Forehead Lift Vs. Endoscopic Forehead Lift?

What's the difference between an forehead lift and an endoscopic forehead lift? Which one is better?

Doctor Answers 44

Endoscopic Lifts have slightly quicker recovery but open techniques last longer

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There are a number of alternative surgical techniques for lifting sagging brows. The endoscopic technique utilizes several smaller incisions in the scalp to tunnel beneath the forehead and 'release' the brows. The sagging brows along with the skin of the forehead are then shifted upwards and resuspended in a more youthful position. No skin is removed. In the open technique, a longer continuous incision is made across the scalp, the tissues are lifted, 'frown' muscles are weakened, and a strip of redundant skin is removed in order to permanently lift the brows. This is the key difference between the two techniques.

The controversy in recent years has centered on whether the endoscopic technique can achieve as lasting a result. Since the stretchy skin is only shifted upwards and not removed, there is a greater chance that the brows will settle lower with time. This is especially true for someone with heavy tissues and thick skin.

One important thing to understand is that the endoscopic technique not only shifts the brows but also shifts the hairline upwards. If you already have a 'high' forehead, this may not be such a good thing. So, the endoscopic technique may be a good option if you have thin tissues and a normal to low hairline to begin with. Of the different open techniques, the trichophytic incision is a really wonderful approach. This incision hugs the hairline in such a way that the hairs grow back through the scar. It can achieve a great natural result and can even lower the hairline for those who've noticed it creeping backwards over the years. If done correctly, the incision should be essentially invisible.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Consider Limited Incisison Lateral Browlift

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If there is a facial rejuvenation surgery that is over-recommended and often overdone these days, it is without question the browlift. Look no further than the celebrity photo magazines for pictures of stars who look like they have just sat down on a plate of tacks. The goal of aesthetic plastic surgery should be to make a person look better and more youthful, not merely different, and certainly not as though one is perpetually surprised. My goal is to provide my patients with results which appear natural, and an unnatural-appearing brow is a dead giveaway that a person has had facial plastic surgery.

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. Additionally, through this same incision I can perform suspension of the midface (cheek) if that is part of the surgical plan.

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.

The Male Browlift

As opposed to the female brow, a man's brow is aesthetically acceptable at, or even slightly below, the orbital rim. The male brow may or may not be arched laterally, and most commonly it is relatively horizontal in orientation. In cases where the male brow has descended well below the orbital rim, and the upper lid tissues appear heavy and redundant, a browlift can be an effective means of rejuvenating the upper third of the face. A great deal of care must be exercised, however, to avoid overdoing and thereby feminizing a male brow.

Although men are much less often good candidates for browlifts than women, endoscopic or trans-blepharoplasty removal of the corrugator (or vertical frown line) muscles is as applicable to males as it is to females, to permanently soften or completely eliminate vertical frown lines between the eyebrows.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Endoscopic browlift compared to other browlifts

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I have had good success with the endoscopic browlift.  Like any procedure, how the surgeon executes it makes the difference.  There are different forms of fixation, or securing, and I like the endotines.  Endoscopic lifting has the appeal of minimal incisions and also minimal numbness of the scalp like some of the other procedures.  However there are times when other options may be better.  When a patient has a high hairline, it may be better to place the scar along the hairline or even in a deep wrinkle of the forehead.  These scars can be very inconspicuous when properly placed, with careful monitoring of the healing process.

Christopher Cote, MD
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

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Forehead Lift Differences

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There are several approaches to rejuvenating the forehead including endoscopic and open approaches. The best approach usually accounts for several factors:

Hairline- Patients with high hairlines may benefit from a hairline lowering procedure (open approach), while some endoscopic techniques can alter hairline.

Concomitant Procedures- Patients with an endoscopic midface lift are often best served with an endoscopic browlift.

Office Setting vs Operating Room- Some patients may wish for only lateral brow elevation. This can be done in an office setting quite comfortably for the patient.

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

Forehead Lift vs Endoscopic forehead lift. Which is better?

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  Certainly, there is no uniform answer to this question, and good doctors will disagree.  Some will argue that the results are not as dramatic with the endoscopic approach but others will argue that the advantage of small incisions vastly overwhelms any such advantage achieved with the long incision "open" technique.  Another alternative is a small incision non endoscopic forehead lift which can frequently be done with the same small incisions as with the endoscope but at reduced cost.  Hope this helps!

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 140 reviews

Forehead Lift Options

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There are many methods for performing a browlift or forehead lift including an endoscopic browlift (through tiny incisions with the assistance of telescopes) , bicoronal forehead lift (extensive incision from ear to ear across the top of the head) and a tricophytic or hairline browlift. (hidden along the hairline. Each of these techniques achieves a similar result through the brow and the forehead in terms of smoothing of lines and gentle elevation of the brows.
The key difference is in how they affect your hairline. The Bicoronal (ear to ear) browlift elevates or pulls your hairline back, raising the frontal hairline by up to one inch. The Endoscopic lift has minimal effect of the position of the hairline. The tricophytic or hairline browlift can be used to adjust the hairline, usually lowering it to address a receding hairline or widow's peaks in the temporal hairline.

The forehead procedure that is the best for you will ultimately depend on how much skin laxity you have, the  hairline position that you desire, and the types of incisions/scarring that is acceptable to you.
Best of luck!

Dr. Clevens

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Endoscopic forehead lifts are superior to open methods

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Endoscopic forehead lifts are a very common procedure in my practice.  It has been my experience over the past 12 years that they are superior to open procedures for several reasons.  With the exception of people who have very heavy brows, the results are at least equal and often better than with open methods.  Advantages of the endoscopic method include:

1. 3-5 small incisions behind the hairline versus long scalp or hairline incisions

2. Shorter surgery time

3. No issues with hair loss

4. Considerably fewer problems with scalp numbness

5. Potentially reversible

6. Equal access to the frown muscles and ability to add fascia or fat grafts in the frown muscle area.

7. Very minimal elevation of the hairline

Open methods of performing forehead lifts cause more numbness, elevate the hairline, frequently cause problems with hair growth around the scar, and cannot be reversed.  Becasue of these reasons I strongly recommend endoscopic procedures for the forehead for the majority of patients.

Jeffrey E. Kyllo, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Endoscopic vs open browlift

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I honestly did not have great longevity with the endoscopic browlift and have gone to doing most of my browlift open.  It is a long scar but it usually heals beautifully and my patients have not had any long term complaints regarding sensation changes.  The advantage of the open technique is the great exposure of all the vital structures and the longevity of the results.  For patients with hair line issues (many men for example), I often do a transblepharoplasty brow lift using Endotine fixation devices.  These provide a modest lift which is what looks best in men as too much elevation makes them look too feminine. 

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

One is done with a camera

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Endoscopic browlifts are performed using a camera mounted to scope.  The procedure is done through small incisions.  A traditional browlift is performed through a coronal incision from ear to ear.  Make sure if you are seeking an endoscopic browlift that your surgeon has good experience with the technique and performs the procedure in a facility with the right equipment and staff accustom to the procedure.

Brow Lift: A Hairline Decision

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As other posters have noted the terms brow lift and forehead lift are interchangeable. However, the technique that is used is predicated on the position of the hairline. If a patient has a low or normal hairline, the endoscopic (minimal incision) approach is generally favored; it allows the case to move along more quickly and offers less recovery time. However, if a patient has a high hairline, the Trichophytic (irregular beveled incision, along the hairline) approach is favored, because it will stabilize the position of the hairline and allow for brow elevation. I do not utilize the coronal approach because it combines a large incision with an elevation of the hairline.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

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.