Many people never realize the powerful impact that the brow region has on the entire eye are. A sagging brow that droops over the upper eyelid can lead to a permanently stern look, leading to self-consciousness and a more limited range of facial expressions. A brow lift can correct this by tightening the tissues of the forehead to lift the brows and correct forehead lines, giving a refreshed look to the entire face.
Am I a Candidate for a Brow Lift?
You may be a candidate for a brow lift if your brows droop making you look sad or angry all the time, if drooping skin has covered your upper lid to the point where makeup application is difficult, or if you’ve developed lines on your forehead or frown lines between your eyebrows. A simple test can make the decision easy. Relax your forehead, then place several fingers on each brow and lift them slowly until you find a location where they look the best. If you need to raise them more than about a quarter inch, you may benefit from a brow lift.
The brow lift process will begin with your consultation. You will point out your concerns and what you would like to achieve with the procedure, and Dr. Clevens will evaluate the structures of your face and discuss what is surgically possible in your case. He will go over your options for the brow lift. Dr. Clevens specializes in the endoscopic brow lift, which works well for mild-to-moderate eyebrow droop and wrinkles, but it is also possible to perform a classic brow lift for more severe situations. A limited-incision approach is also available and works particularly well when combined with upper eyelid surgery.
Once you’ve settled on the best approach for your situation, you will also discuss correct aftercare for your brow lift and the precautions that you can take to minimize the risks of surgery.
About the Procedure
A brow lift is generally performed under local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. Once you’ve been anesthetized, Dr. Clevens will begin with the incisions. There are three methods that can be used.
In the endoscopic approach, several small incisions will be made in your scalp. The endoscope, a long, thin tube with light on the end, will go through these incisions to allow visible access to the forehead’s internal structures. A classic brow lift will require a long incision along the hairline, and a limited-incision brow lift uses two smaller incisions on the outer corners of the forehead near the hairline.
Regardless of the method used, Dr. Clevens will tighten the muscles of the forehead and remove any necessary fat and excess skin before closing the incisions. Then dressings will be placed before you are moved to the recovery room.
After your brow lift, you will experience swelling and bruising that will peak about two days after the surgery before gradually declining for about two weeks. The bruising will usually appear around the eyes rather than the forehead. The pain following a brow lift is usually minimal, but an uncomfortable tight feeling is common for the first few days. It is also normal for your scalp to be numb at first and then itchy or tingly as the sensation returns.
You’ll need to keep your head elevated for about a week. This means you’ll need to recline rather than lie flat while sleeping. Movement is encouraged to improve circulation, but strenuous exercise should be avoided for two weeks to avoid raising your blood pressure and increasing the swelling.
Possible Risks and Complications
Brow lifts have very few complications. They have the normal risks of surgery, including infection, bleeding, and hematoma, as well as a chance of change in sensation around your scalp and forehead. Numbness, tightness, and tingling are all common in the first few days, and the numbness can often continue for several months or more. If you’re getting a classic brow risk, there is also a chance of visible scarring.
Q. One of my eyebrows is higher than the other. Can a brow lift fix this?
A. Yes. Eyebrow asymmetry can often be improved with either a completely one-sided brow lift or a brow lift that raises one side more than the other. The method chosen will depend on what other issues you wish to correct. Since it will vary depending on your specific situation, a consultation with Dr. Clevens is necessary to determine the best approach.
Q. I have forehead wrinkles, but my brows aren’t drooping. Do I still need a brow lift?
A. If the brows themselves are in a good position, you may benefit from simply using injectable fillers to smooth the creases on your forehead. This is a temporary solution, however, since fillers only last for 6 months or so while a brow lift is permanent. It’s a trade-off between lasting results and lower invasiveness.
Q. What are my options for getting an arched brow if my eyebrows naturally go straight across?
A. If tweezing and waxing alone can’t give you an arch, you do have other options. Judiciously-applied Botox can create a slight temporary arch, so for many patients this should be the first option. If you’d like a more customizable or permanent arch, a brow lift can be used to raise the necessary sections of the brow to create a pleasing arch. Again, this is a situation where the specific facial structure is important, so a consultation with Dr. Clevens is necessary to determine exactly what can be accomplished.
Q. What will the scars be like after my brow lift?
A. It depends on the type of lift that you have done. An endoscopic brow lift leaves only a few tiny incisions which are hidden in the hair. A limited-incision brow lift leaves two small scars at the outer corners of the forehead, and these are typically completely hidden in the hairline as well. The largest incision is required by the classic brow lift, which leaves a scar running the length of the forehead right along the hairline. This can generally be angled so that hair can grow through it, camouflaging it nicely.
Q. Will I have that permanently-surprised look after my brow lift?
A. That overly-lifted look comes from a brow that has been raised too much, and it can be avoided simply by being more conservative with the lift. In general, a natural-looking result can be achieved by paying attention to maintaining an attractive shape of the brow in conjunction with the orbital rim rather than simply lifting the whole brow as much as possible.