Brow Lift Face Off – Surgical vs Chemical Brow Lifts

If you’re past your 30s, you may have noticed a slight heaviness to your brows or maybe, as you’ve grown older, you’ve noticed a small drop in your brows.

Many patients come into the plastic surgery consultation office and say something along the lines of “I don’t like the 11s in my brow” or “I look like I’m always frowning.”

Men and women are looking to their plastic surgeons to find options to restore a fresh and youthful face with a brow lift. In this article we discuss two different options for the brow lift procedure. How do you know which one might be right for you? Chemical and surgical brow lift options go head to head in this brow lift face off.

What is a Brow Lift?

In a brow lift procedure, creases or lines across the forehead or vertical lines between the eyebrows can be minimized. Some people may get a brow lift to soften the furrows between their brows or to slightly raise the brows to give a more youthful and open appearance.

People with a sagging brow may have a drooping upper eyelid that can impair vision or leave the face with a tired appearance. A brow lift can open the eyes and have you looking more awake and alert.

Chemical Brow Lifts

Chemical brow lifts with Botox or Dysport can be a great option for younger and more active patients who want to see a slightly higher brow. They are only temporary fixes for people who may be hesitant about the surgical brow lift or who are just looking for a small, non-permanent lift in the brow. The chemical brow lift is a less invasive technique than the surgical brow lift.

Keep in mind that Botox can only give you 1 or 2 mm of brow elevation. Often, in the early stages of brow heaviness, a chemical brow lift can be enough to make a slight change. The effects of this type of brow lift are not permanent and can last between 3 to 6 months.

Surgical Brow Lifts

Surgical brow lifts can lift the brow up to one centimetre or more. These brow lifts include coronal, endoscopic, and direct brow lifts. Trained plastic surgeons who have extensive knowledge and experience with facial and forehead anatomy are needed to perform surgical brow lifts, as it requires more training and equipment than the chemical brow lift procedures. For example, the endoscopic brow lift uses a small camera (endoscope) that transmits images to an external screen. The plastic surgeon can then make tiny incisions in the hairline to release the muscles holding onto the brow and then reposition the muscles without having to remove any skin. Worried about the dreaded permanent “surprised look” with a brow lift? This endoscopic method is great for achieving a very natural look.


Chemical brow lifts take the prize as the less expensive option, although, over time (and many chemical brow lifts later) the surgical procedure may be more economical in the long run.


Being the less invasive procedure, chemical brow lifts also have the shortest recovery time and carry fewer risks for complication than the more invasive surgical procedures.  Surgical procedures result in some temporary swelling and you’ll have to wait a few weeks before the final results of the surgery are apparent.

Adverse effects:

Some patients may develop a hypersensitive side effect to Botox or Dysport. Pinpoint bleeding or small bruises can also be a common occurrence around the area of needle insertion, although these should resolve very quickly. When undergoing surgery, there is potential for complications.  These will be reviewed with you in detail during your consultation.

Is this procedure right for you?

In addition to chemical and surgical brow lift procedures, your plastic surgeon may recommend additional or alternative options such as laser peels which tighten the forehead skin or fillers which lift the eyebrow.

Your plastic surgeon will have experience selecting the best procedures to achieve the aesthetic look you are after. Your best bet is talking to your plastic surgeon about what option will work best for your individual case.

About Fairview Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Centre: Dr. Cameron Bowman is a fully trained aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon. His practice is located at Suite 480 – 999 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z1K5. Contact him at 604.734.1416 or