Forehead Lifting vs. Subbrow Lifting

While we age, our eyebrows become lower and eyelids starting to look saggy. There are two effective plastic surgeries to solve these problems but it is easy to confuse them. In this article we will explain you the differences of these two anti-aging surgeries and give you a better idea which one would solve your upper eyelid and brow problem.

Subbrow lifting & forehead lifting – surgery technique comparison

Subbrow lifting is a surgery which pulls upward droopy eyelids together with eyebrows. It consists of three main steps. Doctor starts with making an incision right under the eyebrow – this choice of incision area also minimizes scar visibility. Then the excess skin and muscles are excised, tightened, and sutured. Finally, doctor fixes the lifted skin is well fixed to prevent re-occurrence of sagging. 

Three steps of Subbrow Lifting surgery

Forehead lifting is a little more complex surgery and consists of four major steps. The first main difference is the incision area, which in this case is done under the hairline. There are five small incisions made around 1 cm behind the hairline. Then, the doctor uses endoscope and detaches the skin and frontal muscles on the forehead, which causes the wrinkling and sagginess. In the next step the skin is lifted together with droopy eyelids and eyebrows. Last step, similarly to subbrow lift, is fixing everything in the right position to ensure long-lasting effect and applying the stitches. The device used in JW Plastic Surgery to fix the forehead plate in the new position is called endotine – and it is completely absorbable.

Forehead lifting fixing device – “Endotine”

Forehead lifting and Subbrow lifting characteristics comparison

 Subbrow LiftingForehead Lifting
Surgery duration1 hour1-2 hours
Post-operative visits2-3 times2-3 times
Removal of stitches5-7 days after operation3-7 days after operation
HospitalizationNot requiredNot required
AnesthesiaSedation or local anesthesiaShort-term sedation or local anesthesia
Recovery period1-2 weeks1-2 weeks

As you can see the recovery period of both surgeries is very similar, the main difference is in the surgery duration, as forehead lifting is slightly more complicated and technically demanding operation than subbrow lifting.

As we covered the technical nuisances already, we can move to the core, which is for whom are these surgeries recommended?

For whom we would recommend the Subbrow Lifting?

Subbrow lifting is suitable for you, if you observe one or more of these conditions:

  • Have a wide space between your eyebrows and eyelashes.
  • Have thick upper eyelid skin – particularly if caused by aging
  • Have eyebrows that are sloping down
  • Have asymmetric eyebrows

Subbrow lifting is suitable and very effective for people with problems caused mainly by the area between the eyelashes and eyebrows, as subbrow lifting focuses mainly on above mentioned area. It is suitable and widely recommended to patients who experience heavily sagging and thick skin, already covering their eyelid crease. It will be also helpful if eyelids look swollen, because of overly thick skin or excessive fat in their folds, no matter if it’s caused by aging or by natural predispositions of an individual. Depending on the patient, expected effect is reduced sagginess of eyelid, lighter impression by reduced “swelling” and younger-looking and lifted eyebrow arch.

Patient in her 60s after Subbrow Lifting
Patient in her 50s after Subbrow Lifting
Patient in his 20s after Subbrow Lifting

For whom we would recommend the Forehead Lifting?

Forehead lifting is the most suitable and effective treatment if you:

  • Have lots of wrinkles on their forehead
  • Have sagging eyelids and eyebrows.
  • Have angry or sad facial impression due to slit eyebrows
  • Have deep glabellar frown lines.
  • Want to reshape the forehead and remove wrinkles at the same time

Forehead lifting has some common advantages with subbrow lift, but it has wider overall scope of effect, as it is focused on forehead and together with improving the forehead shape and removing forehead wrinkles, it improves the droopy eyelids and slit eyebrows as well. However, if your droopy eyelids are overly thick and the droopiness is advanced, we would still recommend the subbrow lift.

To summarize, subbrow lifting is more focused on the upper eyelid area only as forehead lifting gives a complex effect from the eyelid area to the top of the forehead.

Patient in her 20s after Forehead Lifting
Patient in her 20s after Forehead Lifting
Patient in her 60s after Forehead Lifting

Subbrow Lifting and Forehead Lifting FAQ

Here we list and answer some questions concerning both procedures, that were frequently asked by patients of JW Plastic Surgery Korea.

How long does the effect last?

The effect sustainability depends on each patient, from initial advancement of sagginess, skin thickness to proper post-operative care and lifestyle related factors. Usually, it is up to 5-7 years for subbrow lift and up to 10 years for forehead lifting.

Is there a risk of nerve damage?

All surgeries, may bring a risk. However, if the surgeon is board-certified and has a lot of experience in certain surgery area, the probability of such an occurrence is almost zero for both surgeries.

Wouldn’t my eyes look strange and bulging after the surgery?

Certainly not. The surgeon adjusts the scope of the lift to ensure the most satisfying and natural effect. It is impossible to make a bulging pop-eye effect inadvertently.

Can people with high hairline undergo the forehead lifting?

Yes. If forehead is excessively broad, then a certain part of the forehead is removed and the hairline is pulled down.

If I undergo the forehead lifting, will my forehead wrinkles get improved without the Botox?

Yes, forehead lifting is recommended widely to people who doesn’t want repeatedly having to get Botox injections.

Are these surgeries recommended only to older people? Can I still have it while I am young?

Both subbrow lifting are suitable to younger people who want to improve the shape and position of eyebrows and eyelids.

Can revision surgery be done after forehead lifting and subbrow lift?

Yes, after some time passes, and you observe sagginess reoccurrence or just want to achieve stronger effect, the revision surgery is available.