Your forehead or brow is where a lot of the expression and emotions are held on your face. A lot of our non-verbal communication and interaction happens through the top half of our face, especially around the eyes. When you raise your eyebrows because you are surprised, shocked or exasperated; or bring them together when you are concerned or thinking hard… your forehead, eyes and brows are the areas of the face that do the most work. This means the muscles and skin can age quicker than other parts of the face, causing wrinkles often before they begin to appear anywhere else. If the sagging and drooping of your forehead is bad enough it can even begin to affect your vision by narrowing your eyes. It can also make you look angry or concerned all the time due to the placement of the lines and wrinkles and general looseness of the skin.
So, what’s the solution? There’s only so much a great eyebrow shaping can do! A popular surgery to rectify the forehead/brow wrinkle issue is the brow lift, or forehead lift. Dr Jeremy Hunt from Edgecliff in NSW, a specialist craniofacial surgeon with over 15 years experience, says it is one of his most popular surgeries, “Facial rejuvenation will involve the face and neck of course, but consideration also needs to be given to the brow to create an overall “fresher“ look. A brow lift will rejuvenate the upper third of the face and there are a number of different procedures to address the issue. A good brow lift can also complete a good face lift and is an important procedure to consider when after an overall result.”
You do also need to be careful about choosing the right surgeon for the job in order to get a more natural result. We’ve all seen pictures of celebrities who have it taken too far and they end up with a super tight, unnatural and “pulled” look where they are unable to have much expression at all and it looks like they are permanently surprised. Dr Hunt says, “As in all surgery ‘If a little is a good thing, it does not mean a lot is better’ and this applies to brow lift as well. Too much lift will create a surprised look and needs to be avoided; not enough will fail to achieve the desired result; and lifting the wrong part of brow can also lead to a poor outcome. I would suggest balance is key and this only comes with experience of the surgeon.”
There are different approaches for the actual surgery of brow or forehead lifts.
Endoscopic Forehead Lift
One of the more recent and popular techniques is the endoscopic forehead lift. This involves a series of small incisions being made along the top of the forehead near the hairline, in order to insert a surgical endoscope to stretch the loosened skin back towards the top of the head. Because of the smaller incisions there is less bleeding, smaller, and easier to hide scars and faster recovery. The only thing to be careful of here is that anyone with an already receding hairline or a larger/higher forehead may end up with an even higher hairline which may alter the balance of your face.
Coronal Forehead Lift
This involves an ear to ear incision being made across the entire length of your scalp and loosening a large area of skin and underlying tissues so that the entire forehead and brow area can be lifted. It may involve cutting and removing a section of your skin in order to stretch the rest of the skin higher and tighter. Again, it may possibly heighten your forehead. This method certainly produces a larger scar however a good surgeon should be able to hide this along your hairline – it may not be a suitable procedure for someone with thinning hair.
Direct Brow Lift
This is where incisions are made within your eyebrows and a section of skin and muscle from just above the eyebrows is removed. This mostly addresses the brow (those stubborn wrinkles in between the eyes) and might not be suitable if you require more tightening in the forehead area.
This suits those with heavy, drooping eyebrows and deeper, more noticeable wrinkles. Incisions are made on the forehead to remove the excess skin, fat and muscle and scars are hopefully hidden within existing skin lines. This technique does not involve the pulling up of the whole forehead so your hairline is not affected.
Different patients will suit different types of surgery and the most important thing you can do is to find a surgeon who will discuss and choose the best option for you. Dr Hunt says identifying the most appropriate technique for you will result in the most natural results where instead of looking like you can’t move your face or show any expression, you will just look refreshed and more youthful. A great brow/forehead lift can really open up your face and take away any permanent undesirable facial expressions, and even take years off your face. He says, “It is a given that all patients will be different and the different techniques of brow lift will be used to achieve the best result in each patient given the needs of that particular patient. There will be advantages to some techniques and down sides to others in each individual, and matching the right procedure to the right patient is the key to success. I assess the patients and individuals and discuss the options so will use any one of the techniques in different individuals to achieve the best result possible.”