Cosmetic Surgery Tips

What Is The Difference Between A Brow Lift And Blepharoplasty

What Is The Difference Between A Brow Lift And Blepharoplasty? When it comes to facial rejuvenation, there are a lot of options out there. Some are less invasive than others, but all can help you look younger and more vibrant. One of the most common procedures is brow lift surgery. This surgery involves removing excess skin and fat from the upper eyelids to give them a more youthful appearance. This can also serve as an alternative for those who want their eyes to look bigger without having any work done on their eye sockets or brow bone.

Another common procedure is blepharoplasty, which is also known as eyelid surgery. This procedure removes excess skin from your upper and lower eyelids with the goal of giving you a more youthful appearance by reducing bags under your eyes and smoothing out wrinkles around your eyes.

What Is The Difference Between A Brow Lift And Blepharoplasty

As you age, your skin loses collagen and some of its elasticity. With time, you’ll notice loose and sagging skin around your face, forehead, eyebrows, and eyes. That can make your face look older, tired, and even less friendly. Brow lifts and blepharoplasty are two cosmetic surgeries that can restore your face’s energetic and youthful appearance. You can get a brow lift to correct droopy eyebrows, an eyelid lift to correct droopy and puffy eyelids, or both to rejuvenate the entire upper one-third of your face.

Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Scott Turner is an expert in facial rejuvenation and plastic surgery. He will carefully assess you to understand your concerns and the exact issues with your upper face and recommend the procedure that can give the best aesthetic results.  

What Is a Brow Lift?

A brow lift, also known as an eyebrow lift or forehead lift, is a cosmetic procedure that improves the appearance of your forehead, eyebrows, and upper eyelids. It raises the eyebrows into a more youthful position and smoothes wrinkles in the forehead. 

Age, sun damage, stress, and genetics can cause the skin on the forehead to lose its elasticity and relax. As a result, you can develop deep furrows or frown lines on the forehead over time, and the eyebrows begin to sag over the eyes.

A forehead lift repositions the skin and soft tissue of the forehead and brow to lift sagging eyebrows that hang over your upper eyelids. Lifting the eyebrows also smoothens forehead wrinkles and creases.

As a result, the forehead looks smoother, the eyes look more alert, and the entire face looks healthier and happier.

There are three main types of brow lift surgery:

  1. The classical (coronal) brow lift: this is the most invasive type of brow lift surgery. It involves a single, long incision that extends along the hairline from one ear to another
  2. The limited incision (temporal) brow lift: this is a more commonly performed brow lift and requires two shorter incisions, one above each temple
  3. The endoscopic brow lift: this is the least invasive type of brow lift and requires very small incisions behind the hairline which minimises visible scars

What Is Blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is a cosmetic surgery that improves the appearance of the eyes and the area around them. It removes extra skin or fat from the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both.

With age, your eyelids stretch and relax as the muscles supporting them become weaker. Eventually, you develop extra loose skin and excess fat above and below your eyelids.

That causes droopy upper eyelids and bags under your eyes that make your eyes look puffy and tired. Moreover, severe eyelid sagging can affect your vision and make it harder to see what’s around you from the sides (it reduces your peripheral vision).

Blepharoplasty removes excess skin and fat from the upper and lower eyelids to correct baggy or droopy eyelids and improve your vision.

Consequently, this procedure can help make your eyes look younger, more rested, and more alert.

What’s the Difference between a Brow Lift and Blepharoplasty?

Both brow lift and eyelid surgery can give your face an overall healthier, younger, more refreshed look. Initial wound healing from a brow lift takes around two weeks, the same as a blepharoplasty.

The main difference between the two cosmetic procedures is the area of the face each surgery addresses:

  • A brow lift targets the skin and soft tissue in the forehead. On the other hand, a blepharoplasty removes extra skin and fat from the eyelids (upper and lower)
  • A blepharoplasty can improve the appearance of the eyes, but it does not reposition the eyebrows. Alternatively, a brow lift surgery lifts the eyebrows and improves the appearance of the upper eyelids without removing any skin and fat from the eyelids
  • A brow lift incision is made along the hairline in the forehead, whereas blepharoplasty incisions are made along the natural creases of the upper eyelids

NOTE – Some patients mistakenly have blepharoplasty surgery when they really needed a brow lift.

How Do I Know If I Need a Brow Lift?

A brow lift surgery is ideal for people with a low brow position.

You might need a brow lift if you’re constantly raising your eyebrows to see better or if you look in the mirror and raising your eyebrows makes your eyes look wider and more alert.

Moreover, if you notice deep wrinkles and frown lines on your forehead, a brow lift can also address those cosmetic concerns.

You probably don’t need a brow lift if you have eyebrows that naturally sit high on your forehead. In this case, a forehead lift would raise your eyebrows even higher, making them look unnaturally high. As a result, you’ll look surprised the entire time.    

How Do I Know If I Need Blepharoplasty?

You probably need blepharoplasty if you have heavy, sagging eyelids and bags under your eyes that make you look tired all the time.

Additionally, eyelid surgery might be the most suitable treatment option for you if your heavy eyelids are obstructing your vision.

If you raise up your eyebrows and that doesn’t improve your vision or how your eyes look, then you’ll likely benefit from a blepharoplasty more than you would from a brow lift.

On the other hand, if raising your eyebrows improves your vision and appearance, then eyelid surgery might not be the best option for you. Consider a Brow Lift.

Which Is Better – Blepharoplasty Or Brow Lift?

Many patients with sagging eyelids wonder which procedure is better for them, a brow lift or a blepharoplasty. 

Choosing between a blepharoplasty or brow lift surgery depends on several factors, including:

  • The current condition of your upper face, skin and eyes
  • What cosmetic concerns you want to address with surgery
  • Your desires – What look are you hoping to achieve with your surgery

Regardless of which cosmetic procedure you’re hoping to get, you must always consult with an experienced plastic surgeon before coming to a decision.

Dr Scott Turner is an expert in facial plastic surgery and has significant knowledge in facial anatomy and eyelid functions. He’ll examine your face, assess your individual needs and goals, and advise you on which procedure can give you the best results.

In general, blepharoplasty is most suitable for patients with:

  1. Hooded eyelids
  2. Bags under the eyes
  3. Obstructed vision because of droopy upper eyelids

However, eyelid surgery alone doesn’t do much to correct fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.

Alternatively, brow lift surgery is ideal for patients with:

  • Droopy eyebrows
  • Fine lines and wrinkles on the forehead
  • Obstructed vision because of heavy low eyebrows 

Can You Combine a Brow Lift With Blepharoplasty?

A blepharoplasty and brow lift surgery are often combined to rejuvenate the appearance of both the eyelids and eyebrows.

In some patients, a brow lift on its own or a blepharoplasty on its own might not address all the cosmetic concerns a patient would like to correct.

In some patients, there isn’t enough skin or tissue in the eyelids to remove during eyelid surgery. In those cases, the surgeon can remove a small amount of tissue from the eyelids and then lift the eyebrows to maximise your results.  

In other cases, the eyebrow might sag even more if your surgeon removes excess skin and tissue from the upper eyelids. In such cases, simultaneous brow lift surgery helps stabilise the position of the eyebrows and prevent further drooping.  

Another benefit of combining those two procedures is that the patient gets to have a tighter forehead in addition to wider, more alert eyes.

When necessary, Dr Turner can perform a brow lift at the same time as a blepharoplasty. That allows you to receive the benefits of the two cosmetic procedures while going under anaesthesia only once and through only one recovery period. 

Combining eyelid surgery with a brow lift can help you achieve an overall fresher and more youthful appearance.

Which is better: blepharoplasty or brow lift?

  • You should consult with an experienced facial expert plastic surgeon to figure out whether a blepharoplasty or a brow lift is the right procedure for you. In general, eyelid surgery is most effective for people with excess skin and droopy upper eyelids. Meanwhile, a brow lift works best for people with heavy, droopy eyebrows and forehead wrinkles.

Can a brow lift fix hooded eyes?

  • Yes, a brow lift can fix hooded eyes, but only if they’re the result of droopy eyebrows.  Brow Lift surgery can lift sagging eyebrows that droop over the upper eyelids. By doing so, this procedure lifts some of the heaviness off of the eyelids and makes them look wider. However, if excess skin and fat in the upper eyelids are causing the appearance of hooded eyes, then the person would need a blepharoplasty instead of a brow lift to fix that. 

Is an eyelid lift the same as blepharoplasty?

  • Yes, blepharoplasty is another name for an eyelid lift which is a cosmetic surgery that rejuvenates the eyes by removing excess skin and fat from the upper and lower eyelids. 

Can a blepharoplasty fix wrinkles around the eyes?

  • An eyelid lift surgery can slightly improve crow’s feet wrinkles, but it doesn’t make a dramatic difference. If you want to get rid of wrinkles around your eyes or on your forehead, procedures other than blepharoplasty can help you achieve that goal.

Does brow lift change eye shape?

  • The main goal of brow lift surgery is not to change the shape of your eyes. Nonetheless, lifting the eyebrows can slightly change the shape of your eyes. In particular, your eyes will look bigger, wider, and more alert.

Does blepharoplasty lower eyebrows?

  • In some cases, yes. A blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) might cause the eyebrows to drop with time. To avoid that, your plastic surgeon can give you a brow lift at the same time as your eyelid surgery to keep your eyebrows in balance and avoid having them droop after some time.  

Brow vs bleph? Lift the brow and/or the upper eyelid with plastic surgery

Blog post - before after photograph upper eyelid surgery forehead lift brow

Women and men typically start to consider upper eyelid surgery due to natural aging in their 40’s. While some patients may benefit from eyelid surgery at an earlier age, patients more commonly have upper eyelid area surgery after age 40.

An upper blepharoplasty (i.e., eyelid surgery) removes excess skin and fat from the top eyelid but does not directly change the eyebrow. A brow lift lifts the eyebrow, primarily from the sides of the brow, but may also improve the area closer to the nose too. For some patients, a brow lift alone may help improve the appearance of the upper eyelid without blepharoplasty. For others, upper blepharoplasty combined with brow lift surgery is performed at the same time for facial rejuvenation.

How does a patient decide whether a brow lift, upper blepharoplasty, or both procedures is the more appropriate option for them?

Upper eyelid surgery

Upper blepharoplasty is probably one of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures performed by facial plastic surgeons. Upper blepharoplasty is a relatively minor procedure that is performed via local anesthesia, which we previously reviewed here. Upper eyelid surgery takes about an hour and has minimal recovery. Upper blepharoplasty often removes skin but may also lift muscle and reduce eye fat, as appropriate. Below is an example of a woman who had upper eyelid surgery via local anesthesia. She looks naturally refreshed and is very happy with the results.

Upper eyelid surgery - before:after.001

Limited incision brow lift

Unlike traditional brow lift surgery from years ago, which involved an incision across the entire forehead, the endoscopic or limited incision brow lift is a minimally invasive technique for lifting and stabilizing the eyebrows. Plastic surgeons perform minimally invasive plastic surgery through very small incisions hidden in the scalp’s hair for a refreshed appearance. Brow lift surgery lifts, repositions, and stabilizes sagging upper eyelid area tissue that occurs with natural aging and sun damage.

Limited incision brow lifts or endoscopic brow lifts (i.e., endobrow) usually take under an hour via local anesthesia with IV sedation. Skin is not removed with this type of brow lift. By lifting the eyebrow, less redundant skin is in the upper eyelid area.

The woman in the photograph below had upper eyelid surgery several years ago. She was not a brow lift candidate initially during the eyelid surgery, but she continued to age naturally with time. She later underwent an endoscopic or limited incision brow lift to further improve the upper eye area, years after upper eyelid surgery. No incisions were placed in the upper eyelid, and no skin was removed to rejuvenate the upper eye area.

Benefits of an endobrow or limited incision brow lift, as compared to traditional brow lift surgery:

  • smaller incisions
  • reduced scarring, bruising, bleeding, swelling, numbness, and hair loss
  • faster recovery

Combined upper eyelid surgery with limited incision brow lift

Generally, brow lift surgery and blepharoplasty are performed at the same time, if necessary. One benefit of combined surgery is that you only go through one recovery period rather than two separate recovery periods. The other benefit of combined surgery is that, for some patients, the eyebrow may drop lower after upper blepharoplasty alone unless it’s stabilized or lifted with a limited incision brow procedure.

Below is a woman who always had low set eyebrows that worsened with time. In addition, she developed excess skin and a droopy upper eyelid. She wanted to rejuvenate the appearance of both the eyes and eyebrows. She underwent both upper blepharoplasty and brow lift surgery, as she would have had unsatisfactory results if she only had either procedure alone.

Blog post - before after photograph upper eyelid surgery forehead lift brow

If I can’t do both at the same time, which should be done first, upper blepharoplasty or brow lift?

Some patient are unable to or don’t want to perform both procedures. If performed separately, many plastic surgeons may recommend performing the upper eyelid surgery first, then followed by brow lift at some point in the future, perhaps combined with a face lift or other procedure. There isn’t one right answer, as each patient is unique. The decision to which procedure to perform first is determined by office examination and consultation with your plastic surgeon.

Are there alternatives to actual cosmetic surgery?

Yes, but non-surgical treatments to lift the eyebrow are more often temporary with more subtle results. Botox®, Dysport®, and Xeomin® are office treatments that not only soften wrinkles in the forehead, but may also improve the upper eyelid area by lifting the brow. These cosmetic injections must be performed every few months to maintain results.

In addition, there are “skin tightening” devices that use energy (ex. heat or ultrasound) to “lift” an area. The results with these non-surgical devices develop gradually with time and are also subtle, for those who may appreciate the results.

How does one decide?

The decision for plastic surgery is a mutual decision between the patient and the plastic surgeon. Based on physical anatomy and patient preferences (cost, recovery, anesthesia, etc.), the plastic surgeon will suggest an appropriate option for the patient to consider.

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