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  • 6862 Elm St | Suite 800B | McLean, VA 22101
  • (202) 444-0757

Brow lift

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    Background: Brow Lift surgery is done to enhance the position of a drooping eyebrow.
    Evaluation: Clinical evaluation begins with the assessment of your specific forehead anatomy and your desires for improvement. Dr. Reilly will work with you to create a plan that aligns your goals with potential surgical treatments based on your anatomy.
    Pre-op Considerations: Generally, this type of surgery is done to lift the eyebrow to a position that more closely resembles the unaffected side.
    Surgery: The minimally invasive technique involves small incisions within the hair and placement of a small dissolvable hook to lift the forehead skin onto. The implant, called an “Endotine,” dissolves over a period of about 6 months while the tissues are healing in place.
    Post-op Care: Most patients take one week off work, followed by another week of reduced activity. There will be bruising and swelling for 7-10 days. After 2 weeks, you may resume full activity.


    The eyebrow is frequently in a lower position in patients who have experienced facial paralysis. This can result in a visible asymmetry as well as potential compromise to the upper vision due to physical blockage from the descent of the soft tissues above the eye. Discuss your concerns with Dr. Reilly so he can determine the best surgical technique to address the ageing skin around your forehead and brows.


    Dr. Reilly will perform an in-depth analysis of your forehead and the tissues around your eyes. The examination also includes an assessment of the quality, redundancy, and strength of the eyelid skin and connective tissue.

    If you and Dr. Reilly determine that you are a candidate for surgery, you will also need to undergo a comprehensive eye examination by your optometrist or ophthalmologist to determine whether there are any underlying issues with your eyes that could be exacerbated by brow lift surgery. The comprehensive eye exam will include:
    •Visual Acuity Testing and refraction to determine optimal vision.
    •Visual field testing with the eyelids in a taped and untaped position to determine what improvement in vision could be expected from brow lift surgery.
    •Tear break up time to measure the evaporation time of the tear.
    •Schirmer’s test to measure tear production.
    •Peripheral vision exam to measures your side vision.
    •A microscopic exam of the outer surfaces of the eye.
    •Glaucoma test to measure your eye pressures.
    •Eye dilation to examine the internal eye structures, including the retina, optic nerve, corneas, lens, and blood vessels of the retina. This portion of the exam will likely affect your near vision for at least 2 hours. You may also notice sensitivity to light for up to 4 hours. The use of sunglasses is recommended during this period.

    Brow Lift Pre-operative Considerations

    In the vast majority of patients, the desired result is readily achieved. However, the possible complications of brow lift surgery include but are not limited to the following:
    Infection, bleeding, swelling, scarring, numbness, skin discoloration, asymmetry, change in eyelid position, eye dryness, displeasure with the cosmetic outcome, and allergic or other negative reactions to one or more of the medications or substances used in the operation.

    Surgical Technique:

    With the use of endoscopic technology, the newest surgical approach, several small incisions are made along the hairline to reduce the appearance of scarring, reduce facial numbness, and shorten the recovery process.
    Other surgical techniques may involve larger incisions to achieve the desired look. Based on your concerns, Dr. Reilly will determine the best approach for your surgery. Typically, a brow lift will average one to two hours, and is performed under general anesthesia.

    Brow Lift Post-operative Recovery

    Arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours.
    Go to bed and rest, lying on your back, with your head elevated with 2-3 pillows. You should be lying at a 45 degree angle.
    You may be up and around and able to go to the bathroom. You will be able to eat a light meal with assistance.
    Take medication only as directed.
    Some swelling, bruising and tightness of the bandages are a normal occurrence.
    Place ice packs on the forehead the first 48 hours (on for 20 minutes, then off for 20 minutes).
    Keep the incisions moist with petroleum-based ointment. Cover any draining area with bandages. If they loosen, secure them with more tape. You can expect to have 1-2 drains in place overnight which will be removed the next day at your first post-operative visit.

    You may be up and around as tolerated but expect to tire more quickly than usual.
    Keep activity and meals light, avoiding meals that require significant chewing.
    On the 3rd day, you can remove all bandages and gently shampoo your hair in the shower with baby shampoo. It is advised to let your hair air-dry, but you may use a cool setting if you need to use a hair dryer.
    For the first 48 hours, be sure to keep the incisions clean and dry; apply petroleum ointment as needed. After 48 hours, you may shower; avoid scrubbing the surgical are and do not submerge your face in water. Any external bandages may be changed daily or as needed, if they become saturated.

    You will come into the office for a post-operative check-up.
    No alcohol for the first 7 days after surgery, which can increase bruising and swelling.

    1. Rest and good nutrition are important healing factors, especially during the first 6 weeks.
    2. Numbness, tingling, hardness, tightness, and bumpiness of the surgical area are common occurrences. If any of these things do occur, they will gradually subside over several months.

    1.  Rest and good nutrition are important healing factors, especially during the first 6 weeks. Avoid all contact sports and other potential traumatic activities for the first 6 weeks after surgery.
    2.  Some degree of swelling may persist for up to 3 months after surgery.
    3.  Numbness and tingling around the surgical site are common occurrences. If they do occur, they
    will gradually subside over several months.

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