Browlifts are a surgical technique to lift, elevate and reposition the skin and muscles of the forehead. This results in a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance of the upper face.
With ageing, soft tissues of the upper face descend, adding excess skin to the upper eyelids making you appear tired or sad. People also mention that they appear angry. By lifting and repositioning the forehead and eyebrows, horizontal wrinkles are decreased and the eyebrow is repositioned in a more pleasing aesthetic position. The face usually appears less angry, tired, sad or worried. Lifting also removes some of the skin from the upper lids.
The eyebrow should be at or just above the bony orbital rim in women. The eyebrow shape is also important with the high point of the arc at the outer limit of the coloured part of the eye. Eyebrows should start at a line parallel to the base of the nose and end at another line drawn from the base of the nose through the outer corner of the eyelid.
Traditional surgery required a long incision placed within or at the hairline. There are now multiple techniques designed to reduce the scarring, with limited access or endoscopic (keyhole) techniques now favoured.
These newer techniques decrease some of the problems associated with long transverse scars in the hairline. Scar quality is usually better with less risk of hair loss and stretching. Numbness and tingling in the scalp is also reduced and recovery is quicker. Other techniques use incisions within the temple hairline and care is taken avoid hair loss at these incisions.
The procedure is performed under general or twilight anaesthesia. It is unusual to need any plastic drainage tubes. Internal sutures or anchors are used to hold the brow in its new position until healing has occurred, and a head bandage may also be used.
If non-dissolving sutures are used, they need to be removed between 5 and 7 days. Bruising and swelling are variable and while at their peak at about 3 days usually resolve by 2-3 weeks. This may be asymmetrical and track down towards the eyelids. Numbness and itching of the scalp can also occur and often take longer to resolve.
Depending on the technique used and the amount of lift, the hairline may be altered. Usually this is lifted, but in the case of very high foreheads it may be lowered. Hair loss may occur at the incision sites or immediately adjacent to them and while usually temporary, may be permanent.
There are many nerves in the forehead. Sensory nerves supply sensation to the forehead and scalp; and motor nerves supply and move the muscles that lift the eyebrows. If these are stretched the nerve function is temporarily affected resulting in numbness (sensory nerves) or paralysis (motor nerves). This usually recovers, but may take months. Very rarely is either problem permanent.
Surgery can usually also correct eyebrow asymmetry. Infection is a small risk with all types of surgery.
Browlift surgery is often combined with eyelid, face and neck lift surgery and complements the overall result. Surgery can also cause the wrinkle-causing muscles to be weakened.
At your consultation, Dr Kippen will give a far more comprehensive explanation of the procedure and likely recovery. He will give you brochures to read as well as showing before and after photographs.
You should read the information presented here in conjunction with the information contained on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the website.