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A forehead lift or "browlift" is of interest to people looking for a more youthful, refreshed look to the area above the eyes. Muscles and tissues that cause the furrowing or drooping of the brow or other horizontal lines can be removed or altered to smooth the forehead, raise the eyebrows and minimise frown lines. Different techniques are available, the traditional and conventional surgical incision hidden just behind the hairline or above the eyebrow, or the newer techniques which use an endoscope, a viewing instrument that allows the procedure to be performed with minimal incisions. Both techniques yield similar results- a less heavy brow, smoother forehead skin and a more animated appearance.
Complications with this procedure, assuming the patient has followed the medical advice given are infrequent and usually minor. However, all surgery carries a risk, the minor complications that can occur include in rare cases, the nerves that control eyebrow movement may be injured on one or both sides, resulting in a loss of ability to raise the eyebrows or wrinkle the forehead. Additional surgery may be required to correct the problem.
Formation of a broad scar is also a rare complication. This may be treated surgically by removing the wide scar tissue so a new, thinner scar may result. Also, in some patients, hair loss may occur along the scar edges.
Loss of sensation of the forehead may occur. It is usually temporary, but may be permanent in some patients. Infection and bleeding are very rare, but are possibilities.
You will discuss which surgical approach will best achieve your cosmetic goals in clinic. Make sure you understand the technique that is recommended and why it is thought to be best for you.
The endoscopic forehead lift is most commonly used: The hair is tied back behind the hairline where the incisions will be made.
Three, four or five short scalp incisions are made, hidden behind the hair line, each less than an inch in length. An endoscope, which is a pencil-like camera device connected to a television monitor, is inserted through one of the incisions, allowing a clear view of the muscles and tissues beneath the skin. Using another instrument inserted through a different incision, the forehead skin is lifted and the muscles and underlying tissues are removed or altered to produce a smoother appearance. The eyebrows may also be lifted and secured into their higher position by sutures or absorbable hooks (tynes) beneath the skin's surface.
When the lift is complete, the scalp incisions will be closed with stitches or clips and the area will be washed. Gauze and an elastic bandage may also be used.
You may be told to keep your head elevated for two to three days following surgery to keep the swelling down. Swelling may also affect the cheeks and eyes-- however, this should begin to disappear in a week or so.
If bandages were used, they will be removed a day or two after surgery. Most stitches or clips will be removed within two weeks, sometimes in two stages.
Some of your hair around the incision may fall out and may temporarily be a bit thinner. Normal growth will usually resume within a few weeks or months. Permanent hair loss is rare.
Patients may experience some numbness, incision discomfort and mild swelling. Incision site pain is usually minimal, but can be controlled with medication, if necessary. The stitches or staples used to close the incisions are usually removed within a week and the temporary fixation screws within two weeks.