Brow lift (or forehead lift)

Purpose:

To smooth the forehead and reduce the appearance of loose skin around the eyes.

The procedure:

A brow lift is a surgical operation that can take place either under a general or local anaesthetic. There are two techniques that can be used: open and endoscopic. Both procedures can take up to two hours.

With an open brow lift, the surgeon makes a long incision across the forehead - either around the hairline or in one of the creases of the forehead. For an endoscopic brow lift, the surgeon will make several smaller incisions and insert an endoscope (a metal tube with a camera attached to the end) so that they can see the tissues underneath the skin on a television screen.

In both cases, the surgeon will remove fatty tissue underneath the skin, loosen the muscles and remove a section of skin. They will then pull the skin down and stitch the brow into its new position.

You will be required to stay in hospital overnight, to take 7 -10 days off work and to sleep upright for one week to reduce swelling. It will be important to minimise irritation to the scalp by washing the hair daily with baby shampoo and avoiding styling products. The sutures will be removed between seven and fourteen days.

Brow lifts can also be performed using "suture" or "threadlift" techniques. This involves the placement of sutures or threads with tiny "teeth" into the brow through a small insertion. The threads are pulled upwards and secured, and the insertion is stitched shut.

The results:

The brow and forehead should appear firmer and less lined. Brow lifts are sometimes permanent, but the effect may be reduced as you get older or if you put on weight.

The risks:

General risks associated with surgery - see Considering cosmetic surgery?

The procedure will leave permanent scars but once they have faded they should not be particularly noticeable if positioned along the hairline or in one of the creases of the forehead (although scars along the hairline may become visible at a later date of the hair recedes). There is also a risk that the eyebrows may be asymmetrical, and there is also the possibility of some nerve damage. If the nerves that control eyebrow movement are damaged, this could leave you unable to raise your eyebrows or wrinkle your forehead. You should ask your surgeon how often this has happened in their experience.

Before you start:

If you are most concerned about the area around your eyes, you may want to discuss surgical alternatives with your doctor

Also see:

Upper and lower eyelid surgery
Botulinum toxin injections
Facelift
Suture facelift

Procedure information is copyright Department of Health (http://www.dh.gov.uk. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence.