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Ross A. Clevens, MD, FACS

While you may rely on your face to convey what you're feeling, various signs of aging can often work against you and send the world the wrong message. For example, years of furrowing your eyebrows can leave you with two vertical lines between them, giving you an upset appearance, even if everything is great. If your face is sending a message that is the opposite of how you really feel, you do have some options to correct it.

A brow lift, or forehead lift, is a surgery designed to reduce the signs of aging on the upper part of your face. It's often recommended for people who have creases across the forehead or between the eyebrows or for people whose brows are starting to droop. The surgery can be performed in several ways, depending on how advanced the signs of aging are and what you hope to get from the procedure.


The classic brow lift, sometimes called an open brow lift, involves making a long incision across the top of the head, usually concealed just inside the hairline. Once the incision is made, the surgeon lifts the skin away and is able to work with the muscles and fat lying beneath it. The procedure involves trimming away extra muscle, fat and skin, creating a smoother forehead and brow area. The surgery ends with the surgeon closing the incision.

Usually, a classic brow lift is recommended for people who have more advanced signs of aging. If the creases across your forehead are very deep or if your brows sag over your eyes a great deal, the open brow lift might be ideal for you.

Limited Incision

A limited incision brow lift is similar to a classic brow lift with one major difference: the size of the incision made. Usually, during a limited incision procedure, the surgeon makes two small incisions on either side of the head (by the temples) then proceeds to lift the skin and remove extra fat, muscle and skin through those incisions.

The small size of the incisions limits the amount of work a surgeon can do, meaning the procedure might not be right for people with a considerable amount of looseness in the brow area. Since the incisions are on the side of the head, the procedure typically only corrects sagging on the ends of the brows and won't ease lines or wrinkles in the center of the forehead. Usually, a limited incision brow lift is reserved for older people, typically  men, who might not have sufficient hair to cover up the long incision made during the classic procedure.


An endoscopic brow lift is similar to the limited incision lift, in that the incisions made by the surgeon are very small and heal without leaving major scars. The big difference is the use of an endoscope, or small camera, to guide the surgeon through the procedure. During the procedure, the surgeon uses small tools to lift and smooth the brow. Since the skin isn't lifted away, the tissues are held in their new position by a fixative before the scope is removed and the incisions closed.

The least invasive brow lift option, the endoscopic procedure isn't ideal for everyone. Results might not last as long as those from an open brow lift, for one thing. The results are generally less dramatic, too.


Although the different brow lift procedures offer different results and vary in terms of complexity and invasiveness, the recovery period for each option is relatively similar. In general, you can expect to take about a week off from your job. Swelling and bruising will occur in the area and will start to diminish after a couple of weeks. You can use cold compresses to help keep the swelling down. It's also a good idea to sit upright and to prop yourself up with pillows before sleeping.

Some movement is recommended during your initial recovery, to keep your blood flowing, but anything particularly vigorous should be avoided until your surgeon gives you the all-clear. Bending, straining and lifting anything heavy are all off-limits for at least two weeks after surgery.

The Injectable Route

Depending on the state of your forehead, a brow lift might not be the best option for you. If you're only dealing with a few lines between your brows or across your forehead, a Botox, Dysport or Xeomin injection might be the better solution. The main ingredient in the injectables keeps the nerves from communicating with the muscles responsible for those frown lines or forehead creases, giving you a smoother look, at least temporarily. While you don't have to undergo surgery or spend time recovering, the results from an injection will only last for a few months.

Dr. Ross Clevens, an Ivy League-trained surgeon and the double board certified, award-winning facial plastic surgeon in Central Florida, can evaluate the state of your forehead and recommend whether the brow lift procedure or other option is right for you. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Clevens, call (321) 727-3223 today.

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