Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
A brow lift, also known as a forehead lift, is a surgical procedure that corrects a sagging or deeply furrowed brow. The procedure is often performed to reduce the creases, or ‘frown lines’, that develop across the forehead and on the bridge of the nose. It can also raise the eyebrows to a more alert and youthful position.
The aim of a brow lift is to improve facial appearance and reduce the signs of ageing by:
- Elevating the brow into a preferred position
- Smoothing out forehead wrinkles
- Lessening frown lines that develop between the eyes near the nose
Non-surgical treatments, such as
chemical skin peel, dermabrasion
or skin resurfacing of the face, may also be undertaken at the same time as the brow lift. The aim of these treatments is to treat sun-damaged skin and crow’s feet around the eyes, which are not removed by brow lift surgery.
Brow lift surgery is a highly individualised procedure and may not be suitable for everyone. Always talk to your Specialist Plastic Surgeon before making a decision. Your surgeon will assess your condition and general health, and plan the treatment that is best suited to you.
Before you decide on a brow lift, there are some important issues to keep in mind:
- If you are most concerned about the area around your eyes, eyelid surgery may be more appropriate than a brow lift or may be combined with a brow lift. Discuss your options with your surgeon
- Brow lift surgery does not “stop the clock” of ageing. The normal ageing process will continue after the surgery. Any major changes in lifestyle, including your weight, after surgery could affect how you look
- Smokers are at increased risk of complications from any surgery. If you are serious about undergoing cosmetic surgery, you should quit smoking
Brow lift surgery may not be a good option for you if you are:
- Not able to have an anaesthetic
- Prone to bleeding tendencies or have poor healing ability
- Too high risk of having surgical complications
Brow lift surgery may be a good option for you if:
- You have sagging of your eyebrows
- You have deep creases in your forehead
- You have crows feet or deep frown lines at the root of your nose
- You are physically healthy and you do not have medical conditions that can impair healing or increase risk of surgery
- You have realistic expectations of what brow lift surgery can accomplish
- You are a non-smoker or have stopped smoking
Modern surgery is generally safe but does have the potential for risks and complications to occur.
Some general risks and complications of surgery may include:
- Heavy bleeding from an operated site
- Infection that may require treatment with antibiotics or further surgery in some cases
- Allergic reaction to sutures, dressings or antiseptic solutions
- Pain, bruising and swelling around the operated site(s)
- Keloids and hypertrophic scars that are raised, red and thickened scars. These scars may form over the healed incisions. They may be itchy, annoying and unsightly but are not a threat to health
- Short-term nausea following general anaesthesia and other risks related to anaesthesia
Specific risks and complications associated with brow lift surgery include:
- Bruising and swelling
- Temporary numbness at operated site(s) and/or nerve damage resulting in permanent numbness at operated site(s)
- Numbness may be replaced by intense itchiness, which typically resolves within several months as nerves heal
- No movement or poor movement of the forehead muscles in the first days after surgery
- In rare cases, permanent injury to the nerves that control eyebrow movement can result in asymmetry of the eyebrows. Revisional surgery may be necessary to improve appearance
- The hairline may raise slightly
- Temporary hair loss may occur near the treated area
- Hair thinning or loss may appear next to the line of incision
- Revisional surgery may be necessary to correct complications.
Depending upon your general health and the extent of the procedure, brow lift surgery can be performed either as a day case or alternatively with a short hospital stay. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will advise on the best option for you.
Before undergoing surgery, it is important that you:
- Be as fit as possible to help the recovery process
- Check with your surgeon about your medications as some may need to be stopped
- Stop smoking
You will also be asked to provide a complete medical history for your Specialist Plastic Surgeon including any health problems you have had, any medication you are taking or have taken, and any allergies you may have.
You may be advised to stop taking certain medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and medicines that contain aspirin. You may also be asked to stop taking naturopathic substances such as garlic, ginkgo, ginseng and St John’s Wort as they may affect clotting and anaesthesia. Always tell your surgeon EVERYTHING you are taking.
Unless your surgeon advises differently, you will be able to continue taking most medicines that you have been taking.
Your surgeon will also advise you if any other tests are required, such as blood tests, X-ray examinations or an Electrocardiograph (ECG) to assess your heart.
If you decide to have brow lift surgery, your surgeon will ask you to sign a consent form. Make sure you read the consent form carefully before signing. If you have any questions, ask your surgeon.
Prepare a “recovery area” in your home. This may include pillows, ice packs, a thermometer and a telephone within easy reach. Make sure you arrange for a relative or friend to drive you to and from the hospital or clinic. Someone should also stay with you for at least 24 hours after you return home.
Your surgeon should give detailed preoperative instructions. Follow them carefully.
You can usually drink fluids and eat a light meal within two or three hours after surgery. You may have some pain and discomfort, particularly around the incisions. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will prescribe pain medication as required.
Some bruising and swelling is normal, and may take up to a few weeks to disappear. Sleeping with your head elevated will help to reduce the swelling. You may also experience some numbness of the scalp behind the scar, which is normal and usually permanent.
In some cases, a small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect.
Depending on the extent of your procedure, you may need to take a few days off work to rest. Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, swimming and strenuous sports until advised by your surgeon.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, notify your surgeon immediate:
- Temperature higher than 38°C or chills
- Heavy bleeding from the incisions
- Worsening redness around the incision sites
- Increasing pain or tenderness, or other problems that appear to be worsening
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on post-operative care. These instructions may include:
- How to care for your surgical site(s) following surgery
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site(s) or in your general health
- When to follow-up with your surgeon
Be sure to ask your surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period, such as:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery? If so, when will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When will they be removed?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
Scars are an inevitable part of any invasive surgery. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will endeavour to minimise scarring and to keep your scars as inconspicuous as possible by locating the incisions in easily hidden sites. That way, scars will be along natural skin lines and creases. Scars may fade with time and become barely noticeable. If you are prone to scarring, you should advise your surgeon.
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Prices for a tummy tuck can vary widely between Specialist Plastic Surgeons. Some factors that may influence the cost include the surgeon’s experience, the type of procedure used and the geographic location of the office.
Costs associated with the procedure may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anaesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Post-surgery garments
- Medical tests
Your surgeon should welcome any questions you may have regarding fees.
- Endoscope: A surgical video device sometimes used during brow lift procedures
- General anaesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness
- Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin
- Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to achieve relaxation.
- Local anaesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain
- Skin resurfacing: Treatment to improve the texture, clarity and overall appearance of your skin
- Sutures: Stitches used by surgeons to hold skin and tissue together
Visit the Plastic Surgery Glossary for more medical terms.
This website is intended to provide you with general information only. This information is not a substitute for advice from your Specialist Plastic Surgeon and does not contain all the known facts about this procedure or every possible side effect of surgery. It is important that you speak to your surgeon before deciding to undergo surgery. If you are not sure about the benefits, risks and limitations of treatment, or anything else relating to your procedure, ask your surgeon to explain. Patient information provided as part of this website is evidence-based, and sourced from a range of reputable information providers including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Better Health Channel and Mi-tec medical publishing.