What is a brow lift?
A brow lift (or forehead lift) will resuspend the forehead in a higher, more youthful position. As you age, one of the problems that the human face encounters is dropping of the forehead and brow. Another advantage of a brow lift is to diminish the horizontal lines and wrinkles that typically give a person an angry, tired, or sad look.
The procedure itself is relatively straightforward and can be combined with other facial procedures such as face lift, eyelid lift (blepharoplasty), neck lift, chin or cheek augmentation, or laser resurfacing. Your consultation with Dr. Panossian is vital to tailoring the overall plan and approach used.
How is a brow lift performed?
Various techniques for lifting the brow currently exist. It is usually performed under general anesthesia and takes between 1.5-3 hours to complete. One way is to use a small camera (or, endoscope) through several small scalp incisions to visualize the area of the forehead. The muscles and deep tissues underneath the skin are then released and lifted to the desired position where they are anchored. Another technique uses two slightly longer incisions on either side of the forehead within the hair bearing scalp. This offers better visibility and can achieve a longer-lasting result in most cases. Each of these approaches has its advantages. In some cases, the frown muscles may need to be cut in order to create a more uniform lifting of the brow. This is similar to having “permanent Botox” for the lines that occur between the eyes. Dr. Panossian can explain these differences in greater detail during your consultation and direct you to the technique that is right for you.
What is the recovery?
Following surgery, Dr. Panossian may use a light head wrap. Sometimes a small thin drain tube is used to remove fluid that might accumulate. Dr. Panossian usually removes it within 24 hours in the office. At this point, patients can shower with shampoo and water. Care is taken not to rub on the forehead or the areas of the incisions within the scalp. Much of the general activity restrictions and return to work instructions are similar to having had a face lift (hyperlink), including avoidance of strenuous activities, exercise, and heavy lifting. Swelling usually subsides in 10-14 days. Most patients return to work 7-10 days following surgery. Dr. Panossian will prescribe pain medications ahead of time, and sometimes antibiotics. You may use makeup to conceal any bruising, if it persists. The incisions themselves may sometimes be numb or sensitive for several weeks.
What are the risks and complications?
In men, the eyebrow typically sits at the level of the lowest part of the forehead bone above the eyes. In women, the eyebrow tends to curve upwards slightly above this bone. One of the complications of a brow lift is related to overcorrection, giving an unusual surprised appearance to a woman or a feminizing appearance to a man. An experienced plastic surgeon recognizes this possibility and will pay special attention to positioning the brow at the time of surgery.
Additional risks include the possibility of blood accumulating underneath the skin (hematoma), infection, widened scar, nerve injury to muscles that move the eyebrows and wrinkle the forehead, and mild hair loss along the incisions.
All of these complications are infrequent and can be further minimized by paying close attention to Dr. Panossian’s pre- and postoperative instructions.