Forehead and Brow Lifts

Performed by our experienced oculofacial plastic surgeons at OHSU Casey Eye Institute, forehead and brow lifts can help refresh your appearance and improve your vision

Brow lifts can be done for cosmetic and medical reasons—raising the eyebrows to improve peripheral vision. If you have low-set brows, you may look angry or tired even when you are not. This facial "miscommunication" can cause problems for some people at home and in the workplace.

Image of before and after a forehead lift.
Forehead and brow lifts can improve vision and appearance. Actual patient.
Forehead and brow lift image from the front before and after.
Forehead and brow lift before and after. Actual patient.

What is the procedure like?

A brow lift can be performed with the incision through the skin immediately above the brow, at the hairline or above the hairline, depending on the patient’s needs and desires. Most cosmetic brow lift incisions are hidden behind the hairline.

Brow lifts can be done as microsurgery, using an instrument called an endoscope that allows your doctor to see the pertinent anatomy, as well as be able to use micro-surgical instruments. This can mean smaller, less noticeable incisions. Virtually all patients go home after a brow lift, with no overnight hospital stay. A responsible adult will need to stay with you if sedation or general anesthesia is used.

A procedure called internal brow lift surgery lifts the eyebrows through the same incision used to remove excess skin from the upper eyelids. Your doctor will release the tissue that holds the eyebrow down, allowing it to move upward. This procedure lifts the eyebrows, but does not treat forehead wrinkles.

Frequently asked questions about brow lifts and eyelid surgery

Do I need to check into the hospital for brow lift or eyelid surgery?

No. Both these procedures can be easily and comfortably performed in our office ambulatory surgery center. You will have local anesthesia, with medication to relax you. If you prefer, you may have general anesthesia.

What is recovery like for brow lift and eyelid surgery?

Most patients who have brow lifts at OHSU Casey Aesthetic Facial Surgery Center also have eyelid surgery. Eyelid surgery usually causes more bruising and swelling than a brow lift, and recovery from this can take up to three weeks. Stitches dissolve or are removed about one to two weeks after surgery. Recovery from a brow lift alone typically takes seven to 10 days.

You may shampoo your hair the day after surgery, but should not scrub near the incision sites. You should avoid hair coloring or other harsh chemicals in the hair for four weeks after surgery.

Many patients who have brow lifts have temporary forehead numbness. This usually disappears over a few months.

Does insurance pay for brow lifts or eyelid surgery?

Insurance companies do not pay for endoscopic forehead lifts. They usually pay for eyelid surgery when drooping eyelids affect your vision. However, when droopy eyebrows impair vision, insurance companies in Oregon may pay for direct brow lift surgery (through incision directly above brow)  when a patient meets certain photographic and visual field requirements (performed in our office and submitted by us). The other possible scenario is if a patient has paralysis of one or both sides of the face from a stroke or Bell’s palsy. In this case, insurance companies will sometimes pay for the direct eyebrow lift procedure previously mentioned.

Are there risks to brow lift or eyelid surgery?

Yes. There are risks involved in all medical procedures. The doctors and staff at OHSU Casey Aesthetic Facial Surgery Center will discuss the risks with you so you can make an informed decision. We can answer any questions you have about brow lifts, eyelid surgery and other cosmetic procedures.

If you are considering a brow lift or eyelid surgery, please call 503 494-3020 for a consultation. The consultation fee is applied toward your surgical fee should proceed with cosmetic corrective procedures.