What is a forehead lift?

A forehead lift is the surgical removal of excess fat and skin, as well as a tightening of the muscles in the forehead area. It can correct sagging brows or deep furrows between the eyes. It is often done in conjunction with a facelift, in order to create a smoother facial appearance overall.

There are two types of surgical techniques available for a forehead lift, including the classic forehead lift and the endoscopic forehead lift:

  • Classic forehead lift

    In the classic forehead lift, the surgeon will make an incision that is similar to a headphone-like pattern. This incision is called a coronal incision and starts at about ear level and continues across the top of the forehead to the other ear. The surgeon then carefully lifts the skin of the forehead removing any excess tissue and fat and, if necessary, realigns the muscles. During the procedure, the eyebrows may also be repositioned at a higher level, and any excess skin is trimmed.

  • Endoscopic forehead lift

    The difference between the endoscopic forehead lift and the classic forehead lift is the size of the incision. With the endoscopic forehead lift, the surgeon makes three to five short scalp incisions that are each less than an inch long. An endoscope is then inserted through one of the incisions allowing the surgeon to see the muscles and tissues underneath. In a different incision, the surgeon inserts another instrument that lifts the forehead skin. Excess tissue and fat are then removed and, if necessary, muscles are realigned. Like the classic forehead lift, the eyebrows may also be repositioned at a higher level. The recovery period and scarring is minimal, in comparison to the classic forehead lift.

Possible complications associated with forehead lifts:

Possible complications associated with forehead lift surgeries may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Scar formation

    Although rare, the formation of a scar may occur. It can be treated surgically by removing the wide scar tissue, allowing a new, thinner scar to appear.

  • Eyebrow movement problems

    Also uncommon is injury to the nerves that control movement of the eyebrows. This can cause the loss of ability to raise the eyebrows or wrinkle the forehead. Surgery may be necessary to correct this problem.

  • Sensation loss

    The loss of sensation around the incision is especially common with the classic forehead lift. Although it is usually temporary, it can be permanent.

  • Complications during procedure

    During the endoscopic forehead lift, there is a slight chance of complications arising causing the surgeon to switch techniques and proceed with the classic forehead lift. This can result in a more extensive scar and a longer recovery period.

Who are candidates for forehead lift?

A forehead lift can help people of any age who have developed furrows or frown lines due to stress, muscle activity, or inherited conditions, such as a low, heavy brow or furrowed lines above the nose. However, it is most commonly performed on people ages 40 to 60, to minimize the visible effects of aging.

Forehead lift is often performed in conjunction with a facelift or eyelid lift surgery.

About the procedure:

Although each procedure varies, generally, forehead lift surgeries follow this process:

  • Location options include:

    • Surgeon's office-based surgical facility

    • Outpatient surgery center

    • Hospital outpatient

    • Hospital inpatient

  • Location options may include:

    • General anesthesia

    • Local anesthesia, combined with a sedative (allows the patient to remain awake but relaxed) for adults

  • Some possible short-term side effects of surgery:

    • Numbness and temporary discomfort around the incision(s)

    • Swelling that may affect the cheeks and eyes

    • Numbness on the top of the scalp may eventually be replaced by itching

    • Pain is usually minimal

    • Bruising

Medical Reviewer: [Akin, Louise RN BSN, Jenkins, Lee] Copyright: Copyright © 2007 Staywell Content Services, Inc. except where otherwise noted.


Top Features in Skin, Hair and Nails

15 Ways To Get Better Medicine

People who are actively involved in their medical care stay healthier, recover quicker when they're ill, and live longer, healthier lives.