With age, the skin on our forehead and above our eyebrows begins to sag. Beyond being unattractive, this phenomenon can make people you interact with think you’re perpetually tired, sad, even angry. And if the sagging becomes extreme enough, it can interfere with your vision. A brow lift with the Elite Plastic Surgery team addresses this sagging and gives your face a younger, more energetic look.
What is a Brow Lift?
A brow lift focuses on the forehead and the brows to restore a more youthful, refreshed look. The procedure removes or alters the muscles above the eyes to correct drooping brows and improve the horizontal lines and furrows that can make a person appear angry, sad or tired.
Would a Brow Lift help me?
Brow lift patients usually are between the ages of 40 and 60 and have sagging brows and aging forehead skin. The goal of the procedure is to elevate the brows and erase the lines and creases on the forehead. If you’re unsure if a brow lift could benefit you, there’s an easy way to see its potential effects. Stand in front of a mirror and take the lower palms of your hands and place them just above the eyebrows on each side of your head. Now pull those palms up and away from your eyes. What you see is basically what a brow lift will accomplish.
How are Brow Lifts done?
There are two options for a brow lift, depending on your personal situation.
- Coronal brow lift — This is also known as the “traditional” brow lift. It involves a single coronal (think of it as the shape of a pair of headphones) incision that runs from one ear, wraps up around the forehead, and terminates at the other ear. This incision is hidden within the hairline. The forehead skin is lifted away and underlying muscles are trimmed and repositioned as appropriate. If necessary, the eyebrows may be lifted. The final step is to trim excess skin. Then the skin in re-draped and the incision is closed.
- Endoscopic brow lift — Thanks to continuing improvements in technology, the endoscopic brow lift is becoming the method of choice. In this method, three to five short incisions are made within the hairline. An endoscope, a tiny instrument with a camera on the end, is inserted into one of the incisions. This provides excellent visuals of the area to be addressed without the need for the longer coronal incision. Tools are inserted into the other small incisions to manipulate the skin and muscles. As you would expect, there is very little scarring with this method.
What is recovery from Brow Lift surgery like?
There will be swelling and bruising after your brow lift, and this can migrate down into your cheeks and around your eyes. While unpleasant, this should run its course in a week to 10 days. For the first two or three days after your surgery, you’ll need to keep your head elevated, even while sleeping.
Traditional brow lifts involve more numbness and discomfort along the incision. Initial numbness will be replaced by itching that can last up to six months. Often, the hair near the incision will fall out or thin, but normal hair growth should return within weeks or a few months.
Endoscopic brow lifts will also involve some numbness due to the tissue manipulation, but there is far less itching than traditional methods.
Most patients can return to work within 10 days, but heavy lifting and vigorous exercise will need to wait for around one month.
See What Our Patients Are Saying!
Dr. Cullen did an amazing job with helping me be able to breathe again! He listened, acknowledged what I was looking for, and discussed all possibilities. Michelle, Dr. Cullen’s nurse is a sweetheart, and always provided information when I had questions, no matter how dumb I thought my questions were!! – K.J.
How long do the results of a Brow Lift last?
Like any cosmetic procedure, a brow lift has permanent affects but it can’t halt the ongoing processes of aging. The goal in a brow lift is to give permanent improvement to the transverse lines and frown lines of the forehead. Aspects of a brow lift will remain. For instance, forehead lines will never again be as severe. But the brows will continue to descend with aging. The average brow lift patient can expect the effects of the procedure to visibly last from 10-12 years.
Brow Lift Before and After
*Individual results may vary
Are there alternative treatments to a surgical Brow Lift?
A brow lift is the only surgical option for this area of the face. But there are non-surgical options. These are neuromodulators such as Botox, and dermal fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane. Neuromodulators are used to relax the brow depressor muscles, allowing the brow to rise. Dermal fillers can then raise the brow and add volume to deflated areas of the brow and temple area.
Is a Brow Lift Painful?
Brow lift procedures are performed with appropriate anesthesia. A coronal brow lift may involve IV sedation or general anesthesia. An endoscopic brow lift, due to shorter incisions, is often performed with a local anesthetic and mild sedation. Both forms of anesthesia numb the forehead and scalp, allowing patients to undergo the procedure without any pain. After the anesthesia wears off, expect soreness and tenderness to develop. The surgical area may also feel tight. To ensure that pain does not worsen, it is very important that you take your pain medication as prescribed. Regular use of the prescribed pain medication can significantly improve comfort during the first week of recovery. After that time, it may be possible to switch to an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Are There Any Risks to a Brow Lift?
The brow lift, when performed by a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon, is considered a safe and effective way to rejuvenate the face. Our team has years of training and experience that guide the performance of their procedures. According to one systemic review, less than 2% of patients who underwent an endoscopic brow lift experienced complications. Those that were identified included minor hair loss in the incision area and asymmetry. As a surgical procedure, the brow lift carries risks for:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Prolonged numbness or tingling
- Poor healing
In addition to choosing an experienced plastic surgeon, you can reduce the risks associated with a brow lift by following the pre- and post-operative instructions provided to you by the office.
How Can I Prepare?
Brow lift surgery carries relatively few risks. However, there are steps that you can take prior to surgery to maximize your treatment outcome.
- Diet and exercise. A brow lift is a type of facial rejuvenation. However, diet and exercise are important pre-surgical habits because they build the body’s healing capacity. Before surgery, it is beneficial to reduce the intake of salt and increase the intake of whole, fresh foods like lean proteins, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and citrus fruits. Exercise before surgery supports the body’s circulation and metabolism, which will help flush the anesthesia from the body after surgery.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption. Smoking inhibits circulation and the oxygenation of tissue. If you smoke before surgery, your risk of complications is much higher and your chances of poor wound healing increase. Alcohol thins the blood, so should be avoided the week before surgery as well as during recovery.
- Talk to your doctor about all medications and supplements. It is imperative that we minimize the risks of bleeding and bruising starting before surgery. Your pre-op instructions may provide a comprehensive list of medications and supplements to avoid. Examples include aspirin, fish oil, and Ginko Biloba. If you have questions about a medication or supplement, contact the office.
- Arrange adequate aftercare. Before surgery, arrange to have a loved one bring you to the office or surgery center and return you home. It is helpful to have someone stay with you for the first 24 to 48 hours after your procedure to assist with moving as needed and to keep you on track with your pain medication. Arranging for aftercare also involves having your prescriptions filled and picking up any medical supplies you may need as outlined in your post-op instructions.
Can I Combine a Brow Lift with Other Procedures?
Yes. Brow lift surgery can be combined with various other types of facial rejuvenation. The most common combination is a brow lift and blepharoplasty. The eyelid rejuvenation procedure in conjunction with a brow lift can correct more severe signs of aging. Some patients combine their brow lift with a facelift. After surgery, it is possible to enhance facial rejuvenation with non-surgical options as well. In our Grand Rapids office, we offer a number of services that may compliment a brow lift, including laser skin rejuvenation and chemical peel treatments for smoother, more radiant skin. Your doctor can work with you to personalize your treatment plan.
How Long Does It Take for Brow Lift to Settle?
The brows can look slightly elevated for the first few weeks of recovery. As swelling subsides and tissue relaxes somewhat, the elevation of the brows will gradually settle into their intended position near the upper orbital rim. By four to six weeks post-op, most of the swelling and bruising are gone, but the brows may continue to settle ever-so-slightly for up to six months.
Schedule a Consultation
If you think you may need a brow lift and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons to learn more information on the procedure, call (616) 459-1907 to schedule a consultation. You can also click here to send us an email contact form, and our staff will get back to you at the earliest. Elite Plastic Surgery serves Grand Rapids, Byron Center, and surrounding areas in Michigan.