Risks & Complications of Brow Lift
Every surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk and it is important that you understand the risks involved with Browlift. An individual’s choice to undergo a surgical procedure is based on the comparison of the risk to potential benefit. Although the majority of patients do not experience the following complications, you should discuss each of them with your surgeon to make sure you understand the risks, potential complications, and consequences of browlift.
Bleeding – It is possible, though unusual, that you may have problems with bleeding during or after surgery. Should post-operative bleeding occur, it may require emergency treatment to drain accumulated blood or require a blood transfusion. Do not take any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications for ten days before surgery, as this contributes to a greater risk of bleeding. Non-prescription “herbs” and dietary supplements can increase the risk of surgical bleeding. Hypertension (high blood pressure) that is not under good medical control may cause bleeding during or after surgery. Accumulations of blood under the skin may delay healing and cause scarring.
Infection – Infection is unusual after this surgery. Should an infection occur, additional treatment including antibiotics or surgery may be necessary.
Skin scarring – Excessive scarring in uncommon. In rare cases, abnormal scars may result. Scars may be unattractive and of different color than the surrounding skin. There is the possibility of visible marks from sutures or hardware used during a browlift. Additional treatments may be needed to treat abnormal scarring.
Change in skin sensation – Diminished (or loss) of skin sensation in the face and scalp area may not totally resolve after browlift surgery. Chronich itching sensations can occur within the scalp and brow following a browlift.
Skin contour irregularities – Contour irregularities, depressions, and wrinkling of skin may occur after browlift.
Damage to deeper structures – Deeper structures such as the eye, nerves, blood vessels, skull bone and muscles may be damaged during the course of surgery. The potential for this to occur varies with the type of browlift surgical procedure performed. Injury to deeper structures may be temporary or permanent.
Change in surgical approach for browlift – In some situations, depending on factors discovered only at the time of surgery, your surgeon may have to make changes in surgical technique and approach to the browlift procedure. This may require changing from endoscopic (closed) procedure to a standard (open) browlift.
Asymmetry – The human face is normally asymmetrical. There can be a variation from one side to the other in the results obtained from a browlift procedure.
Delayed healing – Wound disruption or delayed wound healing is possible. Some areas of the brow may not heal normally or may take a long time to heal. Some areas of skin may die, requiring frequent dressing changes or further surgery to remove the non-healed tissue.
Smokers have a greater risk of skin loss and wound healing complications.
Allergic reactions – In rare cases, local allergies to tape, suture material, or topical preparations have been reported. Systemic reactions which are more serious may occur to drugs used during surgery and prescription medicines. Allergic reactions may require additional treatment.
Seroma – Fluid accumulations infrequently occur beath the skin. Should this problem occur, it may require additional procedures for drainage of fluid.
Long term effects – Subsequent alterations in forehead and upper eyebrow appearance may occur as the result of aging, weight loss or gain, sun exposure, or other circumstances not related to browlift surgery. Browlift surgery does not arrest the aging process or produce permanent tightening of the forehead. Future surgery or other treatments may be necessary to maintain the results of a browlift procedure.
Eye irritation – Irritation or dryness in the eyes may occur after a browlift or when the patient has eyelid surgery performed at the same time.
Pain – Very infrequently, chronic pain may occur after browlift.
Hair loss – Hair loss may occur in the scalp or surgical incsions. The occurrence of this is not predictable. Hairloss may resolve slowly or in rare cases be permanent.
Hardware and deeper sutures – Some surgical techniques use small screws or permanent deep sutures to help suspend brow structures. In very unusual circumstances, a screw could penetrate through the skull. Intracranial injury is rare, but possible. If this occurs, additional treatment may be necessary. It may be necessary to remove hardware or deeper sutures at a later time.
Eyelid disorder – Disorders that involve abnormal position of the upper eyelids (eyelid ptosis), loose eyelid skin, or abnormal laxness of the lower eyelid (ectropion) can coexist with sagging forehead and eyebrow structures. Brow lift surgery will not correct these disorders. Additional surgical procedures may be necessary.
Surgical anaesthesia – Both local and general anaesthesia involve risk. There is the possibility of complications, injury, and even death from all forms of surgical anaesthesia or sedation.
Nerve injury – There is the potential for injury to both motor and sensory nerves during a browlift procedure. Weakness or loss in movements of the forehead or upper eyebrow may occur after surgery. Most individuals will notice a return of motor function; permanent weakness is rare. Injury may also occur in the sensory nerves of the forehead, scalp, and temple regions. Diminished sensation may normally occur in the scalp region after a browlift surgery. Permanent numbness or painful nerve scarring is rare.
Unsatisfactory result– You may be disappointed with the results of surgery. Infrequently, it is necessary to perform additional surgery to improve your results.
Additional Surgery Necessary
There are many variable conditions in addition to risk and potential surgical complications that may influence the long term result from Browlift surgery. Even though risks and complications occur infrequently, the risks cited are the ones that are particularly associated with Browlift surgery. Other complications and risks can occur but are even more uncommon. Should complications occur, additional surgery or other treatments may be necessary. The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee or warranty expressed or implied, on the results that may be obtained.
Deep Venous Thrombosis, Cardiac and Pulmonary Complications: Surgery, especially longer procedures, may be associated with the formation of, or increase in, blood clots in the venous system. Pulmonary complications may occur secondarily to blood clots (pulmonary emboli), fat deposits (fat emboli) or partial collapse of the lungs after general anaesthesia. Pulmonary and fat emboli can be life threatening or fatal in some circumstances. Air travel, inactivity and other conditions may increase the incidents of blood clots travelling to the lung causing a major blood clot that may result in death. It is important to discuss with your surgeon any past history of blood clots of swollen legs that may contribute to this condition. Cardiac complications are a risk with any surgery and anesthesia, even in patients without symptoms. If you experience shortness of breath, chest pain or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you might require hospitalisation and additional treatments.
Smoking, second-Hand Smoke Exposure, Nicotine Products (Patch, Gum, Nasal spray): Patients who are currently smoking, use tobacco products, or nicotine products are at a greater risk for significant surgical complications of skin dying, delay in healing and additional scarring. Individuals exposed to second hand smoke are also at potential risk for similar complications attributable to nicotine exposure. Additionally, smokers may have a significant negative effect from anaesthesia and recovery from anaesthesia, with coughing and possibly increased bleeding. Individuals who are not exposed to tobacco smoke or nicotine containing products have a significantly lower risk of this type of complication.
It is important to refrain from smoking at least six weeks before surgery and until your surgeon states it is safe to return, if desired.
Female patients information: It is important to inform your surgeon if you use birth control pills, estrogen replacement, or if you believe you may be pregnant. Many medications including antibiotics may neutralize the preventive effects of birth control pills, allowing for conception and pregnancy.
Intimate Relations after Surgery: Surgery involves coagulating of blood vessels and increased activity of any kind may open these vessels leading to a bleed or hematoma. Increased activity that increase your pulse or heart rate may cause additional bruising, swelling and the need for return to surgery and control of bleeding. It is wise to refrain from sexual activity until your surgeon states it is safe.
Medications: There are many adverse reactions that occur as the result of taking over the counter, herbal, and/or prescription medications. Be sure to check with your surgeon about any drug interactions that may exist with medication that you are already taking. If you have an adverse reaction, stop the medication immediately and call your surgeon for further instructions. If the reaction is severe, go immediately to the nearest hospital. When taking the prescribed pain medication after surgery, realize that they can affect your thought process. Do not drive, do not operate complex equipment, do not make any important decisions and do not drink any alcohol while taking these medications. Be sure to take your prescribed medication only as directed.