Learn everything about your treatment
Learn everything about your treatment
1 to 2 hours
Day case or one night
General anaesthetic or local anaesthetic with sedation
6 to 12 months
Brow lift overview
What is a brow lift?
A brow lift is a very popular cosmetic procedure in the UK. The medical name for a brow lift is a browplasty. Before considering having this procedure, it is important that you fully understand what the procedure involves. This brow lift overview will explain what a brow lift is and what it can achieve.
What can a brow lift achieve?
In a brow lift, the skin of the forehead is pulled and secured back. This acts to elevate the eyebrows and reduce wrinkles on the forehead.
As you age, your skin begins to lose its elasticity, causing your skin to hang more loosely. This is how you develop wrinkles. This loss of elastic tissue on your forehead can, therefore, cause wrinkling of the skin in that area and can also cause drooping of the eyebrows over your eyelids. In a brow lift, your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon would pull the forehead skin back and secure it in place so that it will no longer hang loosely. This will eliminate both forehead wrinkles and drooping eyebrows.
You may consider having a brow lift if you:
- Would like to get rid of wrinkles on your forehead
- Would like to lift low-set or drooping eyebrows
- Are self-conscious of frown lines between your eyebrows
- Have seen no improvement in the drooping of your forehead after having Botox injections
- Are experiencing visual disturbances due to the drooping of your forehead or brows.
Who are BAAPS & BAPRAS?
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) are the two main plastic surgery societies in the UK. These societies promote ongoing teaching, learning, and research in all members of the society. Plastic surgeons who are members of either society attend regular teaching and training conferences to ensure their skills and technique are adequate and up to date.
At Medbelle, we want to ensure that all of our patients receive the highest standard of care available. This is why we choose to only work with surgeons who belong to either BAAPS or BAPRAS. When choosing your surgeon, it is very important for you to check if they are a BAAPS/BAPRAS member before planning to have surgery. This will ensure you are in safe hands for your brow lift.
Brow lift candidates
Who are the best candidates for a brow lift?
A brow lift is a popular cosmetic procedure for both men and women in the UK. While some people have a naturally low-set brow which causes their eyebrows to hood over their eyelids, others may develop a drooping brow as they age. This happens because their skin begins to hang more loosely as it loses its elasticity. This can also cause wrinkles to develop on the forehead. These features can cause people to be unhappy or self-conscious with the appearance of their face. If so, they may be suitable brow lift candidates.
A brow lift will lift the skin of the forehead and secure it back, elevating the brow and removing the appearance of wrinkles. You may be a suitable candidate for a brow lift if you:
- Have wrinkles on your forehead that you wish to eliminate.
- Are concerned about frown lines which are present between your eyebrows.
- Have hooded upper eyelids because of a low-set or drooping brow.
- Are experiencing trouble with your vision due to your low-set or drooping brow.
- Have had botulinum toxin injections in your forehead and are not happy with the results.
- Are relatively fit and well.
- Have a healthy BMI.
- Do not suffer with any serious medical conditions.
- Have realistic goals for your surgery.
- Feel mentally and emotionally ready to undergo this procedure.
Why have a brow lift?
Brow lift candidates may be unhappy with the natural appearance of their forehead or they may be dissatisfied with how the aging process is affecting this area. A brow lift will lift, tighten and correct drooping of loose skin in the forehead, upper eyelids and eyebrow area. As a result a brow lift can:
- Give you a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance.
- Correct any asymmetry of the forehead and eyebrows.
- Improve the confidence you have in yourself.
What a brow lift will not resolve
It is important to remember that a brow lift focuses on the area of your forehead. While a brow lift will restore a more youthful appearance to the forehead, there are some issues this procedure will not address. These include:
- Sagging of the eyelid.
- Wrinkling and sagging of the mid and lower face.
Despite the fact a brow lift will not address these issues, other procedures are available that will! For example, if you are unhappy with the drooping or sagging of your eyelids, you may wish to consider a blepharoplasty. This can be carried out alongside a brow lift. Furthermore, if you would like to address the sagging of the skin on your mid to lower face, you may wish to consider a face or neck lift.
In summary, you should understand exactly what a brow lift can achieve before you decide to have the surgery. If you would like to address issues you have on other areas of your face in addition, be aware that you will require further surgical procedures to do so.
Brow lift procedure
How is a brow lift performed?
A brow lift procedure usually takes 1 to 2 hours to perform. Your surgeon is likely to do the procedure under general anesthetic, however, it can also be done under local anesthetic with sedation. After your brow lift is complete, you will be able to go home either that day or the next day. Before your brow lift procedure, you will meet with your BAAPS/BAPRAS consultant. During this consultation, they will discuss with you the details of when you will be required to stop eating and drinking before your surgery. They will also discuss with you any changes you need to make to your medication schedule.
Before your surgery, you will meet with your surgeon to consent to your brow lift procedure. This will either be at your pre-operative assessment or on the day of your surgery. Your surgeon will go through the procedure itself, the risks and complications and answer any questions you may have. You will then be given a consent form to read. If you are happy with all the information and would like to proceed with the surgery, you will sign the consent form.
You will meet your anesthetist on the day of your brow lift procedure. They will likely use a general anesthetic to put you to sleep for the duration of the surgery. This may leave you feeling slightly groggy for a while but will wear off within a few hours. Another anesthetic option is also available. Your anesthetist could also numb the forehead area and sedate you for the procedure. On the day of your surgery, your anesthetist will discuss both options with you and you can decide together which is most suitable for you.
A brow lift procedure can be done using a number of different techniques. The technique your surgeon chooses for you will depend on the condition of your skin, your facial features and the position of your hairline.
Endoscopic brow lift
This technique may be suitable for you if you have mild to moderate brow drooping and horizontal forehead wrinkles.
- Your surgeon will make several small incisions in various parts of your scalp.
- They will insert a thin tube with a camera on the end through these incisions to adjust the muscles and tissue under the skin.
- They will lift the forehead skin upwards and reattach it at a different height, thus lifting the eyebrows.
Open brow lift
Your surgeon may choose this technique for you if you have more advanced brow drooping and deep-set forehead wrinkles. This is the traditional brow lift method and gives more long-lasting results. It is important to note, however, that this technique is also more invasive than other approaches and results in greater scarring.
- Your surgeon will make an incision from one ear to the other, along and slightly behind your hairline.
- They will lift your forehead skin, adjusting and tightening the underlying muscles and tissue.
- They will remove a small strip of your scalp before stretching the forehead skin into a new position.
- Your scar will be concealed within your hairline.
Anterior hairline brow lift
This method is ideal for patients who have a receding hairline or high forehead. This is because your surgeon can lift your brows but not alter the position of your hairline. It is also possible to shorten the forehead or address brow asymmetry with this technique.
- Your surgeon will make an incision across your forehead, just in front of your hairline.
- They will lift the forehead skin, adjusting and tightening the underlying muscles and tissue.
- They will remove a small strip of your forehead skin before stretching it back into a new position, raising your brows.
Lateral temporal brow lift
This procedure only lifts the lateral aspect of your brows and is the least invasive approach to a brow lift. It does not address wrinkles in the center of the forehead or between the brows. Therefore, it is most suitable for patients who have mild to moderate sagging of the outer brow area and forehead and want a less invasive procedure with a quicker recovery time.
- Your surgeon will make a small incision behind your hairline in your temples (sides of the head).
- They will adjust and tighten your forehead skin and underlying tissue to lift it to a better position, thereby raising the outer portion of your brow.
Gull-wing brow lift
This technique results in the greatest scarring and is, as a result, less commonly performed. It is most suitable for patients with severe brow or forehead drooping (also known as ptosis). It is also suitable for patients who would like to lower a high or receding hairline.
- Your surgeon will make incisions along or directly above your eyebrows.
- They will remove a section of skin and the underlying tissue above the eyebrows, which acts to raise your brows.
4. Closing of incisions
Once your surgeon achieves the desired result from your brow lift procedure, they will close the incisions with stitches or glue.
5. Return to the ward
Finally, you will return to the ward after your surgery. You will likely stay there for a few hours or overnight to allow the effects of the anesthesia to wear off before you can go home.
Brow lift consultation
What should I expect from my brow lift consultation?
You will meet with your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon for a brow lift consultation before having the procedure. This will give you both an opportunity to discuss the procedure itself, your personal goals for the surgery and the most suitable technique to use for you. The consultation usually lasts from 15 minutes to 1 hour. During this time, your surgeon will ask you for more information regarding:
- Your current health condition
- Any relevant past medical history
- Your previous surgical history
- Any medication you may take (this includes prescribed, over the counter and herbal medications)
- Your use of cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs
- Any allergies you may have.
We stress the importance of being as open and honest with your surgeon as possible. This will allow them to make fully informed decisions about what is best for your care. It will also allow you to be frank about your goals and ensure that they are realistic and achievable. This, in turn, will mean you are more likely to be happy with the results of your brow lift.
During your brow lift consultation, your surgeon will examine your forehead area in order to decide the most appropriate surgical technique to use for you. They will consider the features of this area that you are concerned about, the quality of your skin and the position of your hairline. They may also ask for permission to take before and after pictures of the area for your medical records.
What questions should you ask during your brow lift consultation?
While your brow lift consultation is an opportunity for your surgeon to learn information about you, it is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have. You may find it useful to write down any questions you can think of about your procedure on a piece of paper before the consultation. This way, you will feel prepared. As a result, you will hopefully not feel like you have forgotten to ask something important after you leave. Below is a list of questions you may wish to ask your surgeon during your consultation:
- Which brow lift technique do you think is most suitable for me?
- Will the technique chosen for me affect my hairline?
- Will there be scarring and if so, where?
- Do you think my goals for this procedure are realistic?
- How long will it take for me to recover after my brow lift?
- Have you got any before and after pictures of previous brow lifts you have performed?
- How long can I expect the results of my brow lift to last?
- What are my options if I am not happy with the results?
Brow lift risks and complications
What are the main risks of a brow lift?
As with any surgical procedure, a brow lift comes with risks and complication. It is important to fully educate yourself about all brow lift risks and complications before deciding to continue with the procedure. Our BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeons strongly recommend that you spend at least two weeks thinking over all the information before deciding to continue with the surgery.
While many of the brow lift risks and complications below are uncommon, it is still useful to know there is a possibility that they can occur. The risk and complications of a brow lift include:
Hair loss and hairline elevation
Hair loss may occur around the areas of the incision. This loss may be temporary or may cause a permanent reduction of hair growth. A brow lift procedure may also result in an elevated hairline. You may like to ask your surgeon how likely this risk is with the technique they will use on you.
One of the brow lift risks and complications includes skin discolouration. Most people will see a slight change in the colour of their skin in the area where the operation was performed. If this does occur, it will most likely settle after some months. In the meantime, makeup can be a useful tool if you wish to cover these colour changes.
Any surgery is an invasive procedure and with this comes the risk of introducing infection into the body. Infections usually become apparent in the first 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. You may notice that your wounds or treatment areas are not settling as expected. Mild infections generally settle down with a course of antibiotics.
The signs of infection to look out for are:
- A temperature of over 38° C.
- Redness at the incision site that begins to spread outwards from that site.
- Yellow pus or foul-smelling fluid coming from your wounds.
- An increase in pain or discomfort that your pain medication does not help.
Tissue or skin necrosis
It is a possibility that some areas of skin may die if blood supply to that area is lost during surgery. This is called necrosis and is much more likely to occur in smokers. This is a very rare complication but you must be aware that if it were to happen, it may affect the final results of your brow lift. You may also require another operation to help fix the damage.
Injury to your nerves during surgery can lead to a loss of sensation or movement in the face. This may be temporary or permanent but generally, long-term loss of sensation or movement is a rare complication. Choosing an experienced, highly qualified BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon to do your surgery helps minimize this risk.
Bruising and bleeding
Mild bleeding and bruising is common following a brow lift procedure and is usually temporary. If more severe bleeding occurs, it may form a solid collection of blood under the skin which is called a haematoma. This presents with pain, significant bruising and facial or neck swelling. Almost all haematomas occur within 24 hours of your procedure and require medical attention. Despite this, it should not significantly affect the results of your brow lift.
As your surgeon will be making incisions on the treatment area, you should expect that scars are unavoidable. In most cases, however, scarring is minimal and well hidden within the hair or hairline. The extent of scarring depends on the technique used and your skins ability to heal.
There is always a risk that you will be unhappy with the results of your brow lift for aesthetic reasons. This means you may not be happy with how your face looks after surgery. Indeed, there is a risk that there may be some asymmetry in your facial features. Therefore, we advise that you choose your surgeon carefully and make sure they have the necessary experience and qualifications. We also recommend that you are clear and frank about your goals during your consultation. This will make it more likely that you will be happy with the results of your brow lift.
General surgical complications
All surgical procedures carry some common risks. These general surgical complications include but are not limited to:
- The development of blood clots.
- Risks of anesthesia.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Post-operative pain.
Brow lift preparation
How can I prepare for a brow lift?
Your brow lift preparation is easier than ever with the list of tips we have put together for you! Getting things in order before your surgery will no doubt help to make your post-operative period as smooth and easy as possible. You may like to come up with more ideas but here are some suggestions we have put together for preparing for a brow lift:
Make your recovery more relaxed by getting all your cleaning jobs out of the way beforehand. It may help to get on top of the laundry, take out the rubbish and give the house a clean so that you can take a few days off after your brow lift.
It is likely your face will be bruised and swollen after your surgery and you may not feel like going shopping. The solution? Do a big food shop to keep you going the day before your procedure. You may also like to make up some meals and freeze them, that way you won’t have to worry about cooking.
You may like to organise for friends or family to help look after kids or pets for a few days after your brow lift. Organizing this in advance will help prevent you any unnecessary stress during your recovery period.
If you are planning to have any hair or facial treatments, we recommend you do these before your surgery. Your scars will be sensitive to the chemicals often used in these treatments for the first few weeks.
Due to the anaesthesia used during surgery, you will be unable to drive yourself home. You may, therefore, like to ask someone you know to drive you home.
We advise you choose to wear clothing that zips or fastens easily at the back or the front so you do not have to pull anything over your head. This will avoid contact with the treatment area and make sure you are comfortable!
Eating and drinking
We advise that you try to stick to high-protein, low-sodium foods like fruit and vegetables after your brow lift. Avoid consuming high amounts of salt and sugar while you recover. Drink water regularly to stay hydrated and aim to avoid beverages containing caffeine.
Ensure you have plenty of extra pillows to help you elevate your head while sleeping after your surgery. Your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will advise that you rest and sleep on your back in an inclined position, avoiding lying flat. This will help reduce your swelling.
Brow lift aftercare
What can I expect after a brow lift?
Knowing what to expect after your brow lift can help prevent any fears or worries of the unknown. When you meet with your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon, they will discuss the details of your brow lift aftercare. This will include time frames for when you can go back to work, when you can begin driving again and when you can resume normal exercise.
Before you leave the hospital after your surgery, you will be given an appointment to come back for a post-operative review. This is usually 1 to 2 weeks after your brow lift. At this appointment, your surgeon will remove any non-dissolvable stitches and ensure that you are recovering as expected.
How will I feel after my surgery?
How you feel immediately after surgery will depend on what anesthetic your anesthetist chooses to use. If they opt for a general anesthetic you will wake up slowly after your brow lift. Your memory and concentration may be affected but this will usually resolve after 1 to 2 days. On the other hand, if they choose local anesthetic, you may feel numbness around the treatment area. This too will wear off with time.
How will I get home after my surgery?
You will not be able to drive home after your brow lift. Therefore, you should arrange for someone to collect you. You may also need to ask an adult to supervise you for the first 24 hours after your operation. This is because you may still be experiencing side effects from the anaesthetic.
Will I have any dressings after my surgery?
Your surgeon will wrap your forehead in a dressing and an elastic bandage after your brow lift. This will help minimize swelling and bruising after the procedure. Your surgeon will explain how long you will have to keep this on for at your consultation. Your surgeon may also place a thin tube in the skin to drain away any excess blood or fluid. They will remove any non-dissolvable stitches and check your progress 1 to 2 weeks after your surgery at your post-operative appointment.
How much time will I have to take off work?
The amount of time you will require to take off from work will depend on the type of job you have. We recommend that you take at least 1 week off if you have an office job and at least 2 weeks off if you have a more physically demanding job. Furthermore, we advise that you avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activity during this time off.
When can I begin exercising again?
As part of your brow lift aftercare, we advise that you try to do some light walking every day to keep active after you leave the hospital. You can attempt some light cardio from 2 weeks after your surgery. Avoid any strenuous activity or contact sports for at least 4 to 6 weeks after your brow lift.
Will I be in pain after my brow lift?
It is common to experience pain, swelling and bruising around your forehead, brows and eyes after a brow lift. This can take several days to settle. You will be given appropriate pain medications to help minimize your discomfort.
Sleeping upright with your head elevated for one week after your brow lift surgery to help reduce the swelling and may also help with discomfort.
What will my scars be like after my brow lift?
The positioning of your scars will depend on the technique your surgeon chooses to perform your brow lift. Usually, scars tend to be pink and raised in the first few weeks after surgery and eventually fade to faint white lines over the following months. As the incisions used for this procedure are usually underneath or along the hairline, your surgeon is generally able to hide the scars well.
When will I see the final results of my brow lift?
Brow lift aftercare does not just involve the few weeks it takes for your swelling and bruising to go down. It is the journey from your actual surgery to the point at which you are finally able to appreciate the final results of your brow lift. Although the results of your brow lift surgery are immediately visible, it can take around 6 to 12 months to appreciate the full cosmetic results. Therefore, it is important to stay patient.
Initially, in the first few days after surgery, your brows may appear to be higher than expected. Your brows will gradually settle into the desired position with time.
Brow lift FAQs
What are some common brow lift FAQs?
Some of the most common brow lift FAQs have been listed below. These may help you think of some questions you hadn’t considered before and will hopefully answer any questions you do have.
Will the NHS pay for my brow lift?
Brow lifts are not usually available on the NHS for cosmetic reasons. However, it may be provided by the NHS if the drooping of your brows is affecting your vision or making it difficult for you to open your eyelids. You may like to speak to your GP about whether not you would qualify for the NHS to pay for your surgery.
Do I need a GP referral for cosmetic surgery?
Generally, most cosmetic surgeons will be happy to see you for an initial consultation without a referral from your GP. It is likely, however, that they will ask permission to contact your GP if you decide to opt for a brow lift. This will be to gain access to medical information they will need to know about you.
When can I shower and wash my hair after surgery?
Your BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon will give you specific advice regarding when you can shower and wash your hair after a brow lift. Generally, you may shower the day after the surgery and wash your hair with a mild shampoo two days after surgery. Blow dry your hair on the cool setting or if possible, let it dry naturally. Take care to be gentle when combing or brushing your hair.
How long will my results last for?
The results of your brow lift will last many years. Despite this, no procedure can stop the effects of time and aging. As a result, some mold wrinkle lines may return over the following years. The technique used, your skin thickness and elasticity and environmental damage will also affect how long the results last for.
What effect will drugs have on my procedure?
The use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs can increase the risks of complications for your brow lift. Consequently, we recommend that you stop smoking for at least six weeks before and after your surgery. You may even like to use this as an opportunity to quit smoking. We also advise that you try to cut down on your alcohol consumption around the time of your brow lift.