What is a Forehead lift?

Forehead Lift – Overview of the Procedure

The forehead lift, or brow lift, is one of the procedure well known for its ability to rejuvenate the upper facial region. In this blog, Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan will explore the specifics of the forehead lift, comparing it with other popular facial rejuvenation procedures such as facelift and eyelid surgery. Anthony will discuss what a forehead lift is, how it is performed, and the results you can expect. Furthermore, he will look at how it differs from and can be combined with other procedures to achieve aesthetic improvements.

The ABCs of the Forehead Lift

A forehead lift, often referred to as a brow lift, is a cosmetic surgery procedure aimed at rejuvenating the upper third of the face to create a more youthful, alert appearance. This procedure addresses several age-related concerns that primarily affect the forehead and brow region.

What Does a Forehead Lift Address?

The primary goals of a forehead lift include:

  • Raising Sagging Eyebrows: As skin ages, the eyebrows may begin to droop, which can make you look tired or unhappy. A forehead lift repositions the eyebrows to a higher, more youthful position.
  • Smoothing Forehead Wrinkles: Horizontal lines across the forehead and furrows between the brows are common with age. This procedure can smooth these lines, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Improving Frown Lines: Deep vertical furrows between the eyebrows can create a permanent frown. A forehead lift helps to soften these lines, improving the overall facial expression.

Techniques of Forehead Lift Surgery

There are three primary techniques used in forehead lift surgery, each with its specific approach and benefits:

  • Endoscopic Forehead Lift: This minimally invasive technique uses a small camera, or endoscope, and special instruments inserted through small incisions within the hairline. This method allows Anthony to adjust tissues and muscles with minimal scarring. The endoscopic lift is popular due to its reduced recovery time and minimal invasiveness.
  • Coronal Forehead Lift: This traditional technique involves an incision from ear to ear across the top of the head, just behind the hairline. Anthony lifts the forehead skin, removes excess tissue, and repositions the remaining skin to smooth wrinkles and lift the brows. Although it offers dramatic results, it is less favoured today due to the more noticeable scarring and longer recovery period.
  • Hairline Forehead Lift: Suitable for patients with a high forehead, this lift involves an incision made between the top of the forehead and the beginning of the hairline. This technique allows Anthony to avoid altering the hairline height, while still achieving the benefits of lifting the brows and diminishing forehead wrinkles.

Forehead Lift – The Procedure Explained

Undergoing a forehead lift involves several stages, from the initial consultation to the post-operative recovery. Here’s a step-by-step look at what to expect:

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Consultation and Preparation

  • Initial Consultation: During the first meeting, Anthony discusses your aesthetic goals, examines the facial structure, and reviews medical history to determine the most suitable technique for the forehead lift.
  • Pre-operative Instructions: You receive guidelines on how to prepare for surgery, including medications to avoid, smoking cessation, and pre-surgery nutrition tips.

Day of the Surgery

  • Arrival and Anaesthesia: On the day of the surgery, you arrive at the surgical facility where you are prepped and administered anaesthesia—typically general anaesthesia or intravenous sedation.
  • Performing the Procedure: Depending on the chosen technique, the procedure can last from one to two hours. Anthony makes the necessary incisions and then manipulates the forehead tissues and muscles to achieve the desired lift and smoothing effects.
  • Closing the Incisions: Once the adjustments are made, the incisions are closed with sutures or skin adhesives.

Recovery and Aftercare

  • Immediate Post-Op: You spend a few hours in a recovery room under observation to manage pain and ensure there are no immediate complications. Most forehead lift patients go home the same day.
  • First Few Weeks: Recovery involves swelling and bruising, which diminish over the first few weeks. You must keep your head elevated and may need to wear bandages or drainage tubes for a few days.
  • Follow-up Visits: Post-operative appointments allow Anthony to monitor the healing process and remove any non-dissolvable sutures.
  • Long-term Care: Full recovery can take several weeks, and you are advised to avoid strenuous activities until cleared by Anthony. The final results are long-lasting, rejuvenating the face and enhancing overall appearance.

Comparing Procedures: Forehead Lift, Facelift, and Eyelid Surgery

When considering facial rejuvenation, understanding the differences between various procedures such as a forehead lift, facelift, and eyelid surgery can make all the difference. Each targets specific areas of the face and addresses different concerns, making them suitable for diverse aesthetic goals. Here’s a detailed comparison to help you understand which procedure might be right for you.

Forehead Lift

A forehead lift, or brow lift, primarily targets the upper third of the face. It is designed to raise the brows and reduce wrinkles on the forehead and between the eyes. This procedure is particularly effective for those who have sagging eyebrows or deep furrows above the nose, which can make one appear tired or angry.


  • Endoscopic Lift: Minimally invasive, using small incisions in the hairline.
  • Coronal Lift: Involves an ear-to-ear incision hidden within the hair for significant lifting.
  • Hairline Lift: Best for those with a high forehead, as it prevents raising the hairline further.


  • A more alert and youthful appearance.
  • Reduction in forehead wrinkles and lifting of drooping eyebrows.


A facelift focuses on the mid to lower sections of the face and can also improve the appearance of the neck. It is ideal for patients looking to address sagging facial skin, jowls, and deep creases around the mouth and nose. A facelift pulls back the skin to tighten and smooth out these areas, providing a more youthful contour.


  • Traditional Facelift: Involves an incision along the hairline, extending around the ears.
  • Mini-Facelift: Less invasive, with shorter incisions, suitable for less severe sagging.


  • Enhanced facial structure.
  • Reduced sagging and fewer wrinkles on the lower face and neck.

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

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Upper and Lower Lids Eyelid Surgery by Anthony MacQuillan

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, targets the eyelids and can be performed on the upper lids, lower lids, or both. It is effective for correcting drooping upper eyelids and reducing under-eye bags. This procedure is often sought by patients who have a tired-looking appearance due to excess skin and wrinkles around the eyes.


  • Upper Eyelid Surgery: Removes excess skin and fat from the upper eyelids.
  • Lower Eyelid Surgery: Reduces under-eye bags and tightens the lower eyelid skin.


  • A more rested and open look around the eyes.
  • Reduction in eye bagginess and removal of excess eyelid skin.

Combination Treatments

Many patients opt for a combination of these procedures to achieve superior results. For instance, combining a forehead lift with eyelid surgery can rejuvenate the entire upper face, while adding a facelift can address all aspects of ageing from the brow to the neck.


  • A harmonious balance to facial features
  • Enhanced overall rejuvenation that cannot be achieved by one procedure alone


  • Longer recovery time due to multiple surgeries
  • Increased cost and preparation

What Results to Expect After a Forehead Lift

A forehead lift, also known as a brow lift, can alter your appearance by opening up the eye area, reducing wrinkle lines, and creating a more youthful and vigorous facial expression.

Immediate and Long-Term Results

  • Immediate Results: Post-surgery, the initial effects can be obscured by swelling and bruising, which are common and subside over the weeks following the procedure. You may notice an immediate change in the position of your eyebrows and a smoother forehead, although these initial results will refine and improve as healing progresses.
  • Long-Term Results: The full benefits of a forehead lift become apparent several months after the surgery. You can expect a more rested and alert appearance, with the eyebrows resting in a more natural and aesthetically pleasing position. The smoothing of the forehead skin and the reduction of deep furrows and frown lines between the brows are typically long-lasting. Most patients find that these changes help them look more approachable and vibrant.
  • Maintenance of Results: While a forehead lift provides durable results, it does not halt the ageing process. Skin will naturally begin to lose elasticity over time, and gravitational forces will continue to affect the face. However, the results are generally long-lasting, with many patients enjoying the benefits for 10 to 15 years. Regular skincare and protection from sun exposure can help prolong the effects.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Forehead Lift

Deciding to undergo a forehead lift is a significant decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. These considerations ensure that the procedure aligns with your aesthetic goals and expectations.

Age and Skin Elasticity

  • Age: There is no perfect age for a forehead lift, but it’s usually performed on men and women between the ages of 40 and 60, who experience moderate to significant signs of ageing in the forehead and brow regions. However, individuals younger or older may also benefit, depending on their specific conditions and how their forehead and brow area have aged.
  • Skin Elasticity: The best candidates for a forehead lift are those with good skin elasticity. Elastic skin responds better to the repositioning and healing processes, making the results more effective and longer-lasting.

Cosmetic Goals

  • Understanding Goals: It’s important for potential patients to clearly articulate what they hope to achieve with a forehead lift. Whether it’s raising sagging eyebrows, reducing wrinkles, or both, having clear goals can help Anthony tailor the procedure to meet these expectations.
  • Realistic Expectations: Patients must maintain realistic expectations about the outcomes of the surgery. A forehead lift can provide significant improvements, but it won’t fundamentally change a person’s appearance or stop the ageing process.

Health Considerations

  • Overall Health: Good candidates for a forehead lift are generally in good overall health. They should not have any chronic illnesses or conditions that could impair healing or increase surgical risks, such as uncontrolled diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
  • Smoking: Smokers are advised to quit well in advance of the surgery and throughout the recovery period. Smoking can significantly impair healing by restricting blood flow to the skin, potentially compromising the surgical results and recovery process.

FAQs about the Forehead Lift Surgery

How do I know if I am a good candidate for a forehead lift?

  • You might be a good candidate for a forehead lift if you have noticeable signs of ageing in the forehead and eyebrow areas such as sagging brows, deep horizontal creases, or frown lines between the eyes that make you appear tired, sad, or angry. Ideal candidates are healthy, non-smokers with realistic expectations about the outcomes of the surgery. A consultation with Anthony can determine if this procedure aligns with your aesthetic goals and medical history.

What are the alternatives to a forehead lift?

  • If a forehead lift does not seem like the right fit for your needs, there are alternative treatments available. Non-surgical options like neuromodulator injections can temporarily alleviate wrinkles and lift the brows. Dermal fillers can also help in smoothing out lines and adding volume to targeted areas.

Can I combine a forehead lift with other cosmetic procedures?

  • Yes, it is common to combine a forehead lift with other procedures for more complex facial rejuvenation. Popular combinations include a facelift for addressing the mid to lower facial areas, eyelid surgery to correct drooping lids and remove under-eye bags, or laser resurfacing to improve skin texture and tone. Combining procedures can maximise the aesthetic benefits and can be more cost-effective and efficient than having surgeries performed separately.

What are the risks associated with a forehead lift?

  • Like all surgeries, a forehead lift carries risks, though serious complications are rare when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon. Potential risks include scarring, asymmetry in brow height, hair loss along the incision lines, nerve damage that could affect facial expressions, infection, and reactions to anaesthesia. During your consultation, Anthony will discuss how these risks apply to you and the measures taken to minimise them.

How long does the recovery process take, and what are some tips for a smooth recovery?

  • The recovery period for a forehead lift typically involves some swelling and bruising, which usually subsides within two weeks. Most patients are able to resume normal activities after this period, although full recovery and the final results can take several months to fully develop. Tips for a smooth recovery include keeping your head elevated, applying cold compresses to reduce swelling, avoiding strenuous activities, and following all post-operative care instructions provided by Anthony. Regular follow-up visits are important to ensure proper healing and to address any concerns during the recovery phase.

Further Reading about Face Surgery with Consultant Plastic Surgeon Anthony MacQuillan

Medical References about Forehead Lift