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Forehead lift (Browlift)

The effects of ageing are inevitable, and often, the brow and forehead area show the first signs. Sun, wind and the pull of gravity all affect the face, resulting in frown lines, horizontal creases across the forehead and increasing heaviness of the eyebrows, creating a sad or tired appearance.


General anesthesia

Hospital stay
Day case or 1 night stay

Return to work
7-10 days

Full recovery
4-6 weeks

Brow Lift

What is a forehead or brow lift?

A forehead lift or browlift is a procedure that restores a more youthful, refreshed look to the area above the eyes. The procedure corrects drooping brows and improves the horizontal lines and furrows. It can be performed alone or more commonly in conjunction with other procedures, such as a facelift or a blepharoplasty, to achieve a more harmonious facial appearance.

Am I suitable for a forehead lift?

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A forehead lift is most commonly performed in the 40-60 age range to improve the visible effects of ageing in the upper third of the face. It can however help people of any age who have developed furrows or frown lines, or low, heavy brows. To see what a forehead lift can do for your face, put your hands above your brows and outside the edges of your eyes and gently raise the skin upwards.

How is a forehead lift performed?

There is a number is surgical approaches to a forehead lift and each one is suited for a particular type of problem. Most of the procedures are performed under a general anaesthetic but local anaesthetic with sedation can also be used. The three main types of procedures are:

  • the classic or open forehead lift,
  • the minimal access forehead lift, and
  • the endoscopic forehead lift.

The main difference between the various options for forehead lifting consists of the placement and size of the incision or incisions, and the amount of correction they can achieve.

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In the classic or open forehead lift an incision is made across the top of the scalp, beginning above the ears and hidden within the hair. Through this incision the muscles that cause wrinkling and frown lines are modified, the excess skin is removed and the eyebrows are lifted to a more pleasing level, creating a smoother, more youthful appearance. The incision is then closed with stitches or clips.

Browlift 5

In the minimal access forehead lift, one small incision (4cm) is placed on each side, laterally in the temporal area, within or at the hair line. Through these two incisions the muscles can be modified and the brows lifted to the desired position, but only a small amount of skin can be removed. Internal suspension sutures can also be used to help maintain the result.

Browlift 5

In the endoscopic forehead lift 3-4 one cm incisions are placed inside the hair line. An endoscope (a pencil like camera connected to a monitor) is then inserted through one of the incisions allowing the us to see and work in the various internal structures of the forehead. The endoscopic technique has the advantage of requiring very minimal incisions, but it cannot achieve dramatic results.


What can I expect after the operation?

The immediate post-operative experience for a patient who has had a classic open forehead lift may differ significantly from a patient who had a minimal incision or an endoscopic procedure. The procedures take 1-2 hours and as already mentioned, are usually performed under a general anaesthetic. An overnight stay at the hospital is usually advised, although not necessary.

Following an open forehead lift you will experience a certain amount of swelling and bruising that may involve the eyelid and cheek areas as well. It helps to keep your head elevated for two to three days, to keep the swelling down. Cold compresses may further reduce this swelling. You will initially experience some numbness and temporary discomfort around the incision, which can be easily controlled with medications. As the nerves heal, the numbness may be replaced by itching, and it takes several months for these feelings to fully disappear. Stitches or clips are usually removed in a week’s time.

With less invasive types of forehead lift both bruising and swelling are much more limited and the post-operative experience is much more subtle.

When can I resume my normal activities?

It is important to realise that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals, depending on the extend of the procedure. You may shower and wash your hair after a day or two and you can wear make-up after three days. You should avoid straining, bending and lifting during the early post-operative period. You should however be able to resume most of your normal activities within 7-10 days. Strenuous activities and exercise should be avoided for several weeks. You should temporarily avoid exposure to direct sunlight, and for the long term, be conscientious about the use of a sunblock to protect your skin.

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Pictures (c) ASPS, ASAPS, AAFPRS, ADAM, Allergan

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