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“Beauty is pain,” as the saying goes — but modern cosmetics experts are proving that beauty can relieve pain rather than causing it. Surgeons have found that brow lifts can alleviate migraines, thanks to a few key elements of the surgery. Migraine headaches affect millions of Americans each year, according to the Migraine Research Foundation, and up to 90% of migraine sufferers experience pain severe enough to affect normal functions like driving, working or conversing. In addition, migraines are a chronic illness; that is, they don’t simply strike once fleetingly, but those who struggle with migraines experience them on a recurring basis and even for days at a time. There is also no known cure for migraine headaches. While there are some preventive measures as well as medications that can help manage the pain of a migraine flare-up, many people struggle to find a solution to keep their headaches at bay.
Brow lifts, sometimes called forehead lifts or upper facelifts, focus on diminishing the appearance of wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes. These surgeries can address horizontal forehead lines, worry lines between the brows and crow’s feet. They are also commonly combined with eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, to correct sagging or drooping eyelids. Depending on the extent of your lines and wrinkles, your surgeon can perform brow lift surgery using one of three techniques: an endoscopic brow lift, a temporal brow lift or a coronal brow lift.
Endoscopic brow lifts have become increasingly popular in recent years because they are the least invasive option. Your surgeon uses small incisions through which they insert a thin, flexible tool with a small camera attached — they can view and manipulate the tissues underlying the skin of your brow without lifting the skin completely.
Temporal brow lifts involve slightly larger incisions than endoscopic lifts, positioned at the edges of the temples. This type of lift is the current industry standard for clients who require more work than an endoscopic lift can accomplish, and is usually the type of brow lift performed when a client is interested in an eyelid surgery as well.
Coronal brow lifts are the most invasive, using an incision that spans the full length of the brow from temple to temple along the hairline. This technique is somewhat outmoded and is currently only used in special cases.
No matter which type of brow lift is right for you, there is one distinguishing factor — unlike full facelifts, which often focus on removing stretched or excess skin causing an aged appearance, brow lifts focus on facial muscles. The main cause of forehead wrinkles is overworked facial muscles; when you make a certain facial expression particularly often, your muscles will become somewhat stuck in their tensed position, leaving behind the furrows or crinkles of a worried look or squint. During a brow lift, your surgeon removes and repositions some of your brow muscles to release this tension and smooth your brow to a more youthful, relaxed position.
Migraines aren’t like the headaches you get when you’re tired or dehydrated. They are characterized by intense, throbbing pain that often results in nausea; sensitivity to sounds, smells and light; dizziness and even temporary sight impairment. While the pulsing pain initially led doctors to believe that migraines were caused by dysfunctional blood vessels, today’s understanding is that migraines are primarily neurological. The sensory effects of migraine attacks suggest that the headaches stem from the brain and nerves, and indeed, the most common and often effective medications for migraines treat the headaches using this principle.
Brain scans of patients experiencing migraines show a burst of activity in parts of the brainstem, an area known for processing mood and pain. In addition, a network of neurons responsible for transmitting pain around the eyes, teeth, forehead and sinuses are particularly active during a migraine. Scientists also believe that this particular network of nerves releases inflammatory chemicals as a response to specific stimuli, which contributes to the throbbing and puts even more sensory pressure around areas already sensitive from a migraine.
The nerves associated with migraines are located in the same areas as the muscles that cause forehead wrinkles. The added tension in the forehead not only makes migraine pressure worse but can even start to pinch some of the facial nerves and trigger migraines more frequently. When your surgeon uses a brow lift to release or remove these tensed muscles and open up more space in the tissues of the forehead, the nerves in the area are also freed from constriction and are less likely to cause shooting migraine pain.
Research also shows that minor muscle tension in the brow can cause non-migraine headaches or generalized forehead and temple pain, only serving to worsen the symptoms of migraines. Restoring relaxation to your upper face with a brow lift can go a long way toward relieving that daily dull ache as well as the debilitating discomfort of a migraine. The brow lift’s effectiveness at smoothing unwanted lines and wrinkles combined with its tension-relief benefits gives this cosmetic surgery the ability to improve your life in more ways than one — the confidence of a reflection you love and the relief of reduced head pain and tension.
Despite the apparent benefits, opinions are mixed amongst plastic surgeons, as well as The American Board of Plastic Surgery. For those reasons, we do not perform brow lifts to help treat migraines, but your primary physician can provide you with more comprehensive information about if this procedure has the potential to help you.
If you want to learn more about a brow lift in Atlanta, Georgia, and the surrounding areas, the Advanced Aesthetics Plastic Surgery team can help. Our expert plastic surgeons and staff are highly trained and experienced in providing top-quality cosmetic surgeries from tummy tucks to rhinoplasty, and our expertise in brow lifts and eyelid surgeries is no exception. If you are experiencing signs of aging on your upper face, you might be a good candidate for a brow lift with our team — we invite you to schedule your complimentary consultation to find out if this surgery will be the right fit for you. Contact us today at 770-461-4000 to begin your journey to beauty and confidence with Advanced Aesthetics.