Forehead lifts are most commonly done for people in their 40s to 60s to slow the visible effects of aging.
In younger people, a forehead lift can raise congenitally low eyebrows that give the face a sad expression. In people whose brows are so low that they interfere with the upper field of vision, the forehead lift can be performed as a reconstructive procedure.
A good forehead lift candidate is someone who has one or more of these facial characteristics: sagging brows, tissue that hangs down at the outer part of the eyelids, horizontal wrinkling on the forehead, or a dysfunctional nose. Deep furrows between the eyes also can be reduced through a forehead lift.
Many surgeons used local infiltration anesthesia combined with a sedative, so the patient is awake but sleepy and insensitive to pain. Some patients request a general anesthesia, so they will sleep through the operation.
Sections of hair will be held away from the operative area. Hair immediately in front of the incision line may need to be trimmed but the head will not need to be shaved.
The incision is made at the level of the ears and continues across the top of the forehead at the hairline. This avoids making the forehead appear too high. If the patient is bald or balding, the surgeon may utilize a mid-scalp incision, eliminating a visible scar.
The forehead skin is elevated and measured for removal of excess tissue, skin, and muscle. The incision is closed with stitches or staples.
The operative area is wrapped with a sterile padding and an elastic bandage to inhibit bleeding and edema. There will likely be numbness and temporary discomfort around the surgical site. These symptoms are easily controlled with medication.
The head should be elevated for two to three days after surgery to inhibit swelling. Bruising and swelling is inevitable around the eyes and cheeks, but this begins to disappear in about a week.
As the nerves regenerate, numbness of the forehead and scalp will soon be replaced with itching. It may take up to six months for these sensations to fully disappear. The bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery. Within 10 to 14 days, the stitches or clips will be removed.
Reviewed By: Hebe Molmenti, MD, PhD, private practice specializing in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.