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Brow Lift


What you need to know about a brow lift:

A brow lift, also called a forehead lift, is surgery to improve the appearance of your forehead. A brow lift decreases wrinkle lines and creates a more youthful, open appearance. A brow lift can raise a sagging brow that may be overhanging your eyes.

How to prepare for surgery:

Your surgeon will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You may need to stop taking aspirin or blood thinners days to weeks before surgery. You may need a physical exam, blood work, or an EKG before surgery. Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you.

What will happen during surgery:

You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given local anesthesia and sedation. With local anesthesia and sedation, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. The type of brow lift you need depends on your face and brow shape. The skin will be stretched and lifted. Muscles and tissues will be repositioned. Your incisions will be closed with stitches, medical glue, or medical clips. These are removed about 1 week after surgery. These are the following brow lift surgery options:

  • With endoscopic surgery, several small incisions will be made just past your hairline. Thin tools will be placed under your skin to lift and move the tissues and muscles of your forehead.
  • With a temporal or limited incision brow lift, 2 incisions will be made. Each incision is about 1 inch long and is made above a temple, just past your hairline. This brow lift is often done with an eyelid lift as well. The tissues and muscles of the outer brow area and the area between your eyebrows will be lifted. This helps smooth out frown lines.
  • With a classic, or coronal, brow lift, one long incision is made behind the hairline. This incision starts at one ear, goes up over the forehead, and down to the other ear. This type of lift is not as common. Extra skin, fat, and tissue will be removed. The brow muscles and skin are moved into a firmer, more youthful appearance.

What will happen after surgery:

You may have a light bandage wrap on your head for the first 24 hours. You may feel like your forehead is tight or stretched. You may have a drain to remove extra blood or fluid from the surgery area. You will need to return in 24 hours to have the drain removed and the incisions checked. Your forehead and eye area may swell and bruise during the first 2 weeks after surgery. You will need to walk around starting the day of surgery to help prevent blood clots.

Risks of surgery:

  • You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. You may develop a hematoma (collection of blood). You may have hair loss around the incisions. Your hairline may move or be higher than you thought. Your eyes may be irritated or dry. Your brow may not be equally lifted on each side.
  • You may have facial nerve damage with weakness or paralysis. You may have more swelling than expected. Your incisions may not heal as quickly as expected. You may have skin loss or visible scars. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.

Call 911 if:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You feel sudden, sharp pain in your eyes or forehead.
  • Your stitches come apart.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your incision wounds are red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have a rash around your forehead.
  • You have a fever and chills.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Nausea medicine helps prevent or treat nausea.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for yourself at home:

  • Use artificial tears every hour or as directed. You may also need an eye gel lubricant while you sleep.
  • Apply a cold compress on your forehead and eyes 15 to 20 minutes every hour. Do this for the first 3 days after surgery while you are awake.
  • Care for your wound as directed. You may be able to bathe about 2 days after surgery. Use a gentle shampoo when you wash your hair. Dry the area gently. You may need to clean the incisions with hydrogen peroxide with a cotton tip applicator 4 times a day. Then, you may need to apply antibiotic ointment along the incision lines.
  • Limit activity as directed. Do not bend, stoop, or lift objects over 20 pounds. Lifting heavy objects can put pressure on your eyes and cause damage to the surgery area. You may be able to return to daily activities in 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Use caution with hair tools and products. Your forehead and scalp may be partially numb after surgery. Make sure the shower water is not too hot. Do not use hair dryers on high heat settings. Do not color or perm your hair. Use curling irons carefully so you do not burn yourself. Do not use hair gel, spray, or cream until stitches have been removed, or as directed.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return within 1 week to have your stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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