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Treatments & Procedures

Forehead Lift

What is a forehead lift?

The forehead lift is a cosmetic surgery procedure that also is known as a brow lift or temporal lift. The procedure cosmetically corrects sagging in the forehead skin, upper eyelids, and eyebrows. During a forehead lift, the surgeon maneuvers tissues and removes segments of muscles and skin that are responsible for wrinkles or deep frown lines. This procedure sometimes is performed in conjunction with other forms of cosmetic surgery. There are several methods to lift the forehead and eyebrow areas:

  • Open brow lift (coronal brow lift and hairline brow lift), which involves one continuous incision (cut) that starts at the level of your ears and goes up around the hairline.
  • Endoscopic lift, a minimally invasive procedure that uses small incisions in the scalp. An endoscope (small camera on the end of a thin tube) is inserted into one of the incisions. The surgeon views the tissues deep in the skin through a television monitor. A separate device is inserted in another incision to make the necessary alterations. A number of techniques are used to hold the tissue in an elevated position. This approach results in minimal scarring and may shorten recovery time.
  • Browpexy, which adjusts the brow position through an incision in the eyelid.
  • Direct brow lift, which moves the eyebrow using an incision above the brow hair or in the wrinkles of the forehead. (This approach is usually reserved for elderly males).
Before surgery

You should know exactly what you want to correct about the current appearance of your forehead. Your surgeon will evaluate your entire forehead region, including your upper eyelids. The surgeon may have you make a variety of facial expressions so he or she can evaluate exactly how to help you.

If your hair is longer and will get in the way of the procedure, you may have to trim it. If your hair is shorter, you may seek to grow it out to cover any scars. You will be able to discuss all this with your surgeon.

The day of surgery

A forehead lift can be performed at a surgeon’s office, in a hospital or in an outpatient surgery facility. Your surgery will take approximately two hours. Usually you will not need to stay overnight. You will need to bring someone along who can drive you home and stay with you the first night or two.

Most people have general anesthesia for this procedure. After surgery, the surgeon will cover the wound area with a soft, sterilized bandage. It’s very important to follow the instructions on how to care for the bandage and how frequently you should change it.

What should I expect after forehead lift surgery?

Your recovery is going to vary depending upon the method of surgery. In either case, your incisions will sutures that need to be removed in about a week. For at least two days (48 hours) following surgery, you should keep your head elevated to alleviate the swelling. You will also be told to keep cold compresses on your forehead. Most people recover fully within two weeks and are able to return to normal activities.

You should be sure to avoid heavy lifting, vigorous exercise or other activity for the first few weeks after surgery.

Though the side effects are minimal, possible complications can occur. These may include infection, prolonged swelling, bleeding under the skin, scars, complications with eyebrow movement, or the loss of sensation around the incision site.

When should I call a doctor?

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience if you have a fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, excessive swelling or bleeding.

Will my insurance cover a brow lift?

Under most circumstances, a forehead lift is considered a cosmetic procedure and is not covered under insurance plans.


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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 7/26/2010…#10784