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 creases in the forehead skin, hooded upper eyelids, and sagging eyebrows.

During a forehead lift, the surgeon maneuvers tissues and removes segments of muscles and skin that cause wrinkles or deep frown lines. This procedure sometimes is performed along with other forms of cosmetic surgery.

There are two methods to lift the forehead and eyebrow areas: the classic lift and endoscopic lift.

  • The classic lift, sometimes called a “coronal lift,” involves one continuous incision, from ear to ear across the top of the head. To correct a high forehead the surgeon might recommend the incision follow the frontal hair line.
  • In the endoscopic lift, the surgeon makes a few shorter incisions in the scalp. He or she inserts a scope (a thin tube attached to a camera) into one of the incisions in order to view the tissues and muscles from a screen while using another device inserted in another incision to make the necessary alterations. In this procedure, the tissue will be anchored either with a temporary or permanent stitch or anchor below the scalp. These anchors will keep the tissue under control for years. Because the incisions are smaller, this procedure is less invasive. You will experience minimal scarring and shortened recovery time.

What should I know before forehead lift 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.

Like any surgery, brow lift surgery has some risks. Possible complications include poor scarring, infection, weakness of the brow movement, or intense itching of the scalp. You should talk to your surgeon about the possible risks and benefits before making the decision to proceed with surgery.

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.

What should I expect the day of forehead lift surgery?

A forehead lift should be performed at an accredited office surgical facility, in a hospital, or in a licensed outpatient surgery center. Your surgery will take approximately two hours. Usually you will not need to stay overnight. You will need to bring an adult 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 whether you had a classic or endoscopic procedure. In either case, your incisions will have stitches or staples that need to be removed in about a week. If you have temporary fixation screws (installed to hold the elevated brow in place during initial healing), these will be removed in about two weeks.

You will probably experience swelling and bruising, which can affect other parts of your face, including your cheeks and eyes.

For at least two days following surgery, you should keep your head elevated to lessen the swelling. The swelling will go down enough within the first two weeks for you to feel comfortable in public. It may take several weeks for all of the swelling to subside.

You may also experience numbness or tingling, but this symptom will subside over time.

Most patients can return to work or school within 10 days, some sooner, depending on which procedure is used. You should be sure to avoid heavy lifting, vigorous exercise, or other activity for the first few weeks after surgery.

When should I call a doctor?

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

Will my insurance cover a forehead 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: 7/29/2016…#10784