How do I know if I need a brow lift?
A brow lift is a surgical procedure that lifts, shapes, and repositions drooping brows. Browlift surgery typically requires an hour of surgery time which is performed under general anesthesia in an accredited ambulatory surgery center. The most obvious reason for a brow lift is to reshape heavy or drooping eyebrows that crowd the eyes and make the upper eyelids appear heavy. Another reason for browlift surgery is to recreate the arched, beautiful, and youthful brow that can be lost with aging.
Difference Between Brow Lift and Upper Eyelid Surgery
Patients often believe they need a brow lift when, in fact, they need upper eyelid surgery or vice versa. In cases of drooping eyebrows and heavy eyelids, both a browlift and an upper eyelid lift might be required for optimal results. Because the eyebrows and the upper eyelids are so close together, not all patients initially identify the root cause of their cosmetic concerns.
A brow lift and an upper blepharoplasty are two very different procedures that each address unique problems. Most often the only way to determine with certainty what procedure is best suited to achieving your goals is an in-person consultation with a facial plastic surgeon.
The core differences between the two procedures are these:
- Brow Lift: A brow lift addresses the weakening and descent of the eyebrows that occurs with age and restores your eyebrows back to a more youthful, shapely position. You need a brow lift if your eyebrows currently sit at a lower level than you’d like them to or if the delicate arch of your brow has flattened. You can simulate this at home by lifting and repositioning your brow (with a fingertip) into a natural, youthful position. If this creates a pretty brow and an open, refreshed upper eyelid you are likely a candidate for a brow lift procedure and can expect improvement in both eyebrow shape and upper eyelid heaviness.
- Upper Eyelid Surgery: Upper eyelid surgery (also known as blepharoplasty) tackles excess sagging skin and fatty tissue in the upper eyelids. You can benefit from an upper eyelid surgery if your eyebrows are elevated, youthful, and arched but your upper eyelids appear aged and tired due to excess upper eyelid skin.
- Combination Surgery: In cases of the severe brow and eye aging, you might benefit most from a surgery that combines lifting and shaping of the eyebrow with the removal of excess upper eyelid tissue at the same time. This is more commonly required than you might think. The reason that some people require a combined approach is that there is a limit of improvement that can be achieved with either a brow lift or a blepharoplasty surgery, alone.
Is there a lot of scarring after browlift or eyelid surgery?
Every incision, even those made during surgery, creates a small scar. However, plastic surgery incisions are typically placed in areas where they camouflage well and are repaired with very delicate technique minimizing scarring. Incision for browlift surgery are most often hidden within the scalp hair where they are nearly imperceptible. Incisions for upper eyelid, or blepharoplasty, surgery are hidden within the upper eyelid crease where they are hidden when your eyes are open.
Non-Surgical Alternatives to Brow Lift/ Browlift Without Surgery
While not a replacement for browlift surgery, Botox can be utilized to create a subtle and temporary improvement in the brow shape and position. In the vast majority of cases, browlift surgery will be much more effective but for patients with good brow position looking for a subtle enhancement, Botox is a safe, affordable and no downtime alternative to brow surgery. Injections are placed within the forehead between the hairline and eyebrows and just beneath the outer part of the brow. Results take three to five days to be visualized and last up to three months.
Reasons for a Brow Lift
If you are unhappy with the current appearance of your forehead and upper eyelids, you should consider a brow lift. The most common reasons for a brow lift surgery include:
- Heavy brows
- Flat brows
- Drooping brows
- Asymmetrical brows
- Heaviness limited to the outer part of the upper eyelids known as eyelid “hooding”
Brow Lift Approaches / Types of Browlift Procedures
Dr. Weber will examine your eyebrows, forehead, and hairline to curate a treatment plan suitable for your specific needs. Depending on your hairline, one of three standard approaches will be used in a brow lift.
- Endoscopic: The endoscopic brow lift is suitable for people with a low, normal or very slightly elevated hairline. It involves lifting and repositioning the brows and forehead tissue without removing any scalp tissue. This is considered the gold standard approach at this time.
- Trichophytic: The trichophytic brow lift is suitable for people with a higher hairline and it involves creating virtually invisible curvilinear incisions along the hairline to remove skin tissue from just under the hairline. The process elevates the brows while, at the same time, lowering the hairline.
- Coronal: The coronal brow lift is one of the least common approaches used and is suitable for patients with a low hairline. The procedure involves removing scalp tissue from behind the hairline in order to lift and reposition the brows. It is expected that this approach will also elevate the hairline limiting the utility of this procedure to people who already have a low hairline.
Setting for Brow Lift and Upper Eyelid Surgery: Where the procedure is done
- Brow Lift: The brow lift procedure is performed in an accredited ambulatory surgery center under general anesthesia.
- Upper Eyelid Surgery: Upper eyelid surgery is an in-office procedure performed under local anesthesia with oral sedation. Upper blepharoplasty can also be performed under IV sedation or general anesthesia if you prefer or if you are also planning to undergo a brow lift procedure, at the same time.
What are the potential risks and complications that are possible following browlift surgery?
Complications can typically be broken down into generic surgical risks and those that are specific to browlift surgery. Generic surgical risks include the potential for excessive bleeding, infection, visible scars and need for revision or touchup surgery. These risks are uncommon. With regard to browlift surgery specific risks, it is possible to develop temporary numbness over the incisions or within areas of the scalp. This can take several months to resolve but is encountered very infrequently. It is also rarely possible to experience hair loss around the incision sites. This usually is often very limited and resolves with several months of healing.
Most patients who undergo browlift surgery will have no visible incisions in the early recovery period as they are hidden within the scalp. It is quite possible that browlift patients will develop bruising in the undereye area. This typically resolves within five to seven days.
Where can I find browlift before and after photos?
You can find browlift before and after photos in our browlift before and after gallery which can be found here.
How long does a browlift result last?
Browlift results ARE permanent. However, the same aging processes that have resulted in your heavy brow will not be eliminated by surgery. These issues include sun damage, gravity, genetic aging and , smoking among others. While maintaining a healthy diet and limiting sun exposure will prolong the benefits of surgery, it is possible that the brows will droop to some degree during the first ten years following surgery.
At what age can I undergo a browlift?
Browlift is an option for patients of all ages. While the majority of our browlift patients are aged 45-75 years old, patients in their 20s and 30s who have hereditary heavy brows or eyelids can be appropriate candidates for browlift surgery.
Most people have a hard time determining if they need a brow lift or an upper eyelid surgery. You should ideally leave that decision in a professional’s hands. Dr. Weber carefully examines your eyelids, eyebrows, hairline and forehead to determine the root cause of hanging or drooping brows, and curates the ideal treatment for your specific needs, which may involve a brow lift, an upper eyelid surgery, or both.