What is a Brow Lift?

The brow lift, sometimes referred to as a forehead lift, is a surgical procedure designed to elevate the brow to a more youthful position relative to the eyelids. Since most people focus on the area of the eyes when talking to you, it can, by itself, make your whole face appear younger. Since the advent of newer minimally invasive techniques used for lifting the brow, the brow lift has become much more common in young, as well as older, patients.

What concerns does a Brow Lift address?

My upper eyes droop and look tired all the time.

-a Maryland patient

The ideal candidate for the brow lift will have some of these symptoms:

  • forehead wrinkles
  • sagging brow or forehead
  • hanging upper eyelid skin
  • tired looking eyes
  • permanent facial expression which has a sad or angry look
  • unsuccessful treatment of forehead wrinkles with botox

Notice the list above includes several eye-related symptoms. I consider the Brow Lift to be an alternative for upper eyelid surgery, as it can lift the upper eyelids, often in a superior way, to a more youthful position.

If you think you have excess skin in the upper eyelid, put your index finger above the mid portion of your eyebrow, and your thumb at the lateral (outside) part of your eyebrow. Lift to position the brow where you would like it to be. You will notice there is really very little excess skin. If you only remove 'extra' eyelid skin, the brow will still be in a low position that makes the eye area look small and crowded, rather than open and fresh.

A brow lift, on the other hand, will make the eye complex appear more open and 'fresh.' A person with very severe 'hooding' of the upper eyelid will benefit from both brow lift and eyelid skin resection, or blepharoplasty.

A person with a lot of frown wrinkles, a 'worried look', a 'sad look', or an 'angry look' may be treated with Botox, but the effects are only temporary and the costs can add up over time. With botox, the forehead can sometimes look 'frozen.'

In contrast, a minimally invasive brow lift works by weakening the muscles that work to pull down or crease together the brows. The muscles that elevate the brow remain fully active. As a result, the brow is elevated, the 'worry lines' and forehead wrinkles are vastly improved.

See me discuss the eye lift versus the brow lift in this YouTube video, embedded here.

Treating the gradual drop in the brow, which causes excess skin over the eye, which starts putting a bit of weight on the eyelashes, actually works to also reduce the excess skin over the eye.

Therefore, the brow lift addresses both problem areas and creates refreshed, natural looking results.

How is the Brow Lift procedure performed?

In my surgery center, the brow lift procedure is performed under IV sedation administered only by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist. We prefer to use IV sedation instead of General Anesthesia to eliminate nearly all risks of pulmonary embolism . Recovery is much easier and quicker with IV anesthesia.

The procedure takes 1-2 hours. In order to reach the muscles which need lifting, several small (about 1 inch) incisions are made in the scalp. An endoscope is introduced through one of the small incisions and the operating instrument through the other. The brow muscles are surgically altered. The skin is closed after fixing it in position.

With the brow lift procedure, there is no long scar, no cutting of skin, no 'pulling back' on the forehead skin, and no hair loss. The basis of the procedure is altering the balance between brow depressors and brow elevators. This has the effect of lifting the brow to it's youthful position.

Will my forehead look frozen after the brow lift surgery?

The result of the Brow Lift surgery is long lasting and the brow does not look 'frozen' as it can with Botox. After surgery, the brow will be able to express emotions and will look natural. The Brow Lift can be combined with other facelift procedures such as the mid facelift or fat transfer to the face. However, even by itself, the brow lift can give wonderful, natural results for a more youthful and rested look. I'm fond of the procedure and find myself recommending it more and more often for patients looking for facial rejuvenation.

What are the pre-op requirements?

Before brow lift surgery, patients are asked to get a medical clearance two weeks prior to the procedure. An H&P (history and physical) and a CBC blood test are the minimum requirements for healthy adults. You should also cease smoking 4 weeks prior to surgery, and stop aspirin or Motrin two weeks prior to surgery. On the evening before surgery, you may not eat or drink anything after midnight.

What is the post-op recovery like after Brow Lift surgery?

Since the brow lift procedure is performed under IV anesthesia in my facility, the recovery time after leaving the operating room is fairly quick. You should have little or no nausea and be eligible for discharge to your home within 1-2 hours of the procedure. The post op instructions include:

  • bed rest and drink lots of fluids during the first 24 hours
  • use of cold pack intermittently during first 24 hours to help with swelling
  • return to office the day following surgery for bandage removal
  • sleep with the head elevated for the first week
  • return to work in 1 week with makeup coverage, or 2 weeks with most all bruising gone

What are the risks and possible complications?

Any surgery poses some risk, but brow lift complications are typically rare. Possible complications following a brow lift depend heavily on the techniques used by the surgeon. These complications can include, but are not limited to:

  • infection
  • numbness and tingling
  • swelling
  • blurry vision (rare)

What is the cost of Brow Lift surgery?

The total cost for brow lift surgery averages $4500-$5200.

Total cost includes the surgeon's fee, OR fee, board certified anesthesiolgist's fee, and all post op office visits. Please call the office at 410-494-8100 to find out more information or to schedule your consultation and receive a quote based on your specific goals.

Brow Lift Before and After Photos*

before and after endoscopic brow liftSee our patient gallery of Brow Lift Before and After Photos, all performed by me here in our surgery center. Please note that all of these patients have given written consent to use their photos at our web site. We are very grateful for their participation in patient education!

Having Your Surgery in Baltimore

Contact UsWe see many patients from out-of-town and are happy to accomodate you whether you live in and around the Baltimore/DC area or are coming from across the country (or the world). We are only 30 miles from the BWI airport and 20 minutes from the downtown Amtrak train station. Give us a call at +1-410-494-8100 or Contact Us online to set up a consult. We're happy to schedule a time for you to visit our offices or participate in a virtual consultation, after which I'll be able to explain your options fully to help you decide if a brow lift is right for you.

doctor's signatureUpdated October 21, 2015
Ricardo L Rodriguez M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgery

*Note: Patients depicted in photos and videos have provided written consent to display their photos online. Every patient is unique, and surgical results may vary. Please contact us if you have any questions.