Essentially aimed at smoothing out frown lines on the forehead, a brow lift is a cosmetic surgery procedure that can also help to lift drooping or hooded eyebrows, open up the eyes and smooth loose facial skin to produce a more youthful appearance. Brow lifts are becoming an increasingly popular cosmetic surgery procedure and are often done in conjunction with a face-lift or blepharoplasty to create a more lasting and dramatic effect. However, a brow lift can also be a very effective stand-alone treatment, with new advanced techniques such as the endoscopic brow lift offering a quick and painless procedure with minimal recovery time.
Although the majority of brow lift patients are between the ages of 40 and 60, there are many younger people who see brow lift surgery as a viable option if they are experiencing signs of premature ageing. The procedure can provide effective treatment for drooping brows, angry, or tired appearance, horizontal lines across the forehead, deep furrows between the brows and heavy upper eyelids.
Ideal patients for brow lifts have a good general health and are seeking a solution to unwanted furrows and deep forehead lines. There may be some medical reasons that would not make you suitable for a brow lift, including a history of keloid scarring, however the best way to discover if you are a suitable candidate is to book a consultation with a brow-lift surgeon.
As with any cosmetic surgery procedure there are risks associated with brow lift surgery, although it is generally a very safe procedure and complications are rare. Most of the side effects are temporary and could include scarring, bruising, hematoma (a build-up of blood under the skin), problems with skin healing and reaction to the anaesthesia. There is also a low risk of nerve damage resulting in permanent loss of sensation is parts of the face. Infection can occur with any type of surgery. It usually happens within one to six weeks of surgery.
In the majority of cases an infection can just be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms of infection include fever as well as severe tenderness, redness, and swelling. Some patients may not be able to move their eyebrows or forehead or may have asymmetrical brows. Additional surgery may correct this problem. Permanent lack of sensation at the incision line and hair loss within the scar area may occur but this is rare. Hair Loss is usually associated with the more conventional method and in most cases is temporary but can be permanent.
It is important that you talk to your cosmetic surgeon about the possible risks and complications in your initial consultation.
A brow lift can either be performed in an outpatient medical facility or a hospital. Depending on what type of procedure you have a brow lift can usually be performed under local anesthetic, although occasionally general anesthesia is recommended. The procedure can take between one to two hours, and does not usually require an overnight stay.
How the procedure is performed and where the incisions are placed will depend on the type of brow lift surgery you are having. There are two types of brow lift technique: endoscopic and traditional or ‘open’.
Endoscopic Brow Lift
An endoscopic brow lift raises the eyebrow line and smooths wrinkles without removing much skin. During an endoscopic brow lift, the surgeon utilizes an endoscope, a tool that acts as a visual guide during surgery. By using the method, the surgeon is able to make smaller incisions in the scalp. The surgeon inserts the endoscopic instrument to produce a visual map of the inside of the forehead and eyebrows before inserting another instrument into the other incisions to lift the skin and to remove excess fat, muscle, or skin on the forehead and eyebrows. Advantages of this technique are that it can be performed without the need for general anesthetic and has a quicker recovery time with reduced bruising and less scarring. It is also a good method for people who require more minimal facial rejuvenation.
Traditional Brow Lift
Traditional brow-lift surgery is performed by making one long incision across the forehead from ear to ear. The incision is usually hidden in the hairline to reduce the risk of visible scarring. The surgeon then lifts the forehead skin to enable him/her to work on the underlying muscles. The eyebrows can be lifted and the forehead muscles can be tightened. Excess skin can also be removed before the surgeon stitches the skin back into place and closes the incision. Due to the relatively larger size of the initial incision and the removal of additional skin, this technique results in more scarring and requires a longer period of recovery to heal.
With both brow-lift techniques, surgeons may utilize permanent fixation devices for long lasting results. Endoscopic brow lift procedures tend to encompass these methods of long term fixation more often than the traditional brow lift procedure.
Depending on the type of brow lift you have you may need to stay overnight in hospital. After your surgery you may feel drowsy from the anesthetic so it is important to arrange for someone to take you home and look after you for a couple of days.
Your forehead will be bandaged to help reduce swelling and bruising. You will experience some postoperative swelling, numbness, and itching or lack of sensation at the incision line. You may also experience headaches. Pain medication can be taken to make you feel more comfortable.
Your surgeon may advise you to sleep upright for a couple of nights after your surgery to minimize swelling. You should take it easy and avoid strenuous activities for at least two weeks after surgery. Most people return to normal activities a week after having a traditional brow lift but this can be sooner with an endoscopic brow lift.
To ensure a speedy recovery make sure you follow your surgeon’s instructions closely during this healing period. Contact your surgeon immediately if you notice any signs of infection or if you experience bleeding or a sudden increase in pain.
Before making the decision to have a brow lift, you should find out as much information as possible about the procedure, the surgeon and hospital you are being treated at. Always discuss the procedure with your clinic or hospital first and then go away and think about it before making your decision.
You should also have a consultation of at least an hour with your surgeon before going ahead. Do not be afraid to ask any questions and make sure all of your concerns are addressed before you sign on the dotted line. It is also a good idea to ask the surgeon if you can see before and after pictures of the previous work so you can see what results they have achieved with other patients
The most important thing is to make an informed decision that you feel confident about. During your consultation your surgeon should take a thorough medical history and give you a consent form to sign to make sure you fully understand the possible risks and complications. It is very important that you read this form carefully. It is also important to make sure your surgeon is aware of any medical conditions you may be suffering from as these may preclude you from having surgery. You should also inform your GP about having the surgery in case there are any problems later on. After examining you your surgeon will explain your options and recommend what type of brow lift you may need to achieve the best result.
It is advisable to wash your hair thoroughly the day before your surgery to minimize the risk of infection and make sure you get a good night’s sleep. You should also not drink any alcohol before having surgery.