Complete Guide to Understanding Hairline Lowering Surgery

hairline lowering surgery

Are you hiding behind bangs or hats because you’re unhappy with your hairline? Does it seem like your hairline has changed more than you’re comfortable with when you look in the mirror?

You’re not alone.

The space between the hairline and eyebrows averages about 5-6.5 centimeters. Hair loss or other causes may widen that space, and not everyone is comfortable with that. Although everybody’s forehead is as unique as their face, some appear larger than others for various reasons. Some people feel like their forehead doesn’t compliment the aesthetics of their face. Or doesn’t match how they feel inside. 

A cosmetic surgery procedure that moves the hairline can change that. 

Hairline lowering surgery (also called forehead reduction) can accentuate your features and restore balance and proportion to your face. It can also create a more feminine-looking shape. For some people, the confidence they gain from looking and feeling their best can be life-changing.

If you relate to any of the above, hairline lowering surgery might be right for you, and here’s what you need to know.

The Hairline Lowering Procedure

Hairline lowering surgery is a safe and quick procedure that removes excess skin and repositions your natural hairline closer to your brows to “shrink” the forehead. The result is a reshaped, resized forehead. Your current hairline may be higher than you like due to genetics or may have moved higher because of hair loss or past surgeries. 

If you’re unhappy with your hairline or feel like your forehead seems disproportionate to the rest of your face, it can affect your self-esteem. Although you may be as beautiful as ever to your friends and family, how you see yourself is an integral part of who you are. 

Hairline lowering can have dramatic results on your facial proportions and self-esteem.

Additional Read: 8 Facts About Hairline Lowering That Will Blow Your Mind

What to Expect When You Schedule Surgery

The procedure moves the hairline location lower on your forehead, permanently changing the proportions of your face. The procedure only takes about 2 hours, and the results are noticeable soon after surgery. Unfortunately, recovery doesn’t happen immediately, but we will guide you through every stage. A full recovery lasts 12-18 months.

Here’s what to expect before, during, and after forehead reduction surgery:

Before Your Treatment

Being as healthy as possible before your surgery helps you heal. Starting a month or so before your surgery, you’ll want to take some steps to ensure you have the best experience possible.

  1. 1 week before your procedure, stop taking all aspirin and aspirin-like products (ibuprofen) unless your primary doctor requires it and inform your surgeon
  2. 2 days before your procedure, abstain from alcohol until after the surgery
  3. 6 hours before your procedure (at least), you’ll need to stop eating or drinking
  4. Arrange for a caregiver to help you after the procedure

We’ll discuss these and any other requirements during your initial consultation. 

Day of Treatment

On the day of your treatment, you’ll need to have a driver to take you home. 

  1. Be sure to wash your face and hair thoroughly. Comb tangles out of your hair. 
  2. Refrain from applying any makeup, creams, or any products to your face or hair.
  3. Take one dose of the oral antibiotic with a small sip of water. 
  4. Wear a zip-up or button-up shirt and comfortable clothing for the procedure. 
  5. If you would like to conceal the dressing when leaving the office, please bring a hooded jacket or sweater, or a scarf to wrap around your head. 

During the Procedure

Hairline lowering surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis. The hairline lowering procedure takes about 2 hours.  An irregular trichophytic incision is made behind the first two rows of the existing natural hairline during the operation. Hair can grow back through the scar using this opening. Then, the scalp is pushed forward and raised to create the desired forehead height.

The incision is closed in layers in order to create very fine sutures along the hairline to avoid a noticeable scar. Deep sutures anchor the new hairline in place and a hairline lowering bandage is applied. Patients can typically remove the bandage the next day after the procedure, and no further bandages are usually required.

Additional Read: Everything You Need to Know About Forehead Reduction and Hairline Lowering Surgery

After Hairline Lowering Surgery

It’s essential to take good care of yourself and follow all instructions in the weeks after your surgery. 

1. Relax and rest with your head elevated above the chest for the first 3-5 days.  2-3 pillows or a reclining chair work well. This will help with swelling. 

2. Keep well hydrated. Eat a low sodium high protein diet to help with swelling and to ensure good healing.

3. Apply frozen peas in a plastic baggy or an ice pack to the eye area(s) intermittently for the first 36-72 hours. Use a thin washcloth between the plastic and your skin. The bruising and swelling will move downward after the procedure and will be more noticeable around your upper and lower eyelids, and cheeks.

4. Take your pain medication every 4-6 hours, if needed. Always take narcotic pain medicine with food to decrease nausea.  If you do not have pain, do not take the medication. For minimal pain, take Extra-Strength Tylenol ONLY. DO NOT TAKE any aspirin or aspirin-like products.

5. Clean incisions with a q-tip(s) soaked with hydrogen peroxide. Take q-tip(s) moistened with hydrogen peroxide and roll over the incision and the sutures, this will help remove any dried blood, and keep the incision clean.  Then apply antibiotic ointment directly to the incision/sutures with a q-tip or clean finger, 3 times a day for the first 7-10 days (continue until your first post-operative appointment). The goal is to keep the incision clean, prevent any crusts or scabs to the incision, and moist. IF the incision is clean, you may stop the hydrogen peroxide cleaning, but continue the topical antibiotic ointment application. 

6. Refrain from strenuous exercise and high aerobic activities for 1 week.

It’s normal to feel some itching and numbness during recovery that may last up to a year. You may also notice the shedding of fine hairs. Don’t worry; your hair normally grows back after 3 months. 

In 12-18 months, your hairline lowering results will look and feel natural.

The Pros and Cons of Hairline Lowering Surgery

Hairline lowering surgery has proven to be a routine procedure with high rates of patient satisfaction. Complications are rare.  

Benefits of Hairline Lowering Surgery

The benefits of hairline lowering surgery are significant and noticeable immediately:

  • It’s a permanent solution
  • Can restore or alter facial proportions
  • Can make you appear younger
  • Reduces temporal hair loss
  • Alleviates forehead wrinkles
  • Increases self-confidence and self-esteem

Possible Complications

Although complications are rare, they are possible: 

  • Numbness
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Facial asymmetry
  • Bruising 
  • Hair loss around the scar
  • Loss of mobility and expression in the forehead
  • A need for revision or secondary surgery.

Are You a Good Candidate for Hairline Lowering Surgery?

You might be a good candidate for hairline lowering surgery if you have the following characteristics or circumstances: 

  • Good scalp mobility
  • Strong frontal hairline
  • No family history of hair loss
  • A high hairline or large forehead

It’s a popular choice for people who:

  • Have thick hair that may look disproportionate to their hairline
  • Have low or heavy brows and a desire to change their facial proportions
  • Want to increase their hairline after a grafting procedure

This surgery may not be right for you if you’ve had any of the following:

  • Any prior procedure or a condition that compromises blood flow to the scalp
  • A hair transplant using strip excision
  • If you have thin hair density
  • You are actively losing hair or have advanced hair loss
  • You have darker skin that may show more scarring
  • You have any health conditions that make surgery risky

Additional Read: Enhance Your Appearance With Hairline Lowering

Hairline lowering surgery may not be right for everyone, but the only way to know for sure is to have a consultation with Dr. Sidle. He will discuss your health history, examine your hairline, and evaluate your options. He’ll also answer your questions and address any concerns you might have, like forehead reduction surgery cost. If you’re not a good candidate for hairline lowering surgery, you may have other options.

Is it Time for a Consultation?

We want you to feel confident when you look in the mirror. If you’re uncomfortable with your reflection, it might be time to do something about it!

How you see yourself has a profound effect on how you feel inside. Hairline lowering surgery is a very personal and sometimes difficult decision. It’s important that you have all the information you need to make the best decision for yourself. 

Your consultation with Dr. Sidle gives you a chance to ask the questions you need to be comfortable moving forward with your procedure. Communication is key to achieving your best outcome.

Dr. Sidle is a double board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon at Northwestern with special expertise in the rejuvenation of the eyes and face. His experience, technical expertise, and compassion make him one of the leading reconstructive surgeons in the Chicago area. He has built his reputation on excellent results and impeccable care for his patients.

Contact us or call our office at (312) 695-8182 for a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Sidle. 

About Douglas M. Sidle, MD, FACS

Dr. Sidle specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, head, and neck. His services range from minimally invasive office procedures with little to no down time to major operations leading to dramatic improvements in appearance. Dr. Sidle is one of a select group of cosmetic surgeons who are “double boarded”. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
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