Possible to Get a Natural Looking Brow Lift?

I am considering having a brow lift and was wondering what the chances of looking like my eyes are always "wide open" are going to be? I've looked in so many magazines where the stars have had this done and they look like they cant close their eyes...do all brow lifts make you look that way?

Doctor Answers 18

Natural Looking Browlift

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.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Brow lift should leave you looking completely natural.


There are three reasons people look startled after browlift.:

1) Many brow lifts are done on women who do not need it. If your brows are in normal position (above the rim of the bone), you do not need a browlift.

2) The brows are lifted too high during brow lift. Finesse is everything.

3) The attractive shape of the brow is not paid attention to. The outer brow (towards your temple) should curve higher in a woman, without too much raising of the inside (above nose).

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

Browlift results should be directed to your aesthetic goal

Browlifts can definitely be overdone, resulting in that startled, shocked expression that concerns so many patients and doctors alike. So the key is to make sure that a browlift is appropriate at all, and if so, it is done to the degree that looks rested and natural. Sometimes an upper eyelid blepharoplasty is the right solution to help open your eyes, so you need to discuss these options with your surgeon in order to be most accurate.

If a browlift is truly a consideration, some parameters are helpful to keep in mind. For women an ideal brow position has long been postulated, and an article in the last month has confirmed that shape. The medial part of the brow is at or just below the bony orbital rim. The lateral part of the brow then gently arches to peak roughly above the corner of the eye, and then shapes down a bit from there. So achieving the "ideal" brow position may not require much lift at all, or may involve more shaping/lifting of just the lateral part. All those are issue you should cover with the surgeon preop. My experience has been the surprised look comes when the medial part of the brow is lifted too much.

Communicate with your surgeon. Ask questions. You should be comfortable that a browlift will result in natural, elegant improvement.

Kevin Robertson, MD
Madison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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Brow lift can give you beautiful and natural looking results

A successful outcome from surgery is based on the expertise of your surgeon and how well they understand your goals. A brow lift can give you a beautiful, natural looking improvement. The key is to avoid over correction. For this reason, make sure to look at before and after photos of patients as well as be honest and frank about your expectations.

How to get Natural Results from a Brow Lift

Good for you for being cautious. Brow Lifts can leave people with rather surprised expressions if they are done on patients who do not need a brow lift or are done too aggressively. But a Brow Lift done to the right extent on an appropriate patient will yield natural-looking results.

The first step is to decide wither a Brow Lift is appropriate for you. This is where the selection of the most skilled plastic surgeon is important to guide you in the decision making process. One important part of finding the right surgeon is looking at their Before & After examples for the natural results you want. Once you choose a surgeon, communicate your goals and fears/concerns clearly. An easy way of finding a qualified surgeon may be to look for surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Natural brow lift

Any surgery can be performed surgery to overexaggerate someone's looks and make them look overdone.  The key is to find a surgeon who can get a natural result.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
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If the brow lift is done correctly will you will achieve a natural look...

If the brow lift is done correctly you will achieve a natural look.  Right after surgery you may feel some tightness in the brow, but that is to be expected.  We perform our browlifts endoscopically and there is a much less chance of overraising the eyebrows.  A lot of brows that you may see that are too high are the result of the older style coronal browlift which we do not perform anymore.  If you are a good candidate and have a qualified surgeon with a lot of browlift experience, you should be very happy with your results.

Plastic Surgery is an art

Every plastic surgeon has there own aesthetic ideal. This holds true for all procedures as well. Good plastic surgeons can accomplish their own vision of beauty. You just have to be sure that your vision of beauty is their vision as well.

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Natural Results after Browlift Surgery

The goal of all cosmetic surgery, including browlifts, is a natural result. We've all seen bad results, but this is not a complication of a well-done procedure. Sometimes the elevated, surprised look is the intended result of the misguided aesthetic taste of patient and surgeon. Be very specific with your surgeon whose work you respect.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Achieving natural results after brow lift

Great question!

In my humble opinion, the reason most patients look surprised after a brow lift is that they did not require a brow lift in the first place!

This is especially true for endoscopic brow lift, which I think is overused, in patients who only require a blepharoplasty (removal of excess eyelid skin only).

In general, and there are rare exceptions, if the eyelid skin on the lateral part of your brow is in good position (there is no hooding of the skin), then a blepharoplasty with or without Botox after surgery, will result in a much more natural result.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 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.