Getting older can mean that your eyebrows start to droop, lines start to form across your forehead and your eyes start to develop a more hooded look. The changes that occur in the area around your brows and forehead can make you not only look older, but also tired and angry.
For years, the best way to rejuvenate the upper area of the face was with a brow lift, or forehead lift. Not every patient is ready for surgery or able to physically handle surgery, but might still want to do something about the sagging and wrinkles in the brow area.
A non-surgical option, Botox injections, might be suitable for patients who want to do something about the signs of aging on the upper part of their face, but don’t want to, or can’t, deal with surgery at the moment.
What They Do
Botox was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 for use in treating frown lines, or glabellar lines, that develop between the eyebrows. The two vertical lines, which resemble a pair of 1s, form after years of repeated muscle movements, caused by frowning or furrowing the brow. In 2013, the FDA also approved Botox for use in treating crow’s feet, the crinkly lines that form at the corners of the eyes after years of squinting or laughing.
The injection works by helping the muscles relax and by keeping the nerves from sending signals to the muscles. For that reason, it is commonly used to treat lines and wrinkles that form as a result of movements in other areas of the face, such as forehead lines, lines that form on the neck from repeated movements and a droopy brow that develops after years of raising and lifting the eyebrows.
While Botox works by blocking nerve signals, a brow lift is effective because it involves removing excess from the forehead and eyebrow area. During the procedure, the surgeon trims away extra skin, extra muscle and extra fat, if needed. One of the more commonly performed type of brow lifts these days is the endoscopic lift, which requires the surgeon to make a few small incisions, which are often hidden by the hair. During an endoscopic lift, the surgeon is guided by a small camera.
The traditional form of brow lift, known as a coronal or open procedure, involves a much larger incision. It’s generally reserved for patients who have extra skin in the area that needs to be removed. While Botox injections can help if you have just a small degree of drooping, a brow lift might be your best option if you need more pronounced or dramatic results.
Prep and Recovery
One of the big differences between Botox and a brow lift is the amount of preparation you need beforehand and the length of recovery afterwards. Usually, minimal preparation is needed if you’re going to receive Botox. To reduce the risk of bruising, your surgeon might recommend that you avoid taking aspirin or another blood thinner for a few days before the injection. But, you won’t have to change many of your habits or avoid eating for hours before your injection.
Typically, preparing for a brow lift requires a much longer period. You’ll want to discuss your medical history with your doctor, talk about any medications or supplements you’re taking, and learn about any habits you need to change or give up, such as smoking.
Recovery is also much longer after a brow lift than after Botox injections. Most people are able to go back to work or their other activities right after an injection. After a brow lift, you may need to take as much as two weeks off from work to allow for a full recovery. After that point, you might need to limit certain activities for an additional few weeks.
The other big difference between Botox and a brow lift is the type of results you get and how long those results last. While Botox can help completely fade frown lines, it might not provide as much of an actual lift as you were hoping for. Additionally, Botox results typically only last for three months, at which point you’ll need to repeat the injection to get your brow back.
The results from a brow lift tend to be much more noticeable, giving you a more rejuvenated look without making it look as though you’ve had surgery. Results from a brow lift also last much longer, usually several years at the very least to up to about a decade.
If you are not happy with the way your brow and forehead area looks, speaking with a facial plastic surgeon who offers brow lift surgery and Botox can help you better understand your options. Dr. Stephen Smith is a fourth-generation plastic surgeon in Ohio who offers both treatments at his two practices. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Smith in Gahanna, Ohio, call (614) 702-7342. If you’d prefer to see him in Columbus, Ohio, call 614-678-7180 to schedule an appointment today.