American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

A plastic surgeon’s guide to brow lift recovery

guide to brow lift recovery

A brow lift is a cosmetic surgery procedure that elevates the eyebrows and forehead, creating a more youthful and refreshed appearance. There are three main types of brow lift procedures – open, endoscopic and temporal.

Learn what to expect during your recovery after a brow lift procedure, and delve into key aspects like wound healing, scar formation and the return to your regular routine. First, let's take a moment to explore the different surgical approaches.

Open brow lift

An open brow lift involves making an incision across the upper scalp. This scar can be camouflaged right at the hairline from one side of the forehead to the other, or it can be one inch behind the hairline, going from ear to ear. The forehead skin and underlying tissues are then repositioned to lift the entire eyebrow and forehead. Excess skin may be trimmed at the hairline. The incision is then closed with sutures.

Endoscopic brow lift

An endoscopic brow lift is a minimally invasive procedure with three to five separate one-inch incisions hidden behind the hairline in the scalp. An endoscope is inserted into the incision to allow the surgeon to visualize the space under the forehead and to lift the eyebrows and forehead tissues. These scattered incisions are then closed with sutures. Forehead skin is not removed with this approach.

Temporal brow lift

A temporal brow lift involves a two- to three-inch incision on each side of the temporal hairline or in the scalp. The surgeon will lift the skin along the temples and lateral brow. The outer part of the brow is elevated, and a small amount of excess skin or scalp is removed. The incision is then closed with sutures.

Brow lift recovery timeline

Regardless of the surgical approach, the recovery timeline is very similar.

  • Days 1-7: Swelling and bruising may develop on the forehead, brows and possibly under the eyes. Soft gel packs, head elevation and rest are critical regardless of the surgical approach. A dressing or headband may be used for gentle compression. Petroleum-based ointments may be applied to incision lines to optimize healing.
  • Weeks 1-2: Swelling and bruising significantly improve, and light makeup may be used. Sutures are removed, and light activities like walking are encouraged. Avoid strenuous exercise and bending down.
  • Weeks 2-3: Driving is permitted after the pain is well managed without narcotics and as mobility returns. Most patients return to work within a week of endoscopic brow lifts and around two weeks after other procedures.
  • Weeks 3-4: Most light daily activities may be resumed with minimal restrictions. Avoid strenuous physical activity.
  • Weeks 6-12: Physical activity can gently increase. A return to strenuous activity may be permitted by the end of this period. Working out, running, tennis, yoga and other fitness activities may be resumed as permitted by your surgeon. Start with low-impact activities like walking and gradually increase intensity. Check with your surgeon before going to the hair salon.
  • Months 3-6: Final results emerge as scars begin to fade and the brow settles into its new position.

Key brow lift recovery tips

Here are some tips to make your recovery from a brow lift as smooth as possible:

  • Elevate Your Head: Sleep with your head raised on a wedge pillow or on multiple pillows reduces swelling and postsurgical discomfort.
  • Cold Compresses: Soft, cool gel packs minimize swelling and ease post-operative tenderness.
  • Restrict Activity: Bending down to pick something up off the floor and strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting can negatively impact healing. Confirm your activity restrictions with your surgeon, especially if you are a caregiver for others or have manual physical labor as a part of your daily routine.
  • Care for Incisions: Follow your plastic surgeon's instructions regarding dressings, medication, wound care, scar treatment and specific activity restrictions.


A brow lift delivers a refreshed appearance around the forehead and eyes. Imagine brighter, more visible eyes framed by lifted brows that harmonize with your entire facial structure. Taking the time to rest and recover will give your body the necessary time to heal and optimize your final outcome.

Remember, every patient and every surgical procedure is unique. Ask your plastic surgeon for specific instructions as they pertain to your procedure. If you are considering a brow lift, make sure to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who is an ASPS Member Surgeon to discuss the right procedure for you.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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