As we age, our bodies undergo some unwanted and inevitable physical changes. While these are completely normal, advancements in medical technology now enable us to have options for bodily enhancements like forehead lift surgery.
Forehead Lift 101: What To Expect
The effects of aging can include loss of skin elasticity. This can appear as frown lines, forehead wrinkles, and heaviness of eyebrows. In fact, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, it is usually the forehead and brows that show the first signs of aging. 
When our skin and soft tissues lose elasticity, the distance between our eyebrows and eyelashes tends to shorten. This can make us look sad, tired, or mad.
A forehead lift—also known as a brow lift or forehead rejuvenation, is a cosmetic surgical procedure to tighten sagging forehead skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the forehead and between the eyes (frown lines). 
Of course, it’s a “lift” for a reason. A forehead lift surgery elevates the forehead which can restore a refreshed and youthful look to the area above our eyes. Although it can be done alone, it is also often combined with other facial cosmetic procedures such as facelifts for optimal results. 
Is There a Difference Between Forehead Lift and Brow Lift?
Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, there are slight differences when it comes to the goals of the procedure. A forehead lift’s main goal is to smooth the forehead, while a brow lift aims to elevate the position of the brow to improve droopy upper eyelids.
Although with a slight difference, these two are closely related procedures. A forehead lift usually involves elevation of the brow or brow lift, that’s why it’s sometimes referred to as one procedure. Of course, the best way to know the ideal procedure for you is always to consult with a facial cosmetic surgeon. 
Ideal Candidates for Forehead Lift
The most common reason why people opt to have a forehead lift is to minimize the visible signs of aging, usually 40 to 60 years old patients. However, due to stress and various muscle activities, people of any age may develop these unwanted furrows and frown lines.
Patients who have the following facial characteristics can also benefit from this procedure:
- Lowered eyebrows
- Eyebrow asymmetry
- Excess or droopy upper eyelids
- Forehead wrinkles
- Frown lines between the eyes 
After considering these signs, it’s also important to consult with your doctor first before deciding to have any type of surgery.
Forehead Lift Procedure
Forehead lift procedures may vary because the surgeon considers several factors like medical history, hairline, and a lot more. Although each procedure may slightly differ, here are some general key points of the process.
The possible locations include the surgeon’s office or clinic, outpatient surgery center, hospital inpatient, and outpatient. It can also be done alone or with other facial procedures such as facelift, eyelid surgery, or nose reshaping.
Most of the time, patients are under local anesthesia and/or a sedative (a medicine used to induce relaxation). In this case, the patient is awake and may only feel some forehead skin stretching and a little discomfort.
There are also cases wherein general anesthesia is given to keep patients from feeling any pain as they will have a temporary loss of feeling that feels like deep sleep. 
Types of Forehead Lift Surgery
When it comes to surgical techniques, there are two options: the classic method and the endoscopic. Your surgeon will recommend the type of forehead lift procedure that is best for you but here are some differences between the two so you’ll know what to expect:
The classic forehead lift is an approach wherein the surgeon will make a coronal incision similar to a headphone-like pattern. It starts at about ear level and continues across the top of the forehead and down to the other ear.
The skin of the forehead is then carefully lifted to remove any excess tissue and fat, and if necessary, realign the muscles. Also, during the procedure, the eyebrows of the patient may be repositioned or elevated, and any excess skin is trimmed.
On the other hand, an endoscopic forehead lift requires shorter incisions than the classic method. Here, the surgeon makes 3-5 short scalp incisions less than an inch long. An endoscope, which is a long and thin lighted camera device connected to a monitor, is inserted to see the muscles and tissues underneath.
The surgeon then inserts another instrument in a different incision to lift the forehead skin. The excess tissue and fat are removed, and sometimes muscles are realigned. Similar to the classic forehead lift, the eyebrows may also be elevated for optimal results.
The main difference between the classic and endoscopic forehead lift is the size of the incision. Fewer scarring and a shorter recovery period are expected in the endoscopic method than in the classic one. 
Post Surgery Expectations
Our bodies have different ways of responding and recovering from surgeries like forehead lifts. However, common short-term side effects include numbness and discomfort around the incision(s), swelling that may also affect the eyes and cheeks, numbness on the top of the scalp, and slight pain or bruising.
As the nerves start to heal, the numbness you’re feeling on the top of your scalp may be replaced by itching. This sensation may take a few months to fully disappear, but the swelling may disappear in a week. Now, if your concern is the incision site pain, it’s expected to be minimal and can be controlled by medications.
If you’ve undergone the classic forehead lift method, it’s also normal for some of your hair around the incision to fall out. You can expect the normal hair growth to resume within a few weeks or months.
You may also be asked to come back within a week or two for the removal of sutures and staples used by the surgeon to close the incisions. 
Forehead Lift Recovery and Results
A forehead lift surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that involves small incisions (if endoscopic) hidden within the hair. Most patients take around 1-2 weeks off of work for recovery.
Although you should be able to shampoo your hair in about two days (as long as the bandage is already removed), strenuous physical activities are not recommended until a few weeks. You might also be advised to refrain from prolonged exposure to heat or sun for a few months.
You can expect that most of the visible signs of surgery will start to disappear within 2-3 weeks. However, the process of recovery isn’t the same for everyone. It’s important to consult and thoroughly discuss the procedure with your doctor.
Also, make sure to document the “before and after look” of your forehead so you’ll appreciate the results better. According to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, most patients don’t realize how much their sagging forehead contributes to the signs of aging until they see the effect of the forehead lift.
Forehead Lift Surgery Costs
The costs of forehead lift surgeries can vary extremely widely, but you can expect costs between $2,500 to $5,000 for the procedure.
Because this procedure is considered a cosmetic and elective procedure, it isn’t covered by medical insurance.
A forehead lift is just one of the things you can do to minimize the dreaded visible signs of aging. It can help reduce the appearance of forehead wrinkles, can improve droopy eyelids, and can restore a more youthful appearance.
Just remember that procedures like this don’t stop the clock. They can only help us to somehow slow it down, but only on the outside.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Connell, B. F., & Marten, T. J. (1991). The male foreheadplasty. Recognizing and treating aging in the upper face. Clinics in plastic surgery, 18(4), 653–687.
- de Cordier, B. C., de la Torre, J. I., AI-Hakeem, M. S., Rosenberg, L. Z., Gardner, P. M., Costa-Ferreira, A., Fix, J. R., & Vasconez, L. O. (2002). Endoscopic Forehead Lift: Review of Technique, Cases, and Complications. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 110(6), 1558–1568. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.prs.0000029815.87106.cb
- MedlinePlus. (2022a). Forehead lift. Retrieved August 20, 2022, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002990.htm
- DELAFUENTE, A., & SANTAMARIA, A. (2002). Endoscopic forehead lift: Is it effective? Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 22(2), 113–120. https://doi.org/10.1067/maj.2002.122939