Thursday, August 2, 2012

What's the difference between a browlift and a blepharoplasty? Which do you need?

This is a very frequent question in my practice. Maybe my patient saw something on TV or spoke with a friend but they're convinced that they need a specific procedure to rejuvenate their face. This is incredibly common when talking about the eyes and upper face and there is alot of confusion out there.

What is a browlift?
Women tend to have refined, arched eyebrows which sit above the bony rim of the eye socket. Men, on the other hand, tend to have flat eyebrows with minimal arch and their brows tend to sit right on top of the framework of the eye socket. The browlift procedure is designed to lift and reshape the eyebrows. 

Does the browlift procedure differ in women vs. men?
The procedure is technically the same. However, I aim for a refined, arched brow in women and a flatter, less elevated brow in men to maintain the natural cues of a feminine or masculine face. One major mistake for men seeking brow or eyelid surgery is undergoing a procedure with a plastic surgeon who does not frequently operate on men. The result is often a feminized appearance that clashes with the rest of the man's masculine appearance.

What is a blepharoplasty?
Both upper and lower blepharoplasty are frequently performed. This is the most common procedure performed in my practice for women and men. 

An upper blepharoplasty is performed to remove extra skin from the upper eyelid, a small strip of muscle and occasionally a pocket of fat near the nose. This recreates the natural eyelid crease and "opens" the eyes making a person look more rested and more youthful.

Lower blepharoplasty most often involves removing fat that forms a "bag" or a bulge in the lower eyelid. This is typically performed with an incision hidden on the back of the eyelid. In patients with extra skin in the lower eyelid, a small incision is placed below the eyelashes to remove the extra skin.

So which do I need?
Drooping eyebrows AND extra upper eyelid
skin require both a blepharoplasty and browlift.

  • If your eyebrows are drooping AND there is extra skin in the upper eyelid when the brow is lifted to its natural position, you need a browlift AND a blepharoplasty.

Drooping eyebrows but NO extra upper eyelid
skin require a browlift only. 

  • If your eyebrows droop but there is no extra skin in the upper eyelid when the brow is lifted to its natural position, you need a browlift only

Eyebrows in good position but extra upper
eyelid skin require a blepharoplasty. 
  • If your eyebrows are in good position but your upper eyelids are full, you need an upper blepharoplasty.

How can I learn more?
Setup a complimentary consultation with me to discuss browlift, blepharoplasty or any aspect of facial rejuvenation surgery. You can reach my office at (303) 788-6632. For your convenience, I have office hours on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays available.


  1. I had a Brow Lift, face lift and neck lift two months ago and i have no feeling around my face ,the top of my head, my forehead and my neck, its been two months and i am still numb, is this normal.

    1. Depending upon the type of browlift you've had, this might not be unusual. Open browlift techniques (long incision from ear to ear) typically divide the sensory nerves and patients can have permanent numbness as a result. Numbness in the face and neck following a facelift should resolve within a few months. I'd recommend that you visit with your Facial Plastic Surgeon if these symptoms aren't beginning to improve. Thank you for your comment.