“Regardless of a patient’s age, it’s critical to release the brow at a level below the periosteum, which is a Saran Wrap-like layer immediately above the bone,” notes Sunder. “If we don’t adequately raise that level, the brow will drop back down pretty quickly.”
In younger patients with little to no laxity, doctors rarely remove skin during a brow lift. In those over 40, they may trim out a small crescent of scalp before repositioning and tacking up the tissue with suture anchors or heavy braided stitches. “Depending on the placement of suture, you can change the way you orient the tissues,” Devgan explains. “If you place your sutures more toward the center, you can get more of a peak. If you place them more lateral, you can get more of a cat-eye.”
Following surgery, plan on being out of commission for five to seven days. You’ll have bruising and swelling around the incision sites and possibly above your eyebrows. Your doctor may have you wear a compression dressing for a couple of days, and will give you an antibiotic ointment to help your incisions heal faster. Post-op pain can usually be managed with Tylenol if needed rather than narcotics. Sutures, depending on the type, will either gradually dissolve on their own or be removed about a week after surgery. Expect numbness around your scars to last for several months, says Sunder; occasionally, this lack of sensation can be permanent.
Potential complications include bleeding, infection, hematoma (pooling of blood under the skin), wound separation, and poor healing. Hair loss at the incision site can also happen. “It’s rare that we have this issue, but if someone feels [they’re] at high-risk for hair loss, we’ll inject PRP [platelet-rich plasma] at the time of surgery [to stimulate the follicles],” Sunder says. Nerve injury is another uncommon risk associated with the brow lift, as “the frontal branch of the facial nerve which innervates the frontalis muscle [of the forehead] typically passes above the tail of the eyebrow,” she adds.
Defying surgery’s reputed permanence, brow-lift results aren’t forever — more like a decade, max, often less in younger patients, since surgeons intentionally take a less aggressive approach, avoiding skin removal and taut tugging for a mere fine-tuning of the brow architecture.
Your anatomy, the complexity of the procedure, and your surgeon’s location and creds will all influence the final price tag, but you’re looking at a ballpark range of $4,000 to $16,000 for a lateral lift.
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