Definition, Benefits, and Risks
F oreheadorehead lift is one of the most recommended surgical procedures used to correct the aging skins and sagging of the eyebrows, upper eyelids, and forehead skin. Also, it can be used to improve the appearance of superficial forehead wrinkles and/or frown lines.
Figure 1 – Computer generated woman with horizontal forehead rhytids (the most common type).
What Is a Forehead Lift?
A forehead lift, also known as a brow lift and forehead rejuvenation is one of the most common cosmetic procedures that depend on raising the eyebrows. The main concept of the procedure is to raise the soft tissue and skin of the brows and forehead in order to improve the overall appearance of the forehead. (1)
People with low sagging brows or brow asymmetry can benefit from this procedure, which can help them to boost their confidence and self-esteem.
Forehead lift procedures can be done alone or as a part of several facial cosmetic procedures. It is usually done with blepharoplasty and/or facelift procedure. (2)
What Are the Benefits of Forehead Lift Procedures?
Aging affects the eyebrows and forehead area. While we age, the brows start to move down because the skin and soft tissues start to lose their elasticity. Over time, the distance between the eyelashes and eyebrows starts to shorten, which gives our old faces their unique appearances. (3)
Some old people look tired or sad all the time because of the new position of the eyebrows, even when they are not tired or sad.
A brow lift procedure can help you to restore your youthful appearance by raising your eyebrows. Most people restore a better, more pleasing appearance after recovering from the procedure. (4)
Also, you may consider a brow lift surgery if your low brow is making your sagging upper eyelids worse.
What Are the Risk of Forehead Lift Procedures?
Like any surgical procedure, there are some risks associated with forehead lift procedures (5) including:
- Scars: Visible scars can occur after forehead procedures.
- Skin Sensation Problems: Temporary or permanent numbness on the scalp or the forehead can occur.
- Brows’ Asymmetry: Asymmetry is possible after forehead lift procedures. If this occurred, an eyebrow will usually be higher than the other. In most cases, this asymmetry disappears during the healing process and after complete recovery. If the problem persists, additional surgery may be required to treat brow shape or position problems.
- Hair Issues: brow lift procedures can lead to hair loss or elevation of the hairline. These issues usually disappear during the healing process. However, if they persist, scar excision or hair grafting may be required to solve the issue.
brow lift procedure is considered major surgery. Therefore, risks such as bleeding, infection at the site of incision, or anesthesia complications are possible.
It is highly recommended to discuss all the risks with your surgeon before the procedure.
Figure 2 – Standardized anteroposterior views for preoperative, postoperative, and long-term follow-up. This patient underwent endoscopic brow lift 4 years previously. The hemifaces allow easier comparison of the brow heights.
How to Be Prepared for Forehead Lift Procedure?
First of all, you need to talk about the brow lift procedure with your surgeon from every aspect (6). Your surgeon will probably do the following during the first visit:
- Get Your Full Medical History: You should prepare answers to your surgeon’s questions about your medical history including your past and/or current medical conditions, medications, and surgeries you have had, and allergies.
- Perform a Complete Physical Examination: To be able to determine the best treatment options, your surgeon will do a complete physical examination including measuring your face with your eyes closed and open. In addition, your doctor should keep a copy of your medical record.
- Talk about Your Expectations: Your surgeon will ask you why you want to have a brow lift procedure and what you expect after the surgery regarding your overall appearance. Listen carefully and make sure you understand everything about the risks and benefits.
Before the procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
- Quit Smoking for a While: Smoking has negative effects on the skin, especially after procedures. It decreases the amount and rate of blood flow to your tissues and slows the healing process. Your surgeon will ask you to quit smoking before the procedure and during the recovery period.
- Avoid Certain Medications: Before the brow lift procedure, you should stop taking any medications that increase bleeding such as aspirin, herbal supplements, and anti-inflammatory medications.
- Make Sure to Arrange for Some Help During Your Recovery: After leaving the hospital, you will need someone to drive you home and stay with for at least the first 24 hours after the procedure. Arrange for help before the procedure.
Figure 3 – Preoperative frontal and oblique views of the patient (above). Images obtained at 4-month follow-up after endoscopic browlift and upper eyelid blepharoplasty (below).
What to Expect after the Forehead Lift Procedure?
Forehead lift procedures are done in hospitals under general anesthesia. The technique of the operation depends on what the patient wants. According to the technique, the incision sites and resulting scars will be determined. (7)
The most common technique used in the brow lift procedure is the endoscopic brow lift. The incisions will be done behind the hairline. Through one of these small incisions, an endoscope will be inserted to view the muscles and tissues under the skin. (8)
An instrument will be inserted through another incision to lift the forehead tissues and fix them with screws, sutures, or another way. After finishing, your surgeon will close the incisions using small clips or stitches. (9)
The brow lift procedure usually takes between one to two hours, depending on the type of the procedure and the surgeon’s level of experience. (10)
How Much Does a Forehead Lift Cost?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of brow lift surgeries is $3,900 to $4,000. This cost does not include several expenses such as the anesthesia fees, operating room, and other expenses.
It is essential to discuss the total price of the procedure with your surgeon before the operation.
The fee of the surgeon for a forehead procedure also varies depending on his / her level of experience, your location, and the type of brow lift procedure you are going to undergo.
Notice that in most cases, health insurance policies do not cover brow procedures or any of their complications. However, some surgeons provide their patients with good financing plans. Ask your surgeon if he/she offers such plans.
- Patel BC, Malhotra R. Mid Forehead Brow Lift. [Updated 2021 Sep 14]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535452/
- De Cordier BC, de la Torre JI, Al-Hakeem MS, Rosenberg LZ, Gardner PM, Costa-Ferreira A, Fix RJ, Vasconez LO. Endoscopic forehead lift: review of technique, cases, and complications. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2002 Nov;110(6):1558-68; discussion 1569-70. doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000029815.87106.CB. PMID: 12409778.
- Park DM. Total facelift: forehead lift, midface lift, and neck lift. Arch Plast Surg. 2015;42(2):111-125. doi:10.5999/aps.2015.42.2.111
- McKinney P, Mossie RD, Zukowski ML. Criteria for the forehead lift. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 1991 Spring;15(2):141-7. doi: 10.1007/BF02273847. PMID: 2035363.
- Patrocinio LG, Patrocinio JA. Forehead-lift: a 10-year review. Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2008 Nov-Dec;10(6):391-4. doi: 10.1001/archfaci.10.6.391. PMID: 19018059.
- Niamtu J 3rd. The subcutaneous brow- and forehead-lift: a face-lift for the forehead and brow. Dermatol Surg. 2008 Oct;34(10):1350-61; discussion 1362. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2008.34288.x. Epub 2008 Jul 3. PMID: 18627407.
- Dunn T, Hohman MH. Pretrichial Brow Lift. [Updated 2021 Aug 26]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK570632/
- Raggio BS, Winters R. Endoscopic Brow Lift. [Updated 2021 Sep 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545220/
- Karimi N, Kashkouli MB, Sianati H, Khademi B. Techniques of Eyebrow Lifting: A Narrative Review. J Ophthalmic Vis Res. 2020;15(2):218-235. Published 2020 Apr 6. doi:10.18502/jovr.v15i2.6740
- Kaye BL. The forehead lift: a useful adjunct to face lift and blepharoplasty. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1977 Aug;60(2):161-71. PMID: 887657.