A heavy eyebrow or forehead can be a sign of age but is not always directly related to the aging process. Some people are born with thicker or more pronounced soft tissues of the forehead. Regardless of the cause, a heavy brow can give the appearance of anger, frustration, or sadness – even when you’re feeling great. In addition, the full brow can push down on the upper eyelids, making you look tired or drowsy. (This heaviness on the outside of the eyelid area is called lateral hooding.) Finally, the shadow cast by the brow can detract from the brightness or openness of your eyes, again giving an impression that is different than how you feel.

In many cases, Dr. Ransom can address these specific concerns with a minimally-invasive endoscopic browlift (forehead lift). However, certain circumstances demand a different approach – and Dr. Ransom is a specialist in all types of brow and forehead surgery. For patients with an asymmetric brow (one side obviously higher than the other), or in cases of facial paralysis (where one side of the forehead doesn’t move), open treatment of the forehead helps to achieve the best results. In women with a high hairline or tall forehead, an open approach may allow for hairline lowering or reduction of excess forehead skin, using an incision placed in the hairline (pretrichial browlift). For men with significant hair loss and a heavy brow, a variety of approaches can be used to elevate the brows without elevating the hairline or leaving obvious, unsightly scars in the scalp – ensuring natural-appearing results. For more information, see the Procedures for Men section.

Brow or forehead lifts, regardless of approach, can be combined with other facial rejuvenation or reconstructive procedures, and are particularly effective when the eyelids are addressed at the same time. Please visit the photo gallery for some examples.

Who is a candidate?

Anyone with a heavy brow, deep glabellar rhytids (the “11’s” between the eyebrows), and particularly patients with lateral hooding of the upper eyelids (see above) is a candidate. Special consideration is needed for men who are bald or have significantly receding hairlines (please visit the Procedures for Men section). Upper eyelid ptosis (upper lids do not open all the way) should not be confused with lateral hooding; this issue has to do with the muscles that retract the upper eyelid, rather than excess eyelid skin or a heavy brow region. Comprehensive rejuvenation of the entire forehead, brow, and eyelid complex can be discussed with Dr. Ransom at your consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that all patients are different and individual healing times and results may vary. The statements regarding procedures and recovery made here are general rules.

Can a brow lift be done under local anesthesia?

Yes, certain types of browlift can be performed under local anesthesia. Most browlifts are performed with other facial cosmetic procedures which may necessitate sedation or general anesthesia.

Does a brow lift get rid of forehead wrinkles?

No. Browlift surgery is meant to lift the eyebrow (and has a mild effect on the upper lids). The forehead muscles will continue to work and therefore dynamic wrinkles (those caused by motion) will still occur.

Does a facelift include a brow lift?

In the modern world of plastic surgery, facelift generally means a lift that includes the cheeks and jowls/jawline. Browlift and neck lift are often performed with a facelift; however, these would need to be specified as part of the surgical plan.

Does brow lift change eye shape?

Browlift does not change the eye shape. Rather, browlift is meant to lift the brow and create more of an arch.

Does endoscopic brow lift raise hairline?

Endoscopic browlift can raise the hairline in some patients. For those with a high hairline before surgery, a different approach may be preferred. This includes tricophytic browlift (hairline incision) or temporal browlift (lateral portion only).

Does insurance pay for brow lift?

In rare cases where brow ptosis is due to a medical condition or when the brow heaviness obstructs vision, insurance may pay for a brow lift. In our practice, we do not bill insurance for these procedures.

How can I lift my eyebrows?

For patients with mild brow ptosis and forehead lines, Botox Cosmetic injections are the simplest way to improve the brow region. In cases that are too advanced for this treatment, a surgical browlift would be indicated.

How can I raise my eyebrows in one day?

For a quick fix to mild brow ptosis, Botox Cosmetic injections are the easiest solution. A so-called chemical browlift uses small doses of Botox arund the eyes and in the forehead to allow for lift of the tail of the eyebrows.

How do I know if I need a brow lift?

If your brow hairs are sitting on the brow bone edge (for women) or below this (for men), a browlift may be indicated.

How long do brow lifts last?

A browlift, like most procedures for facial aging, is permanent. However, the face will continue to age. Over time, patients may desire to repeat the browlift. This is typically after 10 years or more. Some brow lift techniques have a shorter lifespan -- for example, brow lifts performed with threads may last only a few months.

How long does numbness last after brow lift?

Numbness of the scalp after browlift is common. The degree and location of numbness will depend on the type of browlift performed, and specifically on the location of the incisions used.

How much does a brow lift cost?

Browlift costs vary by technique, surgeon, and location. In addition, the setting (office vs. surgery center) and anesthesia type (sedation vs. general) will affect the costs.

How much is a brow lift?

Browlift changes are permanent. However, the face and brow region will continue to age over time.

Is eyebrow lift dangerous?

Browlift is a safe procedure, though complications are possible. Bleeding under skin (hematoma) is the most common problem. This is treated by drainage of the blood and/or placement of a drain. Weakness of the forehead muscle can also occur; this is from bruising or injury of the nerve that controls forehead movement. In most cases, this is a temporary problem and will recover in a few weeks to months.

Is eyebrow lift surgery painful?

Many patients will experience some pain or headache after browlift surgery. This is temporary and can be treated with oral medications.

What age should you get a brow lift?

There is not a best age for a browlift. This surgical procedure treats a specific anatomical issue -- a flat or ptotic brow. Some patients will have this procedure as early as their 30s, while others may never need it.

What can I expect after a brow lift?

After a brow lift, there is generally some bruising and swelling in the forehead and temple region. There can be puffiness around the eyes as well. Patients often experience some discomfort or headache, as well as a feeling of tightness. This generally resolves in a few days.

What is a direct brow lift?

Direct browlift is a procedure to lift the brows that involves removal of skin in the forehead immediately above the eyebrows. This is used most commonly in cases of forehead paralysis and is also a good option for bald men.

What is a mini brow lift?

A mini browlift is a term used to describe a procedure to lift the brows that is performed with minimal incisions.

What is endoscopic brow lift?

An endoscopic browlift uses small incisions and an endoscope to perform the browlift. The endoscopic portion is typically for resection or ablation of the corrugator muscles. This has become less popular over time as it can lead to separation of the brows in the midline and too much lift of the medial brow.

What is the difference between a brow lift and blepharoplasty?

Brow lift is a procedure to lift the eyebrows. Blepharoplasty is a procedure to treat the eyelids (upper or lower).

When can I wash my hair after brow lift?

In most cases, patients can wash their hair 48 hours after browlift. Conditioner and other hair treatments must be avoided.

Will brow lift cause hair loss?

It is possible to have some hairloss (allopecia) from a brow lift due to tension on the scalp or compromise of the vascularity of the hair follicles. This is uncommon.

Dr. Evan Ransom is an Ivy League-educated and Ivy League trained Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. He is a Double Board Certified Head and Neck Surgeon and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and fellowship-trained in facial plastic, reconstructive, and laser surgery. His practice is in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving patients from San Francisco, Oakland, Marin County, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, Walnut Creek, the East Bay, and all over Northern California.