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Brow Lift
(forehead lift)

Brow lift surgery rejuvenates the forehead and eyebrows by compensating for the gradual lowering of the brow that occurs with aging. It can also address a receding hairline or a naturally high forehead.

If the lateral part of your eyebrow is sitting too low, it can give your entire face a tired, even sad appearance. This low position (sitting at the edge of the eye socket) can also create the impression that your upper eyelids have excess skin.

Because we all age differently, depending on whether we are men or women and on the characteristics we inherit, even young people may experience this problem. However, brow lift surgery can address these issues by restoring a more youthful and pleasing brow shape and position.

  • When the brow position is low, some people tend to actively lift eyebrows, which leads to forehead lines. This behavior tends to disappear when the brow is again in a normal position.
  • In addition, in many cases (particularly with younger patients) repositioning the eyebrow may refresh the appearance of your eyes without the need for eyelid surgery.
  • Brow lift surgery also has the ability to address the frown muscles, and reduce the tendency that some people have the frown whilst they are focusing.
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Brow lift consultation

During your consultation, your surgeon will seek to determine the relationship between your upper eyelid, brow and the upper edge of the eye socket. Once this is clear, he'll lift the lateral (outside) portion of your eyebrow to establish how much correction will be needed to place your brow in the ideal position.

  • For women, this ideal position is between five millimeters and one centimeter above the rim of the eye socket for the lateral part of the brow.
  • For men, raising the brow this much could create a feminine appearance so the brow is positioned at the rim of the eye socket or slightly above.
  • For both men and women the inside corner of the eyebrows should sit either just below or just above the edge of the eye socket.

Once your surgeon has determined the ideal eyebrow position, he will evaluate the appearance of your upper eyelids. If significant excess skin would remain in the upper eyelid area even after brow lift, a combination of brow lift and upper lid lift may provide better results than either procedure alone. This is evaluated in the context of the forehead shape, as it will determine which type of procedure and access is best suited for you.

What to expect from brow lift surgery

Brow lift surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually involves an overnight stay in hospital. It is often associated with a face lift or eyelid surgery.

Historically, brow lift surgery involved a long cut across the scalp behind the hairline. This procedure, now termed an open or coronal operation, is much less common today but still useful in selected cases. For example, open procedures can be combined with a degree of reshaping of the rim of the orbit, if softening of the facial features is targeted

A variation of this procedure, used to stretch the skin of the forehead and lower the hairline, places the scar on the edge of the hairline at the top of the forehead.

Today, most brow lift surgery is performed through several small incisions in the hair behind the hairline. The procedure, termed endoscopic brow lift, is assisted by the use of an endoscope, a tiny camera and light mounted on a tubular probe and inserted through these incisions. Images acquired by the camera and displayed in magnified form on a screen guide the surgeon as he works.

  • During the surgery the tissues of the forehead are lifted from the bone and repositioned higher.
  • Frown muscles may be weakened. (Generally they are not destroyed entirely as this could cause the position of the brows to change too much resulting in a startled appearance.)
  • The skin is then supported in its new position with a variety of fixation techniques and the wounds are closed, most commonly with skin staples.

A more limited degree of brow lifting can also be done through the incisions made for an upper lid blepharoplasty or through the incisions made at the upper part of a face lift. This is called Browpexy for the former and temporal lift for the latter.

Recovering after brow lift surgery

In the time after your surgery there are a number of things of which you should be aware:

  • The staples used to close your incisions will be removed at your 7-10 day follow-up visit. Although anticipated by most patients with apprehension, removal of staples is a painless event, and staples have the advantage of protecting the hair follicles much better than stitches.
  • You should expect some bruising around your forehead. It is wise to limit vigorous activity to keep this bruising under control.
  • You may also experience headaches for the first few days. Any discomfort you experience can be controlled by taking paracetamol or medication provided by the hospital. Do not take aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medication as these can promote bleeding.
  • In the first few weeks after surgery your eyelids may not close fully. This can lead to irritation of the eye so it is important to use lubricants and eye moisturizers like artificial tears to protect your eyes from drying out, particularly at night.
  • The position of your eyebrows immediately after surgery is a little higher than the end result but will settle within the first few months.
  • The primary risk related to brow lift surgery is decreased sensation in the forehead. This is most commonly only temporary and is related to stretching of or injury to nerves at the edge of the eye socket.
  • There is also a relatively low risk of damage to the nerves that move the forehead. This can lead to asymmetry in the forehead lines and the position of the eyebrows.
  • It is very rare but also possible to experience reduced hair density around the incision lines. This is more common in people with fine hair and can be improved by scar revision.

Summary

Anaesthesia
General anaesthesia

Hospital stay
1 night, or more if necessary

Removal of Stitches
7 - 10 days

Return to work
2 weeks

Full recovery
3 - 6 months

Patient testimonials

"I felt confident and comfortable about the procedure from my first consultation at the practice and have always found Margaret to be very reassuring and helpful."

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Your choice

Is cosmetic surgery right for you? As a practice dedicated exclusively to cosmetic surgery and headed by a highly experienced surgeon, we have the expertise and understanding to help you answer that question wisely.

This web site is intended to be a helpful starting point. You'll find answers to frequently asked questions, descriptions of the various procedures offered, information about the consulting surgeon who directs the practice and more. If you have additional questions, please fill in the Contact Form to arrange a private consultation with Mr Lucian Ion.

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Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Ltd and Mr Lucian Ion, FRCS (plast) have provided this cosmetic surgery website for informational purposes only. It is not intended for medical advice. For more information about cosmetic surgery in London, please contact Mr Lucian Ion for a cosmetic surgery consultation at our practice located in London, 129 Harley Street.