Eyebrow Lift (“brow lift”) – An eyebrow lift helps restore a more youthful, refreshed look to the eyes. The procedure corrects drooping eyebrows and improves the horizontal lines and furrows that can make a person appear angry, sad or tired. In a forehead lift, muscles are reduced to smooth the forehead, raise the eyebrows and minimize frown lines. Your surgeon may use the conventional surgical method in which the incision is hidden just behind the hairline; or use an endoscope, a viewing instrument that allows the procedure to be performed with several small incisions. Both techniques yield similar results — smoother forehead skin, less heaviness of the brow area, and a more “bright eyed” appearance. A drain may be used after surgery. Many patients think they need a blepharoplasty (eye lift) when they actually need a brow lift or both. Make sure your surgeon can perform a brow lift endoscopically so that your options are not limited by their skills. Some patients are better candidates for the “open” non endoscopic technique because of their tissue/forehead characteristics. Interestingly enough, endoscopic reduction of the muscles that cause frowning between the eyes has help many patients who suffer from migrane headaches. We don’t know the reason why, but it does. This is very good news for migrane sufferers.
Dr. Caridi's Take
This is a powerful procedure as it improves a critical area of the facial anatomy–the eyes. A full “open” brow lift involves an incision across the entire upper head, ear to ear. An endoscopic brow lift uses limited incisions in the frontal hairline. The open technique is more powerful but has the drawback of the large incision and scarring and hair loss and numbness. The endoscopic is not as powerful but is excellent overall because it’s very limitations offer patients that rested and “non operated” look by not over elevating the eyebrows (deer in the headlights). There are also limited incision brow lifts as well that work to improve limited areas only. Your surgeon must have experience with the endoscopic technique to be proficient.
Risks and Benefits:
The immediate post-operative experience for a patient who has had a classic forehead lift may differ significantly from a patient who had the procedure performed endoscopically. Generally, all patients experience bruising, swelling, and tightness around the forehead. Some patients complain of a compression type headache. Most patients will have difficulty closing their eyes for several days after the procedure because of the swelling. There will be numbness along the incision lines and behind them for several months. Hair thinning at the incisions is not uncommon (one of the benefits of the endoscopic technique is much smaller incisions). Pruritis or itching behind the larger open incision is a possibility and can be bothersome. Many patients fear the “bug eyed” appearance that can occur with this procedure but if your doctor properly selects those who will benefit most this is very unlikely (particularly with the endoscopic technique).
The benefits from a brow lift are typically very exciting—a bright eyed youthful appearance and a less stressed or angry appearance. Since others see you through your eyes the results can be very gratifying. Creases about the forehead and between your eyes soften with time. In some cases, headaches and even migraines have improved after this procedure.
You will be up and around on the day of surgery, but plan to limit your activity for at least the four days after surgery. You should be able to shower and shampoo your hair within two days, or as soon as the bandage is removed. Most patients are back to work or school in a week. Endoscopic patients may feel ready to return even sooner. Vigorous physical activity should be limited for several weeks, including jogging, bending, heavy housework, sex, or any activity that increases your blood pressure. Lubricating eye drops are used for a week or so after the procedure. Prolonged exposure to heat or sun should be limited for several months. Most of the visible signs of surgery should fade completely within about three weeks. Minor swelling and bruising can be concealed with special camouflage makeup.