What is it?
A brow lift serves to improve the appearance of the forehead, eyebrows, and upper eyelids. With age, we not only form wrinkles on the forehead, but the tissues also start to sag and descend. This can cause the eyebrows to appear lower on the face, and can age the eyes by making the upper eyelids look puffy or like they have extra skin. Often people will mistakenly think that they need surgery on their upper eyelids when, in fact, they need repositioning of their brow, or a combination of the two. Patients will often compensate for this problem by actively raising their eyebrows to lift the excess skin falling into their eyes. This can further intensify wrinkles of the forehead. For a brow lift in Houston, visit Lift Plastic Surgery.
What happens during surgery?
A brow lift can be performed by several techniques depending on the problem and the patient’s anatomy. Of these, the endoscopic brow lift is the most common. The procedure involves 2-4 small incisions within the hairline. Then, using a camera and long instruments, the forehead and eyebrows are carefully lifted off of the underlying bone so that they can be repositioned in a higher location. Within the first few weeks, until the tissue heals in its new position, it is held in place with either sutures, absorbable hooks anchored in the bone, or screws. Screws and sutures are later removed quickly and easily in the office. Another goal of the surgery is to disrupt the muscles that cause wrinkles of the lower forehead in between the eyebrows. This smooths the forehead and prevents new wrinkles from forming. Less commonly, if a patient has a long forehead and would benefit by moving the hairline down, a similar procedure can be performed through an incision at the hairline. As the forehead is repositioned, extra skin is then removed. A direct brow lift can also be performed by removing skin right above the eyebrow, leaving a thin scar in the area. This may be more desirable for a male patient who has thinning hair and wishes to avoid more prominent scars on the head itself.
What will my recovery be like?
After surgery, you should expect swelling of the forehead and upper eyes, possibly with bruising of the upper eyes and swelling of the rest of the face. This will be significantly improved after a week, but may take several weeks to completely resolve. You will also need to minimize exercise or vigorous activity for 4-6 weeks after surgery to allow for proper healing and to prevent bleeding and worsening of swelling. You should plan for activities accordingly. A compression garment worn for 4-6 weeks helps to decrease swelling and improve overall results. Depending on the techniques used, sutures, staples, or screws are typically removed in the office at 7-10 days after surgery. You may shower after surgery, and we ask you apply ointment to your incisions twice daily.
What are the risks?
Though rare, it is possible to have injury to the nerves that control movement of the forehead during a forehead lift procedure. Usually this is due to stretching of the nerve which causes a temporary irritation which will completely resolve. However, it will often take several months to do so. Very rarely, injury can be permanent.