A forehead lift, also called a brow lift, involves manipulating
the tissue and skin beneath your forehead and eyebrows.
This procedure corrects the sagging or low position
of the eyebrows by minimizing creases across the forehead
and erasing worried, sad or angry expressions, resulting
in a refreshed and younger look.
Forehead lifts are frequently done in combination with
other procedures, such as a facelift, to firm and tighten
skin on the entire face; upper eyelid blepharoplasty
to lift and tighten sagging eyelids; or lower eyelid
blepharoplasty, to remove puffiness or wrinkled skin
beneath the eyes. Your surgeon may also recommend injections
of collagen or Botox to minimize the appearance of deep
creases in your forehead or frown lines between your
How is a forehead lift performed?
A forehead lift can be performed through two different
techniques, the classic lift and the endoscopic lift.
The classic lift
Your surgeon will make an incision that will start
around the top of your ear and run across the tip of
your forehead and down the other side of your head to
your ear. In general, the incision will be made along
or slightly above your hairline so a scar will not be
visible. If your hairline is very low, your surgeon
can raise it by placing your incision near the top of
your head. Conversely, if your hairline is quite high,
your surgeon can lower it by making the incision in
To work through the incision, your surgeon will carefully
lift your forehead skin so that your underlying forehead
tissue can be adjusted and/or removed to help create
your new appearance. Your surgeon also may elevate your
eyebrows and the skin near your incision may be trimmed
to help create a more natural expression. Your incision
will be closed with sutures (stitches) or clips, and
your face and forehead will be washed to reduce any
skin irritation. Your closed incision will then be covered
with gauze padding and your head will be wrapped with
an elastic bandage.
The endoscopic lift
Surgical preparation with the endoscopic approach is
similar to that of the classic lift. However, as opposed
to making one long incision, your surgeon will make
four or five short incisions in your scalp, each less
than an inch in length. Your surgeon will then insert
an endoscope (a small, pencil-like camera device) through
one of the incisions. The endoscope is connected to
a television monitor that enables your surgeon to see
the muscle and tissue under your skin. Using another
small instrument that is simultaneously inserted through
one of the other incisions, your surgeon will alter
or remove underlying tissues to give your forehead a
more smooth, youthful appearance. Your eyebrows also
may be lifted into a slightly higher position in this
manner. Your incisions will then be closed with sutures
(stitches) or clips and your face and forehead will
be washed to reduce any skin irritation. Finally, gauze
and an elastic bandage will be wrapped around your head.
How long does a forehead lift take?
The length of time depends on the type, difficulty
and scope of the procedure(s) performed. Typically,
this procedure usually takes about two hours to complete.
What type of anesthesia is used?
A forehead lift is usually performed using local anesthesia
along with a light sedative to make you feel drowsy
and relaxed. General anesthesia may also be used, causing
you to be asleep during the whole procedure.
Where is the procedure performed?
A forehead lift is usually performed on an outpatient
basis, in the surgeon's office-based surgical suite,
an outpatient surgery center or hospital.
When can I return home and resume
Most patients return home the same day, and are able
to resume normal activities after seven to ten days.
Strenuous activities, such as sports, etc. should be
kept to a minimum for at least two weeks after the procedure.
How do I prepare for a forehead lift?
During your consultation, your surgeon will discuss
the changes that you would like to make to your appearance.
Your facial skin and underlying bones will be examined
at this time. Since the appearance of your forehead
is a matter of personal perception and preference, it
is important that you speak honestly with your surgeon
regarding your goals and expectations. You should also
make arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive
you to and from your procedure and to assist you with
your daily activities during your recovery period.
Prior to your surgical procedure, your surgeon will
perform a complete health history and physical. Knowledge
of your allergies, medications and previous surgeries
should be brought to your surgeon's attention at this
time. In particular, your surgeon will ask you about
any problems you have had with high blood pressure,
blood clotting or a tendency towards developing large
scars. Specific instructions to assist you in preparing
for this procedure will be given to you after the health
history and physical is complete. Depending on your
individual health status, the instructions may include
guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake, smoking
and which medications to take or avoid. Your experience
will be much smoother if you remain compliant with your
What precautions are necessary during
Adequate recovery time may take several days to three
weeks. The bandages may be removed in as little as three
days allowing you to wash your hair. The use of make-up
and hairstyling is often used to cover minor bruising
and swelling during the recovery period. As always,
your surgeon will give you precise instructions specific
to the technique that was used.
The classic lift
Your surgeon may advise you to keep your head elevated
for two or three days following your surgery to minimize
swelling. You may also experience some swelling around
your eyes and cheeks, which usually lasts a week or
so. As your nerves begin to heal, you may begin to feel
some itching on the top of your scalp. These sensations
could take as long as six months to heal. Your doctor
will remove your incision sutures (stitches) or clips
over the course of two weeks. They may all be removed
at once or in stages. Your surgeon will make this determination
based on your individual case.
The endoscopic lift
Since there is less swelling with the endoscopic technique,
you may recover sooner. You will still, however, experience
mild swelling along with some incision discomfort and
minor itching. Stitches or clips are usually removed
within a week.
What are the possible complications
after a forehead lift?
Temporary loss of sensation along your incision line
is common in patients who receive a classic forehead
lift. Although most people experience only a temporary
sensation loss, the possibility of permanent loss does
exist. In rare instances, the nerves that control eyebrow
movement can be injured during a forehead lift. This
can result in the loss of the ability to raise your
eyebrows and wrinkle your forehead. If this occurs,
additional surgery may be needed to correct this condition.
Additional rare complications include large scar formation
at the incision site, infection and bleeding. If a complication
should occur during an endoscopic procedure, your surgeon
may have to switch to the classic technique. It is always
important to be informed about the possible complications
before any surgery. Be sure to discuss any concerns
you may have with your surgeon.
What results can I expect after a
For both classic and endoscopic procedures, visible
signs of your surgery should fade completely within
a few weeks. Any minor swelling and bruising can be
concealed with makeup or hair. As with any surgery,
you may feel fatigued for some time after your procedure.
However, your energy level should slowly pick up as
you begin to feel and look better. Results from forehead
lifts normally last from five to ten years.
A forehead lift is very effective in restoring a more
youthful, refreshed look to the area above the eyes.
While this procedure cannot stop the aging process,
it can often create a dramatic younger look.
Most patients are pleased with the results of a forehead
lift, no matter which surgical method was used. Often,
patients don't realize how much the wrinkled, loose
skin on their forehead contributed to the appearance
of aging until they see how much younger and more rested
they appear after the lift. The shape of the eyebrow,
horizontal and vertical forehead lines may all be improved
It is important to understand that the texture of the
skin will not be altered by a forehead lift. Regardless
of how tight the skin is pulled; acne scars, age spots
and fine lines will soon return to their original texture.
Procedures such as laser skin resurfacing or chemical
peels are frequently used in combination with a forehead
lift to improve the texture of the skin.
Choosing the right surgeon
To obtain further information regarding ear surgery,
we advise you to consult with a qualified and experienced
board-certified plastic surgeon. Regardless of the type
of procedure you are considering, it is crucial to choose
the right surgeon for your individual goals. To receive
a complimentary consultation with a specialist in your
area, simply fill out our Online
Referral Form or call Toll