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The Facts About Brow Lifts

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 16 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Cosmetic Surgery Brow Lift Brow Lift

Brow lifts, also known as forehead lifts, can be used to reverse the signs of ageing on the forehead and brow. It is a form of cosmetic surgery which corrects any sagging of the forehead skin, as well as the upper eyelids and eyebrows.

It is a good option for those frustrated with a sagging brow or who dislike the frown lines and other creases that develop on the forehead and high on the bridge of the nose, as part of ageing. As well as treating these areas, brow lifts can give you a more alert, youthful and even more approachable expression.

Types of Brow Lift

Brow lifts can be done in two ways:

  • Classic Lift (also known as the Coronal Lift) – this uses one continuous incision that travels from ear to ear, following your hairline, so that the scar is hidden.
  • Endoscopic Lift – this is done using several smaller incisions in the scalp, through which a small camera on the end of a tube, called a scope, is inserted, allowing the surgeon to view the muscles and tissues within. The surgeon will also insert another surgical device into the incisions which will allow him/her to make the necessary alterations to the tissues. Overall, this procedure is less invasive because it uses smaller incisions and therefore, it has a shorter recovery time as well as minimal scarring.

Once the procedure is completed, the surgeon will close all incisions with staples or stitches and then bandage your face. Brow lift surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, either in a hospital or a surgeon’s clinic.

It normally takes about 2 hours and you will rarely need to stay overnight. It is advisable to have a friend or relative drive you home following the surgery and to stay with you for the first couple of nights. Local anaesthetic is usually used but you can ask for a general anaesthetic (to be put to sleep) if you prefer.

Preparing For Brow Lift Surgery

It is important to discuss your medical history in detail with your surgeon to assess your risks for cosmetic surgery and any contraindications. Any previous anti-ageing and cosmetic surgery treatments should be mentioned, as well as any current medical conditions and medications you are taking. Not only will this affect your risks and recovery, it may also alter how your surgeon manages your cosmetic surgery.

During the initial consultation, the surgeon will evaluate the entire area of your forehead, including asking you to portray a variety of facial expressions, and discuss your goals and expectations. Prior to cosmetic surgery, it is important to make some lifestyle adjustments – for example, such as stopping smoking and avoiding alcohol and certain medications, especially aspirin (which can encourage bleeding) and anti-inflammatory drugs.

You may also have to trim your hair if it is especially long ad likely to hamper the cosmetic procedure. Alternatively, if you normally have short hair, you may have to consider growing it longer to hide any scars which may develop.

Post Surgery Care

It is normal to experience swelling and bruising, not only on the forehead but also in other parts of your face, such as your eyes and cheeks, in the days following the brow lift. The swelling should subside within a week and it helps to keep your head elevated, especially in the 2 days straight after surgery. Applying ice packs can also help.

If you had a classic (coronal) brow lift, you will probably experience more pain during recovery and it is likely that your surgeon will have prescribed painkillers for you to take. You can also experience itching which can last for several months. If you had an endoscopic brow lift, you may experience less pain although you may still be offered pain killers. You will also experience itching although this is usually milder than after the classic brow lift.

In both cases, the stitches or staples will have to be removed about a week after the cosmetic surgery. You may also feel tingling or numbness, regardless of which method you opted for, and this will gradually subside over time. In general, you can return to work within 10 days, depending on your personal recovery rate and also the procedure you had.

Make sure you avoid lifting any heavy objects and any vigorous exercise or activity for the first few weeks and watch out for the signs of complications: these include infection, scarring, loss of sensation and complications with eyebrow movement. While rare, these can occur. Look out also for any signs of fever and excessive swelling or bleeding – contact your doctor immediately if this should happen.

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