The forehead is often the area that shows the first signs of aging as the skin begins to lose elasticity. The effects of this are seen as folds, wrinkles, and drooping eyebrows, making one appear angry, sad, or tired. Forehead or Brow Lift surgery is a procedure designed to tighten the tissues that cause these angry, sad, or tired expressions on the face. It can raise the eyebrows and smooth out the forehead to minimize the frown lines.
Prior to Surgery
A complete medical history and a careful examination will be done in the initial preoperative visit to determine the general health of the patient. The surgeon will evaluate the extent of surgery and the approach needed to achieve the desired result. He or she may also recommend other procedures that may be needed in addition to the forehead lift to achieve that result, such as a chemical peel. Photographs will be taken before and after surgery to evaluate the extent of improvement. Moreover, the surgeon will discuss the procedure, realistic expected results, type of anesthesia to be used, and possible risks of surgery. Preoperative instructions generally include taking certain vitamins and elimination of certain drugs to minimize the possibility of excess bleeding. Antibiotics may be prescribed for the days prior to surgery in order to prevent infection. A patient with short hair may also be advised to grow the hair out to better hide scars.
A forehead lift procedure is done as an outpatient using either a local anesthetic injected above the eyebrows, a general anesthetic, or IV sedation. The entire procedure can take one to two hours. Incisions are made from one ear to the next, slightly behind or at the hairline to minimize visibility of scars. The forehead skin is then lifted up and excess skin is removed before small sutures or staples are used to close the incision. The surgery can also be done endoscopically by a trained surgeon to greatly minimize the amount of incisions. The endoscope is used to help remove muscles involved in frown lines from small incisions in the head. Bandages may be placed on the sutured incisions.
Swelling, bruising, and some discomfort are normal in the days following surgery, however, cold compresses, elevating the head, and pain medication will help alleviate these. Some may also experience itching and numbness of the skin which will diminish with time. Bandages, if used, are removed within two days and sutures or staples are removed within a week. Recovery time averages about two weeks, however, strenuous activity cannot be resumed until advised by the physician.
Complications are rare with a forehead lift, although there are risks with any surgical procedure. In rare cases, nerves controlling eyebrow movement can be injured impairing movement of eyebrows or raising the forehead. Formation of a broad, visible, scar can also occur. Both of these complications can be repaired with further surgery. Risks can be minimized by carefully following the physician’s advice.