Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the best candidates for a brow lift?
Although this procedure is best for people in their forties to sixties, it can help people with inherited conditions such as a droopy brow or furrowed lines above the nose. This procedure can be done alone or in conjunction with procedures such as a facelift, eyelid surgery, or reshaping of the nose.
What are the risks?
As with all surgical procedures, there are some risks. Your surgeon can discuss specific risks with you during your consultation. A few of the rare complications associated with brow lifts include injury of nerves that control eyebrow movement, hair loss along edges of the scar, bleeding and infection. You can minimize post surgery complications by following the directions provided by your surgeon.
What happens during the procedure?
There are two different methods of performing a brow lift.
During the classic brow lift, the surgeon makes an incision behind the hairline of the scalp from above the ear on one side to the same position on the other side. The entire forehead is lifted and some of the forehead muscles are interrupted to reduce wrinkling. The skin is then tightened, the excess is removed and the incision is closed. The stitches are removed in about a week, but it may take several weeks for the swelling to subside.
At SIUH we occasionally use a newer approach to this surgery called endoscopic brow lift. Rather than making one long incision, your surgeon will make three, four or five short scalp incisions, each less than an inch in length. A pencil-like camera device connected to a television monitor (endoscope) is inserted through one of the incisions, providing the surgeon with a clear view of the muscles and tissues beneath the skin. Using another instrument inserted through a different incision, the forehead skin is lifted and the muscles and underlying tissues are removed or altered to produce a smoother appearance. The eyebrows may also be lifted and secured into their higher position by stitches beneath the skin's surface or by temporary fixation screws placed behind the hairline. Alternatively, we can also use a hairline incision and perform a subcutaneous brow lift. This also elevates the brow. Furthermore, this procedure can be performed under local anesthesia.
When the lift is complete, the scalp incisions will be closed with stitches or clips and the area will be washed. Gauze and an elastic bandage may also be used, depending on your surgeon's preference.
How long do the results of this surgery last?
Recent advances in plastic surgery have made the brow lift a relatively simple procedure with results that last from 5 to 10 years or longer.
How will I feel after surgery?
After surgery, you might have some local numbness and itching of the forehead and scalp, weakness of the forehead muscles, but these symptoms are rarely permanent. Hair will not grow in the scar area.
Does a brow lift leave any visible scars?
For most patients, the incision will start at the level of your ears and run across the top of your forehead. By wearing your hair down on your forehead, most scars become relatively inconspicuous. If you are bald or balding, your surgeon may recommend a mid-scalp incision so the scar follows the natural junction of two bones in your skull.
Where will surgery take place?
Most often brow lifts are done on an outpatient basis in ambulatory surgery under local anesthesia (meaning that you are awake during the procedure). Some physicians and patients prefer to do the procedure under general anesthesia so you are asleep for the entire procedure.
What is the recovery time?
You should be up and about in one to two days. However, you should plan on taking it easy for a least a week following your surgery. As soon as your bandages are removed you should be able to shower and shampoo your hair - this usually takes place within one to two days as well. Most patients return to work within 7 to 10 days. Vigorous activities such a jogging, heavy housework, bending, or any activity that increases your blood pressure should be limited for several weeks. In addition, prolonged exposure to heat or sun needs to be limited for several months. Most visible signs of the surgery should fade within two to three weeks. Minor bruising can be almost immediately covered with special camouflage makeup. As with any surgery, it is normal to feel a bit tired after surgery. This will fade when you begin to look and feel better.