It’s not uncommon for the eyebrows to shift downward with age as the skin in the forehead stretches, giving your face a tired and unhappy expression even when you feel bright and energetic. Sagging eyebrows and creases in the forehead can also make you look older than you are. When your eyebrows droop far enough to block part of your field of view or cause your upper eyelids to sag, the changes can interfere with your vision.
A brow lift, or forehead lift, corrects these problems, raising your eyebrows and smoothing your forehead to improve your appearance and clear obstructions to your vision. Here we’ll explain what a brow lift does and doesn’t do, how it is performed, and what the experience is like, from planning the procedure with your plastic surgeon, through the surgery and recovery, to the final results you can expect.
What is a Brow Lift and How Can It Improve Your Appearance?
A brow lift, or forehead lift, is surgery to raise drooping eyebrows and smooth lines in the forehead. It does this by removing excess skin from the top of the forehead and repositioning underlying muscles and tissue. A brow lift is often the solution to sagging upper eyelids, as raising the brows also lifts the upper eyelids. You can see this relationship yourself by gently lifting your brows with your fingers while looking in the mirror. To see how a brow lift smooths forehead lines, gently lift the skin of your forehead by pressing upward at your hairline.
Can a Brow Lift Help with Vision Problems?
Drooping eyebrows can cause vision problems in two ways. First, when the eyebrows sag far enough, they can block the upper or outer parts of your field of view, so you have to tip your head to see up or to the sides. Second, as the eyebrows sag, the upper eyelids lose support from above. This can cause the upper eyelids to droop, making it difficult for you to fully open your eyes. Raising the position of your eyebrows, and by doing that lifting your upper eyelids, corrects this sagging and removes this form of vision obstruction.
Eyebrow surgery does not otherwise affect your vision. It’s also important to note that, in some cases, a brow lift is not the solution for drooping upper eyelids. Eyelid surgery may be required if the problem has a cause unrelated to sagging skin above the eyes, such as weakened muscles or excess fat in the upper eyelids.
How Does a Brow Lift Affect Your Eye Area?
When your eyebrows settle into a lowered position, they give your face a tired, worried, or even angry expression. That can be accentuated by horizontal creases in the forehead and vertical creases between the brows. Lowered eyebrows can also push down the skin just above the eyes and in the upper eyelids, adding to a weary and unhappy expression. In these ways, sagging eyebrows affect the appearance of the eyes and forehead creases affect your facial expression.
A brow lift corrects these problems, raising your eyebrows and upper eyelids for a more alert and positive expression, and smoothing forehead lines to reinforce a younger, more attentive, and happier appearance. Your eyes also become more visible after a brow lift, no longer overshadowed or partially obscured by dropping brows.
What Are the Benefits of Combining a Brow Lift with Eyelid Surgery?
A brow lift corrects a specific set of problems related to sagging and loss of resilience in the skin of the upper part of the face. A brow lift raises the eyebrows and smooths forehead creases. In some cases, drooping upper eyelids can be corrected with a brow lift, but not in all cases. And a brow lift has no effect on the lower eyelids. If you’re bothered by lowered brows and the appearance of your eyelids and the area just below your eyes, you might benefit from combining a browlift with eyelid surgery.
Eyelid surgery can:
- Correct droopy eyelids when the sagging is not caused solely by lowered brows
- Lighten heavy upper eyelids
- Reduce puffiness around your eyes
- Eliminate chronic bags under your eyes
- Allow you to fully open your eyes
- Change the “at rest” position of your eyelids to appear more alert and engaged
- Give your eyes a brighter, more energetic look
What Are the Different Types of Brow Lift Procedures Available?
Plastic surgeons take different approaches in performing a brow lift, depending on the changes to be made and other factors, such as the patient’s hairline. These include:
Endoscopic brow lift. This is the least invasive approach to a brow lift. A series of small incisions, each less than an inch long, are made just behind the hairline, where resulting scars are not visible. Using cameras and instruments inserted through the incisions on long tubes, the surgeon raises and removes excess skin and fat in the forehead and repositions underlying muscles and connective tissue.
Temporal or limited-incision brow lift. Incisions about an inch long are made behind the hairline just above the temples. Excess skin is removed to raise the position of the outer brows. When combined with eyelid surgery, the inner brows and the area between the eyebrows can also be raised, using the incisions made for the eyelid surgery.
Coronal brow lift. An incision is made well behind the hairline, across the top of the head, from ear to ear. The skin and tissue of the forehead are pulled up over this incision line to raise the eyebrows and smooth forehead creases. Excess tissue is removed and the incision is closed. A coronal brow lift may be used with patients who have thick hair, to conceal the resulting scar, and no risk of a receding hairline.
Hairline brow lift. An incision is made at the top of the forehead, along the hairline, to both pull the hairline forward and raise the eyebrows. This approach may be used with patients who have both sagging eyebrows and a receding hairline. One cosmetic concern is that if the hairline recedes even further, the scar from the brow lift may become more visible.
Direct brow lift. Incisions are made just above the eyebrows, and excess skin is removed to lift the brows. This approach may be used with patients who have thick, bushy eyebrows that will conceal the resulting scars.
How Can You Determine If You’re a Good Candidate for a Brow Lift?
In your consultation, your plastic surgeon will examine you and ask about your medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for a brow lift. You may be a good candidate for the procedure if you are bothered by sagging or droopy eyebrows and you:
- Are in good overall health
- Do not smoke, or are able to quit for several weeks before and after the surgery
- Have realistic goals about the outcome of the procedure
How Can You Prepare for a Brow Lift Procedure?
Your plastic surgeon will advise you on steps to take before your procedure. These typically involve not smoking, not taking certain medications that can increase the risk of bleeding, and making arrangements for someone to bring you home after your procedure.
What Can You Expect During the Brow Lift Recovery Period?
After a brow lift, you can expect some swelling or bruising. This will become less noticeable after a few days and disappear completely within a few weeks. Once sutures have been removed and the incisions have healed, you’ll be able to hide any short-term bruising with makeup. You’ll need to rest at home for a week to ten days before returning to work or resuming your normal activities.
Your plastic surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions for self-care in recovery and when to return for follow-up appointments.
What Are the Long-Term Results of a Brow Lift Procedure?
After a brow lift, your face will look younger, and your expressions will be happier and more alert. People will likely notice that you look rested, relaxed, and healthier but are unlikely to guess the change is from cosmetic surgery. The results of a brow lift are long-lasting but will not stop the process of facial aging. You can make the rejuvenating improvements from the surgery last longer by avoiding sun damage and taking good care of your facial skin.
If drooping eyebrows make you look older, more tired, and less happy than you feel, a brow lift can change the way others perceive you — in subtle but remarkable ways. Not only will you look younger and more attractive, but you may find that you come across as friendlier, more approachable, and more energetic. By making this one small change in your appearance, you’ll feel more confident and better about yourself.
Contact Nashville Plastic Surgery online or by calling (615) 454-2271 to schedule a consultation for a brow lift with Michael Cash, M.D. He will examine you, ask questions to understand your goals, and recommend the safest and most effective approach. Patients in metro Nashville and throughout middle Tennessee choose Dr. Cash as their cosmetic surgeon because of his ability to create stunning results and the caring attention he and his staff provide.