What is the difference between an eyelid and a brow lift? Do I need only an upper eyelid lift, or both?

An upper eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) will address the problem of excess skin hanging over the upper eyelid. This often gives the eyelids an aged appearance. A brow lift addresses the problem of the eyebrows descending downward, giving the brow a heavier look and, sometimes, making the individual appear older, more tired, or even angry. Sometimes when the eyebrow or forehead descends, or droops, this can result in increasing the laxity of the upper eyelid skin that can worsen eyelid aging changes already present. If a person has both excess looseness of the upper eyelid skin resulting in hooding and folds of skin of the upper eyelids, as well as brow descent, an upper eyelid lift alone will only solve part of the problem. Sometimes an upper eyelid lift should be combined with a brow (or forehead) lift.

In addition to rejuvenating the upper eyelid area and eyebrow area, a forehead lift can also smooth some of the horizontal wrinkles of the forehead and, in fact, lift the area between the eyebrows and reduce the furrows in this area as well.

With an upper eyelid lift, the excess skin of the upper eyelid is removed, any fatty fullness that gives the eyelids a heavier appearance can also be removed, and the incision is carefully closed. This result ins an all but invisible scar that rests within the fold of the upper eyelid. A brow lift, or forehead lift, will elevate the skin and soft tissue of the entire forehead and eyebrow area allowing it to be elevated and held in place in its newly elevated position. A forehead lift can be done through a traditional open technique which will typically provide greater lifting and a longer-lasting result, or be performed through several small incisions utilizing surgical telescopes to elevate and secure the forehead in its younger, more attractive location.

Occasionally I’m asked; “What if all I want is to do an eyelid lift, but my forehead and eyebrows have aged somewhat too?”

In this case, I recommend my patients decide whether the limited, but still significant, improvement that can be provided by an eyelid lift alone is worthwhile. If so, proceeding with an eyelid lift alone is certainly reasonable. If, however, the patient is sure that he or she will not be happy unless full rejuvenation is performed, then both an eyelid lift and a brow lift would certainly be necessary. In general, an upper eyelid lift is certainly a smaller procedure with less swelling and discomfort when compared with a forehead lift. Therefore, many patients elect to proceed with the eyelids only and remain open to the idea of a future forehead lift if further rejuvenation is desired.

The most important thing to remember at all times and in all cases of cosmetic surgery, is that the best surgical plan is the one that is custom-designed and is most suitable for the unique goals of each patient. During your consultation with me, I will help you to understand how best to proceed to reach those goals in as convenient and comfortable a way as possible.