People age in different ways. Depending on your genes, facial movements and lifestyle habits, you might begin to show signs of aging in the forehead or eyebrow area before you start to age in the lower portion of your face. Just as people age in different ways, different surgeries are designed to focus on different areas. While the term “facelift” might imply that the procedure focuses on the entire facial area, it’s actually generally used to correct sagging and wrinkles on the lower part of the face. Signs of aging on the upper part of the face, or forehead, are generally addressed with a brow lift.
Why Would I Want a Brow Lift?
You might consider a brow lift if you are concerned about a number of changes to the upper part of your face. Aging can cause the eyebrows to become heavy and droopy, which makes people look as though they are sleepy, or in some cases, angry. Wrinkles can also form in the forehead or brow area, which make you look older than you feel or upset, even when you are not. The lines can be two vertical lines that form between the brows or horizontal lines that stretch across the forehead. The surgery can smooth those creases or lines and elevate a drooping brow.
What Are My Options for Surgery?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to a brow lift. Depending on your specific needs, the surgeon may perform the surgery endoscopically or he or she may perform a traditional procedure, which involves a larger incision. During an endoscopic procedure, the surgeon makes a few very small incisions in your hairline. He or she then uses a small scope, or camera, to help him or her see where to remove or trim away extra skin, muscle or fat. Since the incisions are small and hidden, many patients who have an endoscopic procedure performed do not have to worry about scarring.
The incision made during a traditional, or open brow lift, is generally much larger. It stretches across the head, usually just inside the hairline. Depending on how much extra skin or tissue you have and the degree of sagging on your forehead, the traditional procedure might be more appropriate for you.
Brow lift procedures can also vary in terms of what type of anesthesia the surgeon uses. General anesthesia is commonly used, which means you’ll be completely out of it during the surgery. Another option is local anesthesia, which numbs the area, combined with sedation, which makes you sleepy but doesn’t completely knock you out. Your surgeon will review the pros and cons of each option to help you determine which is most appropriate.
What Can I Expect During Recovery?
Since a brow lift is a surgical procedure, you can anticipate there being some downtime. It will take a few weeks for swelling, bruising and redness to subside. Many patients take up to two weeks off from work to rest up and recuperate. The exact length of your recovery depends in part on the type of procedure you have performed. An endoscopic surgery generally has a shorter recovery period than a traditional procedure, for example.
You’ll want to stay in touch with your surgeon during the recovery period. He will prescribe pain medications for you to take, if needed, and will arrange for the bandages or sutures to be removed, as needed.
Is a Non-Surgical Option Available?
If aging on your forehead is a concern, a brow lift isn’t your only option. Depending on the amount of aging in the area, a non-surgical solution might be effective. For example, if you have frown lines between the brows, but not a considerable amount of droopiness, Botox injections might be an appropriate option for you. While Botox injections require almost no recovery time, the results from the injections don’t last nearly as long as the results from surgery. You’ll have to repeat the treatment every few months to keep up a youthful looking forehead and brow area.
Can I Combine the Surgery With Another Procedure?
It is possible to combine a brow lift with another related surgery, to get better results or to create a more balanced appearance. For example, you and your surgeon might decide that it makes sense to have a brow lift performed at the same time as a facelift or at the same time as eyelid surgery. Combining surgeries can mean a lower cost to you, compared to having two separate procedures, and a reduced, combined recovery time.
If you have any additional questions about the brow lift procedure or are wondering if it is right for you, contact Dr. Stephen Smith, a fourth-generation Ohio facial plastic surgeon. Dr. Smith will help you weigh the pros and cons of the procedure and will evaluate the signs of aging on your face to determine if it’s the best option for you. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith at one of his two practices. Call 614-702-7342 to reach the Gahanna, Ohio practice. For an appointment in Columbus, Ohio, call 614-678-7180 today.