a brow lift is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.
The risks include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor wound healing
- Anesthesia risks
- Blood clots
- Correctable hair loss at the incisions
- Elevated hairline
- Facial nerve injury with weakness or paralysis
- Facial asymmetry
- Skin loss
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation or intense itching
- Changes in skin sensation
- Eye irritation or dryness
- Eyelid disorders that involve abnormal position of the upper eyelids (eyelid ptosis), loose eyelid skin, or abnormal laxness of the lower eyelid (ectropion) can coexist with sagging forehead and eyebrow structures; brow lift surgery will not correct these disorders; additional surgery may be required
- Fluid accumulation
- Pain, which may persist
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration and swelling
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Possibility of revisional surgery
Be sure to ask questions:
It’s very important to ask your plastic surgeon questions about your brow lift procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.
A special note about the use of fibrin sealants (tissue glue)
Fibrin sealants (made from heat-treated human blood components to inactivate virus transmission) are used to hold tissue layers together at surgery and to diminish post-operative bruising following surgery.
This product has been carefully produced from screened donor blood plasma for hepatitis, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These products have been used safely for many years as sealants in cardiovascular and general surgery. This product is thought to be of help in diminishing surgical bleeding and by adhering layers of tissue together.
When you go home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure. Another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
When your procedure is completed, your forehead may be taped and your head may be loosely wrapped to minimize swelling and bruising. A thin tube may be present to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect under the skin.
You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in overall health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.
The results will be long-lasting
Initial wound healing may take 5 to 10 days, at which time any sutures or clips will be removed. You will be ready to return to work and normal activity at this time. Cosmetics can camouflage any bruising that remains.
Healing will continue for several weeks as the swelling dissipates and incision lines refine and fade and it may take several months for your complete recovery.
Life-long sun protection will help to maintain your rejuvenated appearance by minimizing photo-aging or sun damage. In addition, a healthy lifestyle will also help extend the results of your rejuvenated, more youthful appearance.
How much will brow lift surgery cost?
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Prices for brow lift surgeries can vary widely. A surgeon’s cost may vary based on his or her experience as well as geographic office location.
Many plastic surgeons offer patient financing plans, so be sure to ask. Cost may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Post-surgery garments, and
- Medical tests
Your satisfaction involves more than a fee
When choosing a plastic surgeon for brow lift surgery, remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with him or her are just as important as the final cost of the surgery.
Most health insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery or its complications.
Words to know
- Brow lift: A surgical procedure to correct a low-positioned or sagging brow. Smooths furrows across the forehead and between the brows.
- Endoscope: A surgical video device sometimes used during brow lift procedures.
- General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
- Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
- Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
- Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
- Skin resurfacing: Treatment to improve the texture, clarity and overall appearance of your skin.
- Sutures: Stitches used by surgeons to hold skin and tissue together.
Frequently Asked Questions
As we age, our skin loses elasticity, causing the brow to droop. Sometimes the outside of the brow sags, resulting in a sad expression. In other cases, the central portion hangs, mimicking anger. Many people operate under the misconception that these symptoms require an eyelift, since brow droop can cause hooding of upper eyelid skin, when the solution is actually a browlift. What causes brow tone to change? Typically, photodamage (sun), gravity, and facial tension. Sun changes the actual structure of the skin, reducing elasticity. Gravity exerts constant force on the entire body. Facial tension caused by life’s everyday stressors, places deep wrinkles in our brow.
Here’s a reliable test: Using a mirror, observe the positions of your brow and eyelid skin. Next, gently lift the skin above your eyebrow into a pleasing position—not too high—with your thumb and forefinger. If that eradicates most of the excess skin in the upper eyelid, a browlift may be indicated. Another common sign of brow droop: no surface to place makeup on the upper eyelid with increasing age.
Yes. Patients frequently face both brow droop and surplus upper eyelid skin. These patients require both a browlift and an upper eyelift.
First, there are two types of brow wrinkles. Glabellar, or vertical, wrinkles, fall between the eyebrows. They are caused by corrugators, active little muscles located between the brow that exhibit anger or tension. Frontalis, or horizontal wrinkles, fall across the forehead and are caused by contractions in the frontalis muscle located in the central part of the forehead. Whether between the brows or centered in the forehead, it is tension that causes wrinkling.
Somewhat. For instance, if eyebrows need to be higher, there will be a slight elevation of the anterior hairline. If no repositioning is needed, or only lateral eyebrow droop needs fixing, the hairline change is usually imperceptible.
If a patient presents with a too-high or receded hairline, a forehead reduction can be done with the browlift. Moving the scalp hair forward surgically will lower the upper forehead hairline.
The procedure itself is painless, as anesthetic is used during the operation. At your consultation, we will determine whether full general anesthesia or “twilight” sedation is best for you. You may experience some swelling and tightness for a week or two following surgery, but little pain is expected. Most patients require little medication.
Although nearly all patients are fully mobile the day after the procedure, most take 5-7 days off work, depending on their individual healing rate. Full healing, as with any surgery, takes a bit longer. Until three months post-surgery, the brow may be oilier or slightly numb.
Some women may never need a browlift, while others may benefit as early as their late twenties. Men generally don’t benefit until their late forties at the earliest. Sometimes, following unsuccessful injections of Botox, San Francisco clientele inquire about browlifts.
Browlifts are among the longest-lasting cosmetic procedures we perform; nine out of ten people who have a browlift never need another.
As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of bleeding, infection or scarring. Slight asymmetry between the brows may occur. Very rarely, loss of brow muscle function develops. Being informed prior to surgery will help you make optimal choices regarding your care.
Before And After
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