Recovery after Brow Lift – Timeline, Tips and Recommendation

What to Expect during Recovery after Brow Lift

Brow lift surgery, also known as a forehead lift or browplasty, is a cosmetic procedure performed to elevate drooping eyebrows and reduce lines and wrinkles on the forehead and area between the eyes. This procedure offers an ideal solution for individuals who wish to restore a youthful contour to their eyebrows, enhancing their facial aesthetic. You may be considering this surgery to combat signs of ageing or perhaps to correct a hereditary trait that makes you appear tired, sad, or angry. However, it’s essential to understand that a brow lift is a surgery, and like all surgical procedures, it requires a significant recovery period. The process of recovery after a brow lift is the key to maximising the results from your surgery.

Here is Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan’s guide to your Brow Lift recovery, including practical recommendations for a smoother recovery journey.

Recovery after a Brow Lift

The recovery process after a brow lift surgery is a crucial phase that requires patience and careful adherence to the prescribed post-operative care. Following the surgery, you may experience mild swelling and bruising, which will gradually fade away. Pain, if any, can be managed with prescribed medications.

During the consultation I will run over the recovery process with you (and then again after you have had surgery, before you go home).  You will be given specific instructions on how to care for your surgical site, including the use of cold compresses to manage swelling, and keeping your head elevated to minimise bruising. Remember, every individual’s recovery time and experience may vary, depending on their body’s healing capacity and the surgical technique used (of which there are several for elevating the eyebrows).

It’s noteworthy that your mental well-being plays a significant role in your recovery as well. Keeping a positive mindset, maintaining realistic expectations, and being patient during the recovery period can boost your healing process.


Timeline for Recovery after Brow Lift

Understanding the timeline for recovery after a brow lift will help you plan appropriately and set realistic expectations. Generally, the initial recovery period lasts about two weeks. During the first week, you will likely experience the most discomfort and visible swelling. These symptoms will drastically reduce in the second week.

By the end of the second or third week, you should be able to resume most of your regular activities, including work. You should avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and vigorous exercise for at least four to six weeks post-surgery as you will experience swelling in the area of the surgery and there is a small chance that you could bleed into to the tissues.

It’s important to remember that while the majority of the healing occurs in the first few weeks, complete recovery will take around 12 months. This is the time your body requires to completely heal and for the final results of your brow lift surgery to fully materialise.

How to Deal with Common Post-Surgery Issues

Post-surgery, you may encounter common issues such as swelling, bruising, and mild pain. These are normal side effects and can be managed effectively with the right care. Applying cold compresses on the swollen areas and keeping your head elevated can help reduce swelling and bruising.

You will be given plenty of analgesia (pain killers) to go home with (it’s essential to take these medications as directed and not to exceed the recommended dosage) but in order to maximise their effect make sure that you take them regularly – this can mean setting an alarm to take them during the night – as pain is much better controlled by having steady blood levels of the drugs being used rather than trying to get on top of pain once it is established.

Although many people are dismissive of paracetamol it is, in fact, one of the best analgesics available and if taken regularly can really boost the effectiveness of other medications taken in combination with it (codine is a great example here). For most patients we send them home on a combination of paracetamol, codine (an opiate) and ibuprofen (a non steroidal anti-inflammatory – NSAID) pain killers. Depending on any allergies you may have or other medical conditions (such as asthma – in which case you are probably better off not having NSAID’s) we may change this combination a bit, but whatever the situation you will definitely have enough pain control when you go home!

Experiencing some numbness or tightness in your forehead post-surgery is normal and is the result of tension put on the tissues as part of the procedure and also as a result of swelling (this is where cold compresses can help).

Numbness at the operative site is also very likely and it is important to remember this if you expose the area to heat so that you do not burn the skin. The 2 main causes of problems are showering (ensure that the temperature does not exceed 38°C – the point at which you need to press the button to make it hotter if you are using a modern shower mixer tap) and drying your hair – use your hair drier on low or no heat (as a general principle it is worth following these rules for 6 weeks after the procedure).

Nutrition Tips for Speedy Recovery after Brow Lift

Good nutrition plays a crucial role in accelerating your recovery after brow lift surgery. A diet rich in vitamins, proteins, and minerals can enhance your body’s healing capacity.

Incorporate foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries, into your diet, as they promote collagen production, aiding in skin healing. Similarly, foods high in protein, like lean meat, fish, eggs, and legumes, can support tissue repair and wound healing.

Drinking plenty of water can aid in maintaining good hydration levels, which is essential for healing. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and alcohol, as these can hinder your recovery process.

Importance of Follow-Up Appointments

Follow-up appointments are an integral part of your recovery process. These appointments allow me to monitor your healing progress, address any concerns you may have, and provide further care instructions if required.

These visits can help identify any signs of complications at an early stage, ensuring timely intervention. Depending on what type of browlift you have had there may be quilting stitches to come out or stitches that need to be removed from your incisions. If there are incisions placed in your scalp these will have staples that will need to be removed (usually at 2 weeks after the procedure).

Please don’t hesitate to contact us in between visits if you have any queries or concerns.

Long-Term Results and Maintenance

Brow lift surgery can provide you with a youthful and refreshed appearance, enhancing your self-confidence. However, it’s important to remember that while a brow lift can turn back the hands of the clock, it cannot stop them ticking.

Ageing, lifestyle habits, and environmental factors will continue to affect your skin and underlying tissues. Keep in mind that maintaining a healthy lifestyle and proper skin care can help prolong the results of your brow lift surgery.

The effects of a brow lift, although durable, are not going to last indefinitely as the brow position is constantly being pulled down the orbicularis occuli muscles (these are the circular muscles that surround each eye and shut it). The eyebrows are pulled down when we squint or forcibly shut the eyes and it is this action that gradually stretches the tissues and causes the brow position to drop. A way to preserve the effects of a brow lift as long as possible is to treat the upper and outer halves of the orbicularis muscle on each eye with botulinum toxin (Botox) to reduce muscle contractility. This will reduce the downward force exerted on the brows and so maintain their position for longer following a brow lift.

Additional good habits to develop to help optimise your facial skin condition include avoiding excessive sun exposure, maintaining a balanced diet, staying well hydrated, and using appropriate skin care products.

When to Seek Medical Attention during Recovery after Brow Lift

While complications after a brow lift surgery are rare, it’s important to know when to seek medical attention. If you experience severe pain unrelieved by pain medications, excessive swelling or bleeding, sudden vision changes, or signs of infection like fever or increased redness around the surgical site, contact us immediately.

Your health and safety should always be your priority. Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you feel something is amiss. Remember, every concern is valid when it comes to your health.

Recovery after a brow lift surgery is a critical phase that requires careful attention and patience. By understanding the recovery process, adhering to the recommended guidelines, maintaining a healthy diet, and regular follow-ups, you can optimise your recovery and enjoy the results of your brow lift surgery.

FAQs about Recovery after Brow Lift


How long does it take to recover from a brow lift?

  • Recovery time after a brow lift varies depending on the individual and the specific technique used. Generally, patients can expect the initial recovery period to last about 2 weeks, during which time most of the visible swelling and bruising will subside. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks to a few months for all swelling to completely resolve and the final results can take up to a year to become fully apparent. Patients need to follow Anthony’s post-operative instructions closely to ensure a smooth and effective recovery.

What can you not do after a brow lift?

  • After a brow lift, there are several precautions that patients need to take to ensure proper healing. It’s advised to avoid physically demanding activities, heavy lifting, and vigorous exercise for at least a few weeks post-surgery. Patients should also avoid direct sun exposure on the brow area and use sunscreen to protect the skin. It’s important to avoid rubbing or applying pressure to the brow area. Additionally, sleeping with the head elevated can help reduce swelling. Following the specific guidelines provided by Anthony is crucial for a successful recovery.

Is there a lot of pain after a brow lift?

  • Post-operative pain following a brow lift is generally manageable. Most patients experience mild to moderate discomfort, which can be effectively controlled with prescribed pain medication or over-the-counter pain relievers. Some common sensations include tightness or numbness around the forehead and brow area. It’s important to note that pain tolerance varies from person to person, and any severe or prolonged pain should be reported to the surgeon immediately.

Can a brow lift go wrong?

  • As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with a brow lift. Complications, while rare, can include infection, scarring, asymmetry, changes in skin sensation, and issues with wound healing. In some cases, there might be a need for revision surgery. Choosing a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon can significantly reduce the risk of complications. It’s important for patients to have realistic expectations and to discuss all potential risks and benefits with their surgeon prior to the procedure.

Will a brow lift change the shape of my eyes?

  • A brow lift primarily targets the forehead and brow region, but it can subtly affect the appearance of the eyes. The procedure can help in reducing hooding over the eyes and may make the eyes appear more open and alert. However, it does not fundamentally change the shape of the eyes. The goal is to rejuvenate the upper face without altering the natural and unique characteristics of the eyes. It’s important for patients to discuss their expectations with Anthony to understand how a brow lift might enhance their overall facial appearance.

How long do the results of a brow lift last?

  • The results of a brow lift can be long-lasting, but they are not immune to the natural ageing process. Most patients enjoy the benefits of a brow lift for many years, although this can vary depending on individual factors such as skin quality, age, and lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, protecting the skin from sun exposure, and following a good skincare routine can help prolong the results. Non-surgical treatments like fillers or neuromodulator injections can also complement and extend the effects of a brow lift.

Further Reading about Face Procedures with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan

Medical References about Brow Lift Surgery