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Brow Lift or Forehead Lift Risks and Complications


                               Brow LIft or Forehead Lift Risks and Complications

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A bleeding episode can occur during or after surgery with a brow lift.  Should post operative bleeding happen - it could require emergency treatment to drain the accumulated blood.  If accumulated blood happens behind the flap, it can slow down healing and cause scarring.

Hematomas form seldom in direct browplasty and mid-forehead brow-plasties, but are more common in the bi-coronal flaps. Should one develop under the forehead flap, elevation of the flap with control of bleeding is required. Suction drains are placed. Smaller hematomas can be managed with incision and drainage followed by pressure dressings.

Not taking any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications for at least 10 to 14 days before or after surgery will help decrease the risk of bleeding.  Make sure you follow your plastic surgeon's pre and post-op instructions with what you should avoid before surgery.



  • Seroma

Seromas are fluid accumulations infrequently occur in between the skin and the underlying tissues. Should this problem occur, it may require additional procedures for drainage of fluid.



Infection is not common with brow lift procedures, however; if one should occur additional treatments including antibiotics, hospitalization or additional surgery could be necessary.



Hypesthesia or a decrease of sensation are common following forehead rejuvenation procedures.  The coronal lift procedure or the trichophytic flaps can develop permanent loss of sensation, but this is rarely a concern to most patients. 

Temporary hypesthesia with a "browplasty" can last for several months.  Diminished or loss of skin sensation in the face or scalp area may not totally resolve itself after brow lift surgery.

Sometimes chronic itching sensations can occur within the scalp and brow area following a brow lift as well.



Allergies to the tape, staples, suture material, tissue glues, and other biodegradable soft tissue devices used to keep the tissue anchored for a lasting effect with a brow lift.  Serious reactions including shock (anaphylaxis) can occur to drugs used during surgery and prescription medications. 



Facial nerves are at risk during elevation of the forehead flap with the brow lift and the muscular tissue.  Both motor and sensory nerves during a brow lift procedure have potential for injury - including the sensory nerves of the forehead, scalp, and temple regions.  Weakness or loss of movements of the forehead or upper eyebrow could possibly occur as well.  Most patients do notice a return of motor function - as permanent weakness, numbness or painful nerve scarring is very rare. 



Lagopthalmos is tissue shortage which will  prevent adequate eyelid closure.  Lagopthalmos is rare when browplasty alone is performed. A patient having a prior blepharoplasty, however, significantly increases this risk. If a blepharoplasty is to be performed, it should always follow any forehead procedure, and excision of skin should be conservative. In most cases, mild lagophthalmos resolves with conservative therapy, including massages and ophthalmic ointment to prevent corneal abrasions.



Disorders that involve the abnormal position of the upper eyelid (ptosis), loose eyelid skin (ectropion or entropion) may coexist with sagging forehead or eyelid structures.  Brow lift surgery will not correct these problems. Additional surgical procedures may be needed in order to correct these issues. 



Skin contour irregularities including hyperpigmentation, depressions and or wrinkling of skin may occur after a brow lift. Visible and palpable wrinkling of skin or possibly the ends of the incision form "dog ears" - which may require additional surgery. Most of the time these skin irregularities resolve itself with time, however; if that does not correct the situation then possibly additional surgery might be needed.



Granuloma formation can occur with the use of braided absorbable sutures rather than monofilament sutures



It is normal to have some bruising and swelling after the procedure. The skin and tissue near the surgical site can either appear lighter or darker than the surrounding skin. Every patient however, are unique with their healing times. In rare cases, if swelling and bruising persists for a long period of time, it could end up being permanent.



Although good wound healing after a surgical procedure is expected, abnormal scars may occur within the skin and deeper tissues. Excessive scarring is uncommon. The possibility of visible marks showing on the skin from staples, sutures or hardware used during a brow lift could occur.  There are many different scar treatments available. 

Read about Scar Treatments



Hair loss due to follicle shock is rare, and is usually seen in cases of prior alopecia. It is most likely to occur during revision procedures, when a secondary incision is made posterior to the initial incision. This may lead to hair loss between incisions.



General anesthesia as well as local involve some risk. 

Read more about anesthesia risks



Typically, the human face is normally asymmetrical.  There are going to be variations from one side to the other in the results obtained from a brow lift procedure.  If the asymmetry is great, then a surgical revision might be necessary. 

Read more about asymmetry with a brow lift



Wound healing with a brow lift is possible. Some patients heal slower than others as well as some parts of the brow and scalp may not heal normally and may take a longer time to heal. Smokers are at a greater risk of skin loss and wound healing complications.

Read more about Delayed Wound Healing




Skin may become dead after a brow lift surgery, however for the most part that is a rare complication.  If this happens, the area is usually within the hair and scalp are where the incision was placed.  If this should occur, a minor corrective procedure might be necessary.

Read more about Necrosis




Modification of a patient's facial expression might occur after the elevation of the eyebrows, including where intensive swelling has occurred. This is normally temporary, as the swelling dissipates, the forehead gradually resettles to its natural position. 



Mild to moderate postoperative pain is managed with pain medication. Rarely, will chronic pain exist after this procedure. 



Surrounding structures - as well as the eye, nerves, blood vessels, skull bone and muscles may be damaged during surgery.



If a patient is unsatisfied with the result of their forehead lift or brow lift - it may be necessary to perform additional surgery to improve your result.




A brow lift does not stop the "aging process" or produce permanent tightening of the forehead area. Many variable conditions influence the long term results of a brow lift. The appearance of the brow may change due to aging, weight loss, gain, sun exposure, or other circumstances not related to brow lift surgery. More than likely, as time passes you might see reappearance of some wrinkles and frown lines - as well as lowering of the brow as one ages. Other treatments or surgery might be needed to maintain the results of the brow lift surgery.






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