If you suffer from a wrinkled brow or sagging skin around your eyes, you might find that a brow lift is an ideal solution. Brow lifts are simple and safe cosmetic procedures which stretch the skin of the forehead, making wrinkles much less prominent and restoring a youthful appearance to the area around the eyes. It can also be a great way to restore brow symmetry - something which can often be a problem as we age.
Brow lifts seek to stretch the skin of a patient's forehead, moving it "upwards" towards the hairline. This has a few effects on other parts of the face and generally improve facial appearance. In some instances, the procedure can counteract the effects of palsy syndromes. In others, it stretches skin away from the eyes, making them seem more prominent and mitigating the effects of ageing. In others, the target is skin wrinkles in the brow. So, there are numerous potential aesthetic benefits.
There are a few different kinds of brow lift, but they are broadly similar in nature. None of them requires complex surgery or a general anaesthetic, and all can be carried out in a matter of hours by a trained cosmetic surgeon. In a typical situation, the process goes as follows:
The first stage is arranging an appointment with your cosmetic surgeon. Here, you can set out your aims and concerns, and your surgeon will suggest possible treatments. This may not include brow lift surgery. In some cases, botox or other muscle relaxants may be prescribed. If surgery is deemed necessary, you will be booked into a suitable clinic. In the run-up to your operation, you may need to abstain from alcohol and stop taking certain medications as they could interact adversely with a local anaesthetic.
When you enter surgery, you will be given a local anaesthetic. When the area has been anaesthetised, your surgeon will make a carefully chosen incision or series of incisions. These incisions allow them to manipulate the skin of your face, "lifting" it upwards towards the hairline. In some procedures, surgeons will take extra care to avoid muscles and other tissues by employing tiny cameras beneath the skin. They will then make an additional incision above the hairline to physically lift the skin into place. In less complex lifting procedures, they may make a single incision above the hairline. The skin can then be lifted until it overlaps with existing skin. Your surgeon will then apply sutures and remove the excess skin. Finally, your surgeon may elect to make an incision below the hairline, before lifting skin into place.
In all cases, when the skin has been manipulated into the correct position and excess skin has been removed, your surgeon will apply sutures to seal the wound. A dressing will then be applied, and you will be discharged from hospital. Within a week, any swelling should have eased, and scarring will gradually fade.
Yes, a variety of methods exist, and your surgeon will make sure they choose the correct option. The most advanced method is known as an endoscopic brow lift. As described above, this version involves using a camera to see underneath the skin. That way, surgeons can accurately avoid any nerves and reduce the need for incisions to a bare minimum. This drastically limits the risk of numbness and scarring. Alternatively, surgeons may use the coronal technique to make an incision from "ear to ear" before folding the skin upwards above the hairline. This contrasts with the similar trichophytic lift, which involves an incision below the hairline. Generally speaking, trichophytic procedures are less suitable for those with receding hairlines but can produce better results if you are able to grow hair just above the incision site. You may also decide to go for a partial operation. For example, temporal brow lifts target only the area immediately above the eyebrows. These procedures are less drastic, heal faster and are less likely to leave scarring. These procedures may be supplemented by non-surgical methods as well. Botox is commonly used to relax the muscles which "pull" the eyebrow downwards, making eyes look more alert and youthful. But this is a limited technique which has much less impact than a full brow lift.
Although you will probably be able to return home on the same day as your operation, brow lifts tend to result in an extended period off work. So, plan for at least one week's absence, possibly more. Patients usually feel ready to return to work within two weeks. You should also expect some swelling and numbness around the scalp and forehead as well as residual pain from the incision sites. This shouldn't last beyond ten days after the operation, at which point your sutures can be removed. During the period immediately following the operation, expect to change your lifestyle slightly to promote healing. For instance, it's advisable to keep your head elevated, even when sleeping. Avoiding sudden motion and any form of exertion is also a sensible precaution to avoid placing pressure on your sutures. You'll need to take care when showering. Modern surgical techniques have developed to the point that scarring is minimal. There will be some scars. That's an inevitable part of the procedure. But a skilled surgeon will make sure that these scars are concealed as much as possible. Expect to forget about them over time as your hair grows over the brow. More importantly, expect significant improvements to your appearance. When done well, brow lifts can make individuals appear much younger, with brighter eyes, smoother skin and a more symmetrical appearance.