Forehead reduction, which is also known as hairline-lowering surgery, is becoming increasingly popular among female patients with foreheads that are disproportionately large. The procedure aims to make the forehead appear smaller to help the patient look more attractive and younger. It is often used as an alternative to hair transplantation.
Forehead reduction is frequently performed in females whose large foreheads do not result from progressive hair loss.
Forehead reduction is a relatively safe and effective procedure, producing immediate and long-lasting results.
For those who are interested in the benefits of forehead reduction but for whom forehead reduction is not advised, alternative interventions may be useful.
As with hair transplantation, forehead reduction is often used to achieve the appearance of more proportional hair distribution across the head. However, unlike hair transplantation, which is intended to treat hair loss, forehead reduction is more commonly used for those who have a genetic trait that leads to a high forehead. This trait is independent of a tendency toward hair loss, and so, often, occurs in people who do not experience balding.
A couple of features of forehead reduction also make it potentially more attractive than hair transplantation for those aiming to achieve the appearance of more hair on the front of their scalps. For one, forehead reduction provides immediate results. By contrast, hair transplantations can take months before the effects are recognizable. Additionally, because forehead reduction does not require hair regrowth, the density of hair at the hairline is superior following this procedure compared to what is observed with hair transplantation.
Cosmetic and functional outcomes
Forehead reduction is associated with a high level of patient satisfaction when meticulously executed. The outcomes are especially good in those who have good scalp laxity that is conducive to the type of manipulation needed for optimal forehead reduction outcomes. Advancements in forehead reduction techniques have also enabled improvements in both cosmetic and functional outcomes.
In terms of cosmetics, forehead reduction techniques are capable of significantly reducing the size and appearance of the forehead. A meta-analysis that evaluated 801 patients found that the average hairline lowering is 1.6 centimeters. Some experts have described techniques where they can lower the hairline even more, on average 2.1 centimeters. Functionally, techniques have been optimized to preserve muscle function in the forehead by maintaining the continuity of the muscle that enables synchrony of motion across the forehead and scalp.
Complications are rare
Forehead reduction is considered not only effective, but safe. Research on the safety of forehead reduction has shown that complications are rare, occurring in less than 1% of all procedures.
Complications most often include scarring, permanent hair loss, changes in sensation, and areas of clotted blood. Other complications associated with all surgeries — including side effects from general anesthesia or allergic reactions to the anesthesia — may also occur.
Not for those with progressive balding
Forehead reduction is most appropriate for people with a stable frontal hairline and mobile scalp. It is frequently performed in women who have had a high hairline their entire lives. Those who are experiencing progressive hair loss or who have a family history of pattern balding and want to make their foreheads appear smaller may benefit more from a different intervention.
For those who are not good candidates for forehead reduction, two other frequently recommended procedures are hair transplantation and brow lifts. Hair transplantation, which involves moving hair from a different part of the head to the area where one would like to see more hair growth, is most appropriate when the desire for forehead reduction stems from hair loss.
On the other hand, brow lifts can be effective at achieving desired results when brows are positioned low on the face. By adjusting the skin of the eyebrow or manipulating relevant muscles, the brows can be lifted to make the forehead look shorter.
Forehead reduction can be highly effective and produce immediate, satisfying results for those who want to reduce the appearance of the size of their foreheads. For those who want to achieve the same effect but for whom the forehead appears large due to progressive hair loss, alternative options are available.
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- Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery. Aesthetic forehead reduction in female patients: Surgical details and analysis of outcome.
- Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Medicine. Forehead Reduction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Outcomes.
- Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Forehead Reduction Surgery via an Anterior Hairline Pretrichial Incision in Asians: A Review of 641 Cases.