What is a brow lift?

A brow lift, or forehead lift, is the surgical lifting and smoothing of the forehead to create a more rested, youthful appearance. Most people have a brow lift for cosmetic reasons. A brow lift reduces the signs of aging, including creases and fine lines on the forehead and between the eyebrows. Brow lift surgery can also reposition low or sagging brows that hood the upper eyelid.

A brow lift is a common but major surgery that has risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options, such as Botox injections. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having a brow lift. 

Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may recommend additional cosmetic procedures to enhance your appearance. Common combinations include a brow lift and eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), which removes excess skin at the upper or lower eyelids. Brow lifts are also combined with a facelift (rhytidectomy) to reduce the signs of aging in the face and neck.

Why is a brow lift performed?

Your doctor may recommend a brow lift to minimize creases and lines on your forehead and between your eyebrows. A brow lift also repositions eyebrows slightly to create a more awake, refreshed appearance. Your doctor may also recommend a brow lift if you are considering eyelid surgery. A brow lift can help reduce sagging and drooping eyebrows that can make you look tired. 

You may have other options for improving the appearance of your forehead and eyebrow area. Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion before deciding on a brow lift. 

Your doctor may recommend a brow lift if:

  • You are bothered by the creases in your forehead or furrows between your eyebrows.
  • You have sagging or low-set eyebrows.
  • You are dissatisfied with the appearance of your eyes due to excess skin above your eyelids.
  • You are physically healthy, don't smoke, and have realistic expectations of improvement, not perfection.

Who performs a brow lift?

A plastic surgeon performs a brow lift. A plastic surgeon is a specialist in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. Facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons may also perform brow lifts. FPRSs are either otolaryngologists or plastic surgeons with further training in plastic surgery and reconstruction of the face.

How is a brow lift performed?

Your brow lift will be performed in a hospital, office, or outpatient surgery setting. It is usually an outpatient procedure. 

Surgical approaches to a brow lift

Your doctor will perform brow lift surgery using one of the following approaches:

  • Minimally invasive brow lift surgery uses small incisions in the hairline, behind the hairline, above the brow, or in the mid-forehead to achieve the desired results. Minimally invasive surgery generally involves a faster recovery and less pain than open surgery. This is because it causes less trauma to tissues and organs. Your surgeon will make a small incision(s) instead of a larger one used in open surgery. Surgical tools are threaded around muscles and tissues instead of cutting through or displacing them as in open surgery.
  • Open surgery (coronal brow lift) involves making one large incision that runs from ear to ear across the top of your head near your hairline. It smoothes the forehead and lifts the eyebrows by removing excess skin from the scalp. Open surgery generally involves a longer recovery and more pain than minimally invasive surgery. Open surgery requires a larger incision and more cutting and displacement of tissue than minimally invasive surgery. Despite this, open surgery may be a safer or more effective method for certain patients.

Your surgeon will advise you on which procedure is best for you and how long you need to stay in the hospital based on your diagnosis, age, medical history, general health, and possibly your personal preference. Learn about the different brow lift procedures and ask why your doctor will use a particular type for you.