Having a forehead lift or "brow lift" can greatly improve the appearance of your face and make years disappear from the reflection in the mirror. Often performed alongside a face lift or in combination with eyelid surgery, a forehead lift restores drooping brows and reduces frown lines which can deepen over time and often present a perpetual illusion of anger or sadness.
The muscles in the forehead that cause that appearance are removed or shortened to smooth out the forehead and lift the eyebrows. The incision can be hidden just behind the hairline, or in some cases the surgeon will use an endoscope to greatly minimize the incisions. Even those patients who are bald or suffer from a receding hairline can be good candidates for brow lift. A good surgeon will find a way to hide or minimize incisions in such cases.
Most patients who opt for forehead lift are between 40 and 65, although patients of any age can benefit from the procedure. Some people with genetic characteristics that give them an appearance of frowning or sadness choose to have a brow lift to change that impression.
A classic forehead lift involves an incision from ear to ear in a straight line over the top of the head. If there is hair in the way of the incision line it may need to be trimmed. For those with a receding hairline issue, the incision can be made further back on the head. Once the incision is made, the skin is pulled away so the muscles can be trimmed. Excess skin is removed and the incision is closed with stitches or staples. Occasionally some bandages are used to protect the healing scars.
With an endoscopic forehead lift, three to five small incisions are made to provide access points for the endoscope. An endoscope is a small camera the provides a clear picture of the underlying muscles and tissue to the surgeon through a television. With another tool, the surgeon trims muscles and removes tissue while viewing the television. The eyebrows can be lifted and positioned higher on the face with this technique as well.
Side effects of forehead lift are minimal, but as with any surgical procedure, there can be complications. In some very rare cases, injury to the nerves behind the eyebrows can cause a reduction or loss of eyebrow movement. This complication may require additional surgery to correct the problem. Another odd complication occurring in some patients is a slight hair loss along the perimeter of the scar. Some patients lose sensation in that area as well, which may be either temporary or permanent.
Prior to surgery, a competent plastic surgeon will perform a complete evaluation of your facial and bone structure. You must disclose all of your medical conditions to the doctor at this time to prevent complications with surgery. If you smoke you will be asked to stop for one or two weeks prior to surgery. It is also sometimes helpful to have longer hair at the time of surgery to help hide the incisions.
Because the forehead lift procedure is fairly short and minimally invasive, it is commonly performed under local anesthesia. Some surgeons prefer to use general anesthesia. It is up to you to discuss these options with your surgeon to ensure maximum comfort during surgery. Following surgery, it is important to take good care of yourself to allow for fastest healing. Endoscopic face lift is normally an easier healing process than traditional face lift because of the less invasive nature of the procedure.