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Mini-brow Lift Vs. Botox: Trying to Save Money

would love to cut down my botox cost but i like the results to stick around.  today i saw an article on msnbc that said a doctor (Dr. Gerut) offers a mini-brow lift to get permanent botox like results. Here's what the doctor said: "people have Botox to avoid surgery and here's surgery to avoid Botox but it is effective and it's a heck of a lot cheaper in the long run. It costs about as much as two years of Botox and you never need it again," Do you think a mini brow lift will achieve same results as botox for between the eyebrows? Does every plastic surgeon offer this procedure or is it a special technique?

Doctor Answers (25)

"Mini Brow Lift" Sounds Like A Marketing Term

+5

Lateral Brow Lift vs. Endoscopic Browlift

I rarely see a patient that has such significant brow descent that I recommend elevation of the entire brow. However, I frequently see browlift patients for whom conservative elevation of the lateral brow produces a more rested, bright, and even elegant appearance. This is very easily simulated with gentle upward traction on the skin of the lateral forehead - if you feel that this may apply to you then try it in the mirror and the improvement will be quite obvious

A youthful, feminine brow rests above the level of the orbital rim, which is the upper margin of the bony socket in which the eye resides. An aesthetically pleasing brow is somewhat arched laterally, and the lateral end or "tail" of the brow is higher than the medial end. It is quite common for the female brow to assume an essentially flat or horizontal orientation as a person ages.

If the skin and soft tissues lose enough elasticity with age and sun exposure, the lateral brow may even descend to a level below the orbital rim, producing a tired or even 'surly' appearance. The medial brow is relatively fixed in position and in most cases does not descend much, if any. In years past, a browlift surgery required an incision across the top of the head, from ear to ear. This was replaced in the 1990's, for most surgeons, by the endoscopic browlift, which allowed the same procedure to be performed through small incisions just behind the hairline.

While I used endoscopic browlift techniques for several years to treat brow descent, more recently I have transitioned to performing a limited incision lateral browlift that does not require the use of an endoscope. The relatively short incision is hidden behind the temporal hairline, and no incisions are required in the scalp directly above the eyes. The advantage is as follows: this approach allows me to not only redrape the lateral brow (conservatively!) in a higher position, but it also allows me to reposition the skin and soft tissues of the lateral periorbital area in an upward direction, producing a more complete rejuvenation of the periorbital area.

Rejuvenation of the brow by means of a lateral browlift will also, in most cases, improve the appearance of the upper eyelids. When the lateral brow is repositioned above the orbital rim, the vertical elevation may eliminate the appearance of wrinkled or 'crepey' upper eyelid skin. If the lateral upper lid skin is 'hooded' over the lateral corner of the eye, this improves as well. While upper blepharoplasty (upper lid skin excision) is often performed in concert with a lateral browlift, for many patients the upward positioning of the brow eliminates the need for skin excision.

BOTOX ® can also be administered just below the lateral aspect of the eyebrow to produce a temporary lateral browlift, which opens up and brightens the eyes. If you have been receiving Botox to lift your brows and are pleased with the results you may want to continue doing the same.

Michael Law MD

Raleigh, North Carolina


Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Mini Brow Lift will not achieve the same results as Botox

+3

MissMe,

Do not expect a mini brow lift to have the same effects as Botox. Botox is very effective at paralyzing the muscles between the eyebrows (corrugators and procerus), the forehead muscle (frontalis) and crow's feet (orbicularis). A mini brow lift will not address all of these areas as effectively as Botox. My guess is that you would still end up needing some Botox to achieve the results that you were expecting. A mini brow lift does have some benefits, but is not without risk. You have an incision in your hairline and the surgeon must dissect around the nerves that control the muscles in your forehead. If you are in the right hands, you will likely have a nice result, but the result will most likely be different than what you are achieving with Botox.

I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Temporarily yes

+3

As the primary author of the first publication on the Botox browlift in Plastic and Reconstructive surgery, I have performed thousands of Botox treatments for both frown lines and to lift the outer portion of the eyebrows. A minibrowlift that targets the frown lines will cut the muscle (corrugator) and have a temporary effect on the lines. Eventually, the muscle does typically return to function, albeit after a longer period of time than the 3 month effect of Botox.

A temple lift is an alternative between a browlift and a Botox browlift in that it is less invasive than an endoscopic lift, less expensive, and lasts for years to lift the outer portion of the eyebrow, much longer than the effect of a Botox browlift. A temple lift, however, does not treat the frown lines.

Min S. Ahn, MD
Westborough Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

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Consider your options

+3

There are a number of ways to do a browlift, and without knowing specifics it is hard to say what your doctor means by mini brow lift. Using the endoscopic technique, the recovery from a brow lift is pretty quick. Sometimes a mini lift can be accomplished with incisions in the temple area, possibly under local anesthesia. Another alternative is the "no-tox" procedure, which is correctly called "Relaxed Expressions." It is a minimally invasive option but not as simple as botox, though it lasts about a year.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Over long term Browlift cheaper

+3

Over the long run a brow lift is cheaper than Botox. However, the upfront cost for the browlift will be more expensive than the Botox. The choice is up to the patient. Most of the patients I use Botox on can put off a browlift for several years, and the downtime from Botox is next to nothing ( maybe some mild bruising). But, the browlift results are usually permanent and will last a lifetime. Patients who put off a browlift are usually afraid to have surgery, but when they do have it done, they are usually very happy.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

How small is a mini-brow lift?

+3

MissMe:

Here are some general tips: Botox is a great way to soften wrinkles and lines of the forehead between the medial head of the eyebrows (glabella), and the crow's feet of the lateral eyes. We are able to achieve 1-2 mm elevation of the eyebrows with selective injection of Botox. As you are well aware, Botox is not permanent and needs to be repeated every 3-4 months or more. Unfortunately, our biological clocks continue to tick and we continue to age. At some point, the aging process will exceed the benefits of Botox--or, some of our patients become frustrated with the the repeat sessions and expenses associated with Botox. In many ways this is to be expected because, essentially, we are "buying time" hoping to forestall surgery.

A formal browlift accomplishes three feats: aesthetic elevation of the brows, softening or elimination of the lines and wrinkles of the forehead and glabella by direct excision of the forehead muscles causes these wrinkles, and tightening the forehead skin. Anything less than this is a mini-brow lift procedure. How small is a mini-brow lift? That is the $64,000 question that you need to discuss fully with your surgeon after a thorough evaluation.

Dr. Gerut's implication that he performs a "mini-brow lift to get permanent Botox like results" is very misleading. No anti-gravity cosmetic procedure is not permanent, nor do you really want or seek permanent.results--a face that is fixed and frozen. It's all about looking natural, youthful and fresh.

Thanks for your question!

Stephen A. Goldstein, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Sometimes when you try to save money you spend more...

+2

Both a surgical correction of the brow or injections of neurotoxin's such as Botox or Xeomin can give you almost the same outcome. The surgical correction is more predicable and last much longer.There are a great number of patients that have Botox or Xeomin procedures until they feel that the neurotoxin's are not working as well or lasting as long as they used to. In those cases patients eventually do have a surgical correction and have Brow Lifts. For the sake of saving money in the long run you will spend much more by doing injections, remember injections last up to six months surgery can be forever. 

Z. Paul Lorenc, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Brow lift

+2

A temproal brow lift or a mini- brow lift is a procedure that many board certified plastic surgeons have been doing for years.  It elevate the brow tail to a higher position and does improve your eye shape and look.  This is sometimes achieved with botox too.  However, mini-brow lift does not help you with lines in between your brows or frown lines.

Siamak Agha, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

It is very difficult to eliminate the lines between your eyebrows with surgery

+2

A mini-browlift is good for raising the outer part of your eyebrows. It will do nothing for the frown lines between your eyebrows.

To improve these frown lines with surgery, you need an endoscopic brow lift, or an open brow lift. The muscles that cause the frown lines can also be tackled through the upper eyelids.

But there is nothing "mini" about these operations. Also, many patients still need some Botox even after surgery for full correction of the frown lines.

So if you are happy with your Botox results, stick with that. In Manhattan, a treatment of 25 units of Botox should cost you $400 and should last 4 months.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Cut Out Botox? Endoscopic Brow Lift For the Long Run

+2

Botox treatments for the frown lines of the central forehead area ("11-lines") has become the most popular cosmetic procedure across the board. However, for some patients, the ongoing cost of multiple treatments every year can add up. In these difficult economic times, some patients are stretching the intervals between treatments in an effort to save money. Are there alternatives?

Endoscopic Brow Lift is done through small incisions parting the hair just behind the frontal hairline. Using a camera through one incision and surgical instruments through another incision, the surgeon elevates the scalp of the forehead while watching the progress on a computer monitor. The muscles that cause the glabellar frown lines are usually seen quite clearly during this procedure, and these muscles can be cut or disrupted, preventing the frown activity that would otherwise need treatment with Botox. The forehead tissues and brow can also be elevated during this process, if the brow is encroaching on the upper eyelids.

Endoscopic Brow Lift can be a permanent alternative to Botox, or can minimize the need for future treatments, along with producing a more youthful appearance to the upper face and eyelid area. Most plastic surgeons offer this technique. Although it is more expensive than a single Botox treatment, it may provide long-term elimination of the problem frown lines that otherwise would require Botox, making it more cost-effective in the long run.

Athleo Louis Cambre, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.