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Brow Lift Surgery and Recovery Explained

What is Brow Lift Surgery? A brow lift, also sometimes called a forehead lift, is a surgical procedure designed to reduce wrinkles and lines and lift the eyebrows. Forehead or brow lift surgery improves frown lines, raises sagging eyebrows, and places the eyebrows in a more youthful position. During brow lift surgery, the plastic surgeon […]

What is Brow Lift Surgery?

A brow lift, also sometimes called a forehead lift, is a surgical procedure designed to reduce wrinkles and lines and lift the eyebrows. Forehead or brow lift surgery improves frown lines, raises sagging eyebrows, and places the eyebrows in a more youthful position.

During brow lift surgery, the plastic surgeon tightens the skin on the forehead resulting in the removal of wrinkles, excessive skin, furrows, and lines.

Chronically sad eyes and a tired or grouchy cast to the upper face, which have nothing to do with a patient’s real feelings, can create an older and forbidding appearance. With brow lift surgery the patient’s facial expression can be made significantly lighter and more youthful.

Who is a Good Candidate for Brow Lift Surgery?

If you look in the mirror and see a face that does not reflect how you truly feel; that doesn’t correctly portray your emotions and outlook on life, you may be a perfect candidate for brow lift surgery.

The upper part of the face, including the eyes, eyebrows, and forehead play in important role in life’s communications. When a sagging and heavy brow, or tired eyes and forehead lines give the erroneous impression of anger, worry, sadness, sternness, or exhaustion, a brow lift might be the answer.

How is a Brow Lift Procedure Performed?

Brow lift surgeries are done in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility. Normally, patients are put under a general anesthetic or a sedation anesthesia during the procedure. The particular brow lift technique chosen by your plastic surgeon will vary depending on the particular situation and desired results.

Your plastic surgeon will probably perform one of the following brow lift procedures:

The “classic” or “coronal” brow lift

With the classic or coronal brow lift procedure (sometimes referred to as an open brow lift) your plastic surgeon will make an incision across the top of your head, behind your hairline. Next, he will lift your forehead into its new and lifted position. The scalp is then sewn back together. This is not normally the procedure of choice for people who have high hairlines, thinning hair or are likely to lose their hair.

Endoscopic brow lift

During the endoscopic brow lift, your plastic surgeon makes several small incisions behind your hairline. Then he will insert a long, thin tube that has a tiny light and a camera at its end. Another surgical instrument is inserted through a different, nearby incision. Through that incision, your surgeon will lift the forehead tissues and hold them in place with sutures or tiny screws. The incisions are then closed with stitches or small clips.

Limited incision brow lift

A limited incision brow lift uses slightly longer incision than an endoscopic lift. Incisions about 1 inch long are made behind the hairline, just above each temple. Through these incisions, the plastic surgeon will lift and reposition the tissues of the outer brow area. If eyelid surgery is being done at the same time, the plastic surgeon will make an incision through which he performs the upper eyelid procedure. Finally, the area between the eyebrows is lifted and frown lines smoothed out.

Lateral subcutaneous brow lift

It has been found that, in certain situations, the lateral subcutaneous brow lift is a viable alternative to either endoscopic or classic brow lift techniques. The subcutaneous surgery offers stable brow and forehead rejuvenation while being less invasive than either of the other two techniques. This is a simple in-office procedure that effectively addresses the brow, without the same amount of recovery time.

Brow lift surgery typically takes about two hours.

What Should I Expect after Brow Lift Surgery?

The length of time it takes to recover from brow lift surgery will vary depending on the type of procedure that’s been performed and your body’s recovery ability. However, here is what you can like expect during the time following your brow lift.

Whether you have had a classic (open) brow lift or an endoscopic lift, you will have stitches or staples holding together the incision. These will need to be removed in about a week.

If your surgeon has inserted temporary fixation screws beneath the hairline, to hold the elevated brow in place, these will be removed in about 2 weeks.

Discomfort following surgery

You will likely have some swelling and bruising, which can affect other parts of your face such as the eyes and cheeks. This can last for about a week.

Most patients experience some numbness, discomfort, and itching as the anesthetic wears off and for some days following. Your plastic surgeon can prescribe a painkiller to be taken as needed. Although the pain and discomfort go away rather quickly, itching and tingling can last for many months.

In the two to three days following surgery, patients should keep their head elevated to help alleviate swelling and gently apply ice packs as needed.

Take care of yourself in recovery

Most patients are able to go back to school or work within 7-10 days following their surgery; some even sooner. As with most surgical procedures, it’s important that you take care of yourself and avoid heavy lifting and vigorous physical activity for the first few weeks of your recovery.

Although these are unlikely, possible complications can include scarring, infection or numbness around the surgical site, and difficulties with eyebrow movement.

Results of brow lift surgery

Performed by an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Ganchi, the results of your brow lift surgery will last for years. Although nothing can stop the advancement of age and the toll of gravity, you can help keep your results looking their best by living a healthy lifestyle.

Exercise, eat well and don’t smoke and you’ll have your beautiful brow lift results for many, many years.

What about Dermal Fillers and Botox as Brow Lift Options?

Some patients ask about the non-surgical options for a brow lift. Botox and dermal fillers can be used in a clinical setting for a temporary fix.

Dermal Fillers

These fillers, injected into the forehead are an effective non-surgical way of rejuvenating the face. In fact, dermal fillers have been called a liquid facelift or liquid brow lift. These fillers contain hyaluronic acid which, when injected into precisely targeted areas of the face, adds volume to the skin. The technician must evenly place the injections and carefully massage the brow.

The effects of dermal fillers last 9 to 12 months.


Botox is another non-surgical treatment to smooth the wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes. Over time, the repeated contracting of facial muscles in smiling, frowning, squinting, and dozens of other expressions, creates permanent lines. Botox works directly on these muscles, weakening them, thus making them relax which then smooths the lines away.

The effect of Botox, like dermal fillers, is temporary, lasting for about 3-4 months. Neither Botox nor dermal fillers can make all the changes that can be made with brow lift surgery, nor do they last as long.

If you’re thinking of getting a brow lift to rejuvenate for your face, schedule an appointment and we’ll discuss your personal brow lift options. We’d love to see you.

This information is for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Any change in your medical care should be first discussed with your physician.