Can I Get a Forehead Reduction Without Looking "Surprised?"

I like my eyes and eyebrows as they are now. I simply want to reduce the height of my forehead, for I feel it looks a little disproportionate. I've read about brow lifts and such, but I don't want to have a more "alert" or "surprised" look after surgery. Age:20

Doctor Answers 16


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Forehead reduction surgery does not give you a "surprised" look.  Facelifts or brow lifts sometimes can do that.  A great cosmetic surgery is a subtle change that can make a world of difference without being ovious.  A bad cosmetic surgery is like herpes.  It's for life.  

Los Angeles Hair Restoration Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Hairline lowering surgery without raising brows

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Hairline lowering surgery or forehead reduction surgery can be performed without changing the position of the eyebrow.  The surgery only changes the height of the hairline and doesn't effect the brow height unless you want it to.  Some individuals want a browlift as well as a hairline advancment or lowering which is also possible in the same procedure.  

The hairline is lowered with an incision at the hairline in a fashion to allow the hair to grow through the scar as the anterior most hair follicles grow back in.  We don't shave the hairline to perform the procedure, and in fact, the day after the procedure, if your hair covers the incision, no one would be able to tell you had the procedure.  

Forehead Reduction Without Looking "Surprised"

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This is a great question that is not uncommonly asked.  A forehead reduction surgery  will not result in a 'surprised look' if done correctly.  It depends on how much the surgeon 'lifts' the forehead.  Forehead reduction mainly relies on moving the scalp forward - so much of the tension is on this area.  Alternatively, some patients actually would like and can benefit from a brow elevation as well - and this is fully achievable during the same operation but just requires a few more surgical steps.  From your photos, it appears that you may be a great candidate for the forehead reduction procedure just to reduce the height of your forehead and bring it in balance with the rest of your facial features.  I hope this helps and best wishes to you.

Natalie Attenello, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Forehead Reduction without the "surprised" look

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That overly-lifted look comes from a brow that has been raised too much, and it can be avoided simply by being more conservative with the lift. In general, a natural-looking result can be achieved by paying attention to maintaining an attractive shape of the brow in conjunction with the orbital rim rather than simply lifting the whole brow as much as possible. 

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Forehead lift

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Based on the information given, and your photos you should discuss this with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ( ASPS).  It does not appear from your photos that you are a good candidate for this procedure.  Do your research.

Forehead Reduction

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The goal of a forehead reduction is to have a natural look. Based on your photograph, you do not seem to warrant having the procedure. To verify, consult with 2 - 3 board cerified plastic surgeons who are expert in the procedure.

Forehead Reductions done well will not leave you looking surprised.

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The short answer is yes, you can get a forehead reduction without looking surprised. In fact the whole goal and definition of success is to look natural. The long answer is that I don't think you need the procedure as you have youthful face and although your forehead is a little high it is probably not worth is quite yet to have surgery. You look too good so the benefits don't outweigh the risks (scar that is visible)

Avoiding Surprised Look with Forehead Reduction

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Forehead reductions are done for women usually in their middle years or later and would never be recommended for an otherwise normal looking young woman with just a small elevation of the hairline. The trade off of the scar would not be worth it, in my opinion. 

A forehead reduction is different from a forehead lift.  The former is done to lower the hairline, and the latter is done to restore normal position of the brows, lost from age,and atrophy of fat and bone around the eyebrows.

Sometimes a forehead reduction is combined with a forehead lift when the distance from eyebrows to hairline is 7 cm or more.  There is a trade off of a scar, however, at the hairline.

There is no reason for a patient to look surprised after a forehead lift, unless the brows were elevated too much.

The desired result is a normal, refreshed look.  This can be accomplished with surgery alone, fat grafting at the orbital rims, or a combination of both.

Can you have a forehead reduction without brow elevation

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We routinely reduce foreheads with a hairline lowering operation that never gives long term brow elevation. If brow elevation is also desired,  a variation to the procedure is instituted. Most of these procedures in my practice  are done on the younger age group  (16-40)  who do not have sagging brows.  Hair transplantation can be done to give a similar effect but it takes about a year for the result to be appreciated and the cost is much more. If you are strongly motivated to reduce the height of the forehead and have adequate scalp laxity, you might be a good candidate for this operation.

Sheldon S. Kabaker, MD FACS
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon

It is important to understand what you are asking for.

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By saying you want to reduce the length of your forehead what that conjures in the mind of the cosmetic surgeon is a pretrichal (incision made along your hairline) forehead surgery.  Skin is removed below the hairline.  The surprised look occurs when the eye brows are lift too much.  It is certainly possible to have this work done without creating a surprised look.  However, getting the surprised look is only one of the possible negative consequences of such a surgery.  Assuming that you go to a surgeon who understands facial aesthetics and is able to lift your eyebrows to the perfect height, it is appropriate to ask what other consequences of the surgery are you going to suffer?  The revolution in forehead lifting that occurred 20 years ago was the movement away from open forehead lifts to so-called closed or endoscopic forehead lifts.  A pretrichal forehead lift is not an endoscopic forehead lift.  Instead it is an open forehead lift where the forehead lift incision is made along the hairline.  Given your age and how attractive you are without any surgery at all, I predict that you will come to regret allowing a surgeon to perform a pretrichal forehead lift even if they position the eyebrows perfectly to your liking.  No matter how gifted the surgeon, even a perfectly beveled incision that allows hairs to grow through it will at best cause hair compression along the hairline.  It will be unnatural.  This will make you feel self-conscious about showing your hairline.  At worst, the scar itself will be visible with unnatural hair loss long the incision forcing you to maintain bangs.  The incision itself will leave the central scalp permanently numb.

I hope for your sake you will listen to the advice of others posting here and give up on the idea of having this type of surgery.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 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.