Forehead Reduction Surgery for Hairline Lowering: Everything You Need to Know
Whether you have a naturally high forehead or have experienced a receding hairline in recent years, hairline lowering may be the right procedure for you.
Depending on the shape of your head, even a few centimeters of extra space between your brow and hairline can create a disproportionate look and have an impact on your self-confidence in social situations.
While hairline lowering, also known as forehead reduction, has been the subject of more discussion in the industry of late, there are still many questions surrounding the process.
Perhaps you are already mentally committed to hairline lowering and just want to know the details, or this is your first time hearing about it.
We’re here to walk you through every step of the process to help you determine if this popular method is the best way to remedy your situation.
Without further delay, let’s get into everything you need to know about hairline lowering!
Is hairline lowering for me?
There are a few factors that play into your eligibility for hairline lowering.
First of all, you need to honestly assess the state of your current hairline. Ask these questions:
- Is your hairline even across the entire length of the scalp?
- Are you seeing M-shaped balding on either side of the head?
- Is hair thinning on the top or back of the head?
- Do you have conditions that cause random patches of hair loss?
- Have you already undergone a hair transplant or other procedures?
Simply put, some people are just not satisfied with their current hairlines, as it limits the number of hairstyles they can wear and does not meet their own aesthetic standards.
These insights are important because of the methods used in the hairline lowering process.
In Forehead Reduction surgery, the doctor makes a horizontal incision across the front of the hairline and “pulls” the skin of the frontal scalp forward, anywhere between ¾ of an inch to an inch and a half.
From here, there are several ways to stitch and heal the area with minimal scarring, which we will address later on.
The best candidates for the surgery should have an even, symmetrical hairline with no extra thinning on either side of the head. Since the majority of male pattern baldness cases are characterized by this M-shaped pattern seen on the Norwood scale, forehead reduction surgery is often not the best option for men.
While there are no medical limitations preventing men from undergoing this surgery, men with typical balding patterns will only see their hairline moved forward, not changed in shape. That’s why most men opt for procedures such as Follicular Unit Excision to restore hair to the most common loss areas on the head, such as the sides and behind the crown.
Only men with a thick, sturdy hairline and no history of previous hair loss should think about a forehead reduction procedure, and this is simply not a common scenario.
Instead, forehead reduction surgery is a very popular surgery for women, who tend to not need hair transplants. Because women are not as susceptible to the M-shaped balding patterns of men, and more likely to experience even thinning across the hairline, they often opt for lowering.
Still, forehead reduction is considered a slightly more invasive procedure than hair transplant surgery, so it should be approached with care.
If you believe you are someone who can benefit from a forehead reduction procedure and fit these suggested requirements, it is time to take the next step and seek consultation with a specialist!
Consultation and Preparation
Rather than walking into the closest hair clinic you can find in your city, it’s your responsibility to do exhaustive research to find the most highly qualified, trusted surgeon possible. Even if it means driving across state lines or flying to the other side of the country, this is a procedure in which you do not want to cut corners.
It’s not uncommon for folks to fly internationally to get work done by the best in the world, and it’s worth putting in the extra time and money for top-notch results.
Before you even get in the car or jump on a plane, there are some steps you can take to ensure you meet with the right clinic the first time:
- Ask acquaintances about their experience with the procedure.
- Read reviews on clinics’ own websites as well as online review aggregators.
- Research to see if there are surgeons who specialize in forehead reduction and hairline lowering.
- Be cautious of clinics that make grandiose claims about results and low prices.
- Read the CV of a doctor before making the call to specify the area of expertise.
- Preferably seek doctors who are members of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) and on the American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery (ABHRS).
- Find out if the surgeon has any published research or contributes to publications that advance the science of hair restoration.
- Make sure the doctor is a board certified M.D.
This may seem like a lot to consider, but you should be able to tell fairly quickly whether you’re dealing with a seasoned professional or someone inexperienced.
No matter what hair restoration procedure you’re seeking, the clinic must be very accommodating and not attempt to sell you on anything you don’t need. Clients should also ask about other potential medications and treatments to help their situation before jumping right into the surgery discussion.
It should be a simple process to schedule a consultation online or over the phone, and speedy, clear communication should be an indicator of the clinic’s quality.
Once you do set foot in the clinic, be aware of your surroundings. The facilities should be modern, clean, and welcoming. You should not have to wait for more than a few minutes after your appointment is scheduled to meet with your physician. These appear to be minor details but they speak volumes to the quality of service you’ll experience throughout the entire process, surgery, and beyond.
Meeting the staff and surgeon are important steps because you’ll be in close communication for the weeks ahead and follow up months down the line.
For the consultation itself, you want to ensure you meet face to face with the actual physician who will be doing the procedure, instead of a consultant, assistant, or salesperson.
There’s nothing wrong with asking general questions to staff and other medical personnel in the facility, but when it comes to any treatment recommendations, it should be physicians only.
When you first sit down and shake hands with the doctor, don’t hold back when voicing all your questions and concerns.
Watch out for a few red flags during the consultation process:
- If the doctor immediately says you’re the perfect candidate for hairline lowering or forehead reduction doing a thorough examination.
- If the surgeon claims that he or she is still new to the forehead reduction or hairline lowering procedures.
- If you feel rushed or pressured into surgery, or feel like you’re not having your questions answered.
Some of these are intuitive caution signals, but we understand that being in this kind of environment can be somewhat overwhelming.
Use your best judgment and determine if the clinic is a good choice using some of the criteria we provided above.
When you walk out of the meeting you should have a clear understanding of the hairline lowering process, the time it will require, the full extent of the cost, and a general idea of what your results will be like over the long term.
The world’s best surgeons think ahead and give you a good picture of what your hair will look like 5, 10, and 15 years down the line.
You should also walk away from the consultation knowing what to expect from the recovery process, which for some people requires taking time off work or changing plans.
If you check all these boxes and do your homework, you should have no problem finding a qualified clinic that makes you feel comfortable about moving forward,
The Day of the Procedure
In the days leading up to the surgery, there are a few simple rules to follow.
You will want to tighten up your diet, lower your stress levels, and try to live a healthy lifestyle as you prepare physically and mentally.
While forehead reduction surgery is not a super intense or lengthy procedure, it’s always best to be in a good state of mind and body when going into any surgery scenario.
It’s smart to avoid taking any medication that interferes with the natural healing process you will need to recover from the procedure. Blood thinners, anti-inflammatories, or other over-the-counter products can limit how fast the affected area recovers post-op.
Salty foods can cause excessive fluid retention, so avoid these as well. Alcohol and smoking should be kept to a bare minimum before surgery as these can cause severe swelling.
What matters most in this stage is priming yourself for a quick and complete recovery, so any immunity boosters and healthy foods will be of assistance.
Once the day of the surgery finally arrives, you’ll want to arrange a ride to and from the clinic, whether it’s with the help of a loved one or a car service. This is because forehead reduction surgery is typically done under general anesthesia, with a local anesthetic used in addition to reduce pain and bleeding. Clients should not operate a vehicle after waking up from this type of sedative, so it’s often required that they have transportation arranged beforehand.
The procedure itself only takes about 2 or 3 hours, once the anesthetics have been administered and the surgical team is fully prepared.
After marking the target area, the surgeon makes the initial incisions across the forehead and the hairline then separates the skin from the connective tissue and carefully removes it.
The hairline incision is then gently pulled on to meet the forehead incision, thereby lowering the forehead and tightening the skin of the scalp.
To close this gap with minimal scarring, the surgeon will use sutures and ensure that any scar tissue is covered by the natural growth of the patient’s hair over time. Many clinics will also use biodegradable scalp material to accelerate the healing process, although different surgeons have unique methods that they prefer.
While the total movement of the hairline is often no more than a few centimeters, it will make an immediate, visible difference for facial aesthetics, and clients are able to have a clear vision of their results as soon as the surgery is complete.
Post-Operative Care and Recovery
Upon arriving back home, you will probably still be feeling some of the aftereffects of the anesthetics, and likely experience some discomfort as those medications wear off.
At this time, it is vitally important for you to closely follow the instructions laid out for you by the clinic, particularly in the first 48 hours.
The majority of the healing will occur in this timeframe, and it’s suggested that you do not return to work for at least a few days post-op.
In this first recovery phase, patients should avoid strenuous activity, try to keep their heads in an elevated position and be okay with not washing their hair. Excessive sweating and irritation to the area needs to be avoided since the goal is to prevent bacterial infection and allow the scalp to go through the natural healing process.
The best thing to do in this stage is to keep the head elevated, apply ice when necessary, and stick to the regimen of medication and care provided by the clinic.
As far as diet and supplementation go, it’s important to keep a steady intake of nutrient-rich foods that include the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Healthy fats, clean carbs, and proteins will be key here, and doctors also often recommend adding Vitamin C to the regimen to promote healthy immunity.
Some swelling, bleeding, and scabbing are expected in this phase, and patients should not be concerned if their hairlines look worse before they get better.
If patients notice anything unusual about the affected area, like excessive bruising or ongoing pain, they should contact the clinic immediately and visit with the surgeon ASAP.
While there are chances of complications in the recovery stage, the risks are relatively low compared to other surgeries, and there should be no major problems.
Typically, patients will feel totally normal in less than a week, and they can return to exercising, working, and going about their daily lives with no risks.
Follow-Ups and Next Steps
After the majority of healing is complete in the home, clients are asked to come back to the clinic for a followup meeting, typically after two weeks.
The main purpose of this short session is to gauge the overall success of the surgery and make sure everything has healed to the fullest extent. Patients are often given a new set of guidelines to follow, which will allow them to return to all their daily activities and care for their hairline in the weeks and months to come.
It is important to maintain those healthy lifestyle changes after the surgery and take extra care of the scar area by avoiding excessive pulling or irritation. Patients will also want to be aware of any lingering numbness in the area, as this can mean that some nerve damage has occurred. While this is not necessarily a devastating condition, it is definitely something that should be shared with the surgeon during meetings to make them aware of the situation.
Some clinics will schedule another followup meeting a few months after the first, just to conclude the entire process and provide closure for the patient and the surgeon.
Forehead reduction surgery as a means of hairline lowering is becoming a more proven and popular procedure for folks who want to reduce the length of their forehead by a few valuable centimeters.
Women especially find that their before and after pictures show a huge improvement in their facial characteristics, and it can be a very worthwhile surgery for the cost.
Our clinic is proud to be at the front of the pack in terms of technology, efficiency, and precision in the area of hairline lowering. We are skilled in the art and science of forehead reduction incision, as well as grafting in the traditional methodology of hair transplants like FUE and FUT.
Remember to spend a good amount of time researching the best clinics and take the necessary steps to determine if this is the right procedure for your needs.
Take into account all the variables we discussed in this article, and don’t be hesitant to shop around for second and third opinions if you want the best possible outcome.
If you are interested in learning more about hairline lowering and other topics in the field of hair restoration, be sure to browse our famous Balding Blog and receive regular updates from our team via the email newsletter!