Why so sad? Deep furrows across the brow and between the eyebrows, or even sagging eyebrows not only age us but also suggest we are unhappy or dissatisfied when we’re not. A brow lift simply elevates the area above the brows and weakens the muscles that cause furrows on the forehead and between the eyes. The result is a smoother, youthful forehead and a more wide-eyed look.
Every incision has the possibility to leave a permanent scar, but endoscopic surgery scars are barely visible to a trained eye. Three to five very short (approximately one cm) incisions are made, (and they are usually behind the hairline). An endoscope, (a pencil-like camera device), is then inserted through one of the incisions.
A forehead lift or ‘brow lift’ sees the surgeon remove or alter the muscles and tissues that caused the furrowing or drooping so that eyebrows lift and frown lines are minimised.
Step Right Up
Brow lifts are most commonly performed on the 40 to 60-year old demographic, (and often in conjunction with a face lift or blepharoplasty), in an attempt to minimise the visible effects of aging and impart a more alert and refreshed look.
Without excluding our younger patients, anyone aged from 20, with deep furrows or frown lines caused by stress or muscle activity is a likely candidate for a brow lift. Those with inherited facial traits (low, heavy brows or furrowed lines above the nose) can also benefit greatly from this procedure.
Risks and Complications
Although rare, surgical procedures can encounter complications. All surgery carries risk, and you must be aware of the associated risks with this procedure before consenting to surgery. Discuss these with your surgeon during consultation and be sure to ask questions. You’ll be expected to sign a pre-surgery consent form and your surgery will not go ahead if you do not sign.
Also remember that it is your obligation to inform your surgeon of vital medical information that could influence your surgery or increase the level of risk. Information that you should share and provide as much detail as possible about includes your medical history (family disease, medical complications, etc. as well as previous surgeries and current and recent medications).
No two patients are alike, with risk rates varying and depending on many factors. The risks listed below are possible with a brow lift and are mentioned regardless of how remote the possibility:
- an asymmetrical look
- broad or excessive scarring
- excessive pulling of the skin may result in a permanently ‘surprised’ look (you may appear this way initially, but most patients notice the skin relaxes soon after)
- hematoma (localised swelling caused by accumulation of blood, requiring removal)
- hyperpigmentation (permanent discolouration) caused by bruising
- loss of motion
- numbness/injury to facial nerves
- muscle weakness
- necrosis of the tissues at the incision lines, requiring additional removal
Fountain of Youth
Results are semi-permanent as we will all continue to age. Also note that endoscopic techniques may not last nearly as long as the coronal lift, but they are much less invasive.
Your surgeon will details your options and outline realistic results. You’ll also discuss anaesthesia choices and fees and what you can expect post-operatively. This is your time to ask questions regarding any concerns and determine if the surgery and the surgeon are right for you. Do not hesitate or refrain from expressing any concerns.
After you’re anaesthetised or sedated, your surgeon will determine the area to excise and the best incision points for your particular needs. That skin will be dissected and your surgeon will move and suture either your muscle or skin or it may even be decided to excise or ‘clip’ your corrugator muscle (to prohibit future frowning). Once the internal work is complete, your incisions will be sutured before applying a pressure dressing.
Expect to be swollen, tender and possibly bruised so do not be alarmed. Take your prescribed medications (to alleviate and normalise your pain) and don’t forget your antibiotics and eye salves if instructed to do so. You’ll also feel ‘out of it’ or groggy from the anaesthetic. It’s best not to fight it and try to rest as much as possible.
No Pain, No Gain
The sutures and/or staples will be removed in a week to 10 days. This may be uncomfortable and hurt slightly, although your surgeon can administer injections of the pain reliever, Lidocaine in case your staples prove difficult or are painful when removing.
The results are immediate but remember that you will be swollen so you must be patient during the healing period. The expected results will be visible in a few months. You may believe your brows are too high, which is normal and they will relax. Numbness along the incisions should subside within six months but could remain indefinitely in some patients. Do remember to be patient and kind with yourself during this adjustment and healing period.
Standard hospital procedure requires that your surgeon perform laboratory investigations and/or diagnostic examinations to ensure that you are fit for surgery, prior to hospital admission and surgery.
Time required: One to two hours
Anaesthesia: Local with sedation or general anaesthesia
- temporary swelling
Back to work: Within seven to 10 days.
More strenuous activity: Allow several weeks rest
Scars will fade: Within three weeks and limit sun exposure for several months with eventual results lasting five to ten years.
Note: This information acts as a guide to your possible treatment. Your individual concerns and specific medical history will need to be shared and discussed with your surgeon during your initial consultation.