What is forehead lift?
I am glad you asked that question. Simply put, a forehead lift is a procedure which we use to lift the skin of the forehead and in doing so hopefully do away with the underlying wrinkles. This can be done in several ways and has to be usually tailored to the patient and their anatomy. The forehead is addressed by lifting the forehead skin and removing 1 to 2 centimeters of the skin. This again all depends on how the patient looks and what their needs are. The incision is usually placed immediately at the hairline. Another way of addressing this is to use a camera and endoscopically try to free up the skin of the forehead and tack it up 1 to 2 centimeters higher. However, this should only be done with patients with a low hairline. Otherwise, their hairline is unacceptably retracted.
By lifting the forehead, some patients are left with a less saggy look and their face and especially their eyes appear more engaging, and their overall appearance is younger.
Is this surgery covered by insurance?
What are the possible complications of a face lift?
Like any surgery, there are risks and complications. With forehead lifts, the complications can be bleeding, infection, shock, numbness, asymmetry, facial nerve injury, necrosis of the tissues, dehiscence or breakdown. Of these the most often we see bleeding and numbness as issues. Bleeding can be easily managed. More importantly however, bleeding can best be prevented by the patient. Patients need to be off of any type of blood thinners such as coumadin, aspirin, plavix, and must also be off of vitamins and additives for at least three weeks. It may sound strange but many of the bleeding complications seen are due to the use of vitamins. Another complication that is seen is numbness or nerve injury. Many of the nerves to the face are rather superficial. In this way, they are very close to the skin. Other nerves like branches of the facial nerve tend to be in the area of the intended incisions. Because of these two facts, many patients complain of significant numbness in the areas and incisions around the forehead lift. These then slowly heal and the sensation does return. There are also several places in the face that motor nerves can be injured and cause a functional problem. Again, most of these return in time. The longest I have seen for this to take and for the problem to correct without an intervention is about 6 months.
How painful is the procedure?
Like any surgical procedure, there is pain involved. Most patients comment that they have a mild to moderate amount of pain. Most of the pain seen with forehead lifts is usually related to swelling. Most patients complain that they have a tremendous amount of swelling and therefore their faces feel full. This is the cause for most of the angst and not the actual pain level. Most patients do not really complain of pain. Actually most speak about the fact that they are just soar.
To treat the pain, we routinely keep patients on post-operative oral pain medicines. We have many to choose from. Again, like the level of pain that can be related to ones tolerance, the treatment for the pain is individualized to give the patient the most amount of relief.
How long do I have to take off from work?
Great question. Most often I suggest to patients that they consider taking about 1 to 2 weeks from work. Let me elaborate. Once the operation is completed, the area involved becomes swollen and in many cases becomes extremely bruised. This area then slowly goes through healing. I ask most of my patients to start walking by day#2. I ask them to stay away from exercise at the gym for about 4 weeks. I believe this prevents the development of excessive swelling. As for work though, most patients are fairly comfortable in returning by week 3. However, this does depend on what type of work the patient does.
Can I combine this procedure with any other procedure?
Yes. Like any surgical procedure, there are limits to what can be done and what is safe. As for the yes, it can be combined with some other procedures. Multiple other procedures like a facial peel or laser therapy and ablative facial neck procedures are routinely performed. Any procedure that may be too long or too arduous and place the patient at risk for significant bleeding or significant anesthetic exposure would have to be deferred and done in two stages. Please understand I say this without knowing exactly what you, the patient, may have in mind. I can only speak from my experience.
Am I a good candidate?
Plastic surgery is not for everyone. It involves certain risks like any operative procedure. As long as you are aware of this fact, you can be considered for the procedure. However, in every case, the patient is best served by a thorough evaluation of their history, their body and
their overall expectations. You as the patient have to be realistic and cognizant of what is possible and what is reasonable. Trust me, I am from Beverly Hills and I have had the privilege of working with many of the famous groups of plastic surgeons in LA. I can simply tell you there is no magic. We offer an opportunity to help you with surgical procedures in correcting what you may think is abnormal about your body. Also please understand that for many patients no surgery is needed; just a friendly word of encouragement and confidence from the local plastic surgeon.