Study Analyzes if Adding a Brow Lift to Eyelid Lift Increases Complications

Study Analyzes if Adding a Brow Lift to Eyelid Lift Increases Complications

It’s generally considered a good idea to combine surgeries when possible so that you can compound anesthesia and downtime (and OR costs!). A brow lift and eyelid lift (also known as blepharoplasty) are two procedures that complement each other very well—and, relatively speaking, both are quick procedures. They are two of the most-requested plastic surgeries at RefinedMD, but recently there have been some murmurings that combining these surgeries might increase risks of complications. Is that true? It’s critical to rely on studies—published in peer-reviewed journals—when considering such rumors. At RefinedMD, we stay on top of the latest data and analyses and wanted to straighten out this rumor.

A recent study (April 2023) in the Annals of Plastic Surgery tackled this question. The researchers, led by Blair Wormer MD, looked at 6,126 different cases of patients undergoing at least one of these surgeries. The multicenter analysis is the largest to date. The researchers say that although getting a brow lift and blepharoplasty at the same time occurs frequently, “the literature is lacking on their combined effect on complication rates.” The goal of the study was to see if there were more complication rates when combining these surgeries compared to when they were performed individually.

A Method to the (Not So Much) Madness

The team looked at surgeries between 2008 – 2013, using the CosmetAssure Insurance database as their primary data source. They defined major complications as patients needing to go to the ER, requiring reoperation within one month, or otherwise being admitted to a hospital because of complications.

Of the 6,126 patients who underwent at least one of the surgeries, 4,879 (79.6 percent) had just blepharoplasty, 441 (7.2 percent) had only a brow lift, and 806 (13.2 percent) got both. Typically, those who got both were older than those who only opted for isolated surgeries. All three groups had similar numbers of smokers. And when it came to who had the most complications? All three had similar figures: combined procedures had 0.4 percent major complications, blepharoplasty also had 0.4 percent, and strictly brow lifts had just slightly more at 0.7 percent. The most common non-major complication was hematoma, or severe bruising.

Should You Combine Surgeries?

According to the researchers, “aesthetic eye surgery has a very low overall major complication rate … when brow lift is combined with blepharoplasty, it poses no additional risk of major complications compared with either procedure alone.” It is always important to consult with your surgeon when considering any surgery, but judging by the analysis of thousands of patients, if you are thinking about getting a brow lift and an eyelid lift, the odds are in your favor to do it at the same time.

It’s also common to combine an upper and lower blepharoplasty. Upper eyelids and lower eyelids are very different and have different common complaints. Upper eyelids typically sag, and a lift can trim away excess skin to open, brighten, and youth-ify the eyes. The lower eyelids are prone to having bags and sometimes uneven pockets of fat. Trimming excess skin here might also be called for, as well as liposuction of fat pockets and/or the addition of fillers post-surgery to even out the volume. It is not unusual to get all three surgeries: an upper eyelid lift, lower eyelid lift, and brow lift.

More Common “Complications”

Though not a complication per se, having swelling, bruising, and redness post-surgery is going to be common no matter what. Surgery is an invasive procedure. However, the face—particularly around the eyes—is very vascular which means healing is quick. Many people feel confident going about in public just two weeks after an eyelid lift (though some bruising and swelling may linger at this time). Winter is an ideal time for surgeries because there are usually few trips planned and you can recover in relative discretion.

If you’ve been thinking about facial plastic surgery, working with a specialist who is board-certified is the bare minimum. Look at their before and after galleries. Check out testimonials. Work with someone who focuses on just a few parts of the face/body rather than a jack of all trades. If you want to get started with the best facial plastic surgeon in the region, schedule a consultation today. Contact RefinedMD by giving us a call during business hours or filling out the online form right now.