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Forehead Reduction Surgery: Procedure, Costs, Alternatives
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by
Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Updated on May 13, 2024

Forehead reduction surgery is a type of cosmetic procedure that involves lowering the hairline to make your forehead appear smaller. It’s also known as hairline lowering, forehead lowering, hairline advancement, or foreheadplasty.

A hairline transplant isn’t the same as a hairline lowering procedure, though it can address similar concerns.

Forehead reduction surgery is a purely aesthetic procedure. There’s no medical reason you might need to have this type of cosmetic surgery done other than for personal reasons.

If you choose to have this surgery, you may also need a brow lift procedure or brow contouring surgery to smooth out the skin of the forehead, and a hair transplant to fill in any areas with sparse hair density. This helps create a more balanced appearance.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How forehead lowering surgery works
  • How much it costs to have a foreheadplasty
  • The difference between hairline lowering and a hairline transplant.
Table of Contents

How does forehead reduction surgery work?

Forehead reduction surgery involves removing the forehead skin between your existing hairline and your desired new hairline. The scalp skin is then drawn down to create your new hairline. Your surgeon will put some stitches in to promote fast healing.

If the hairline needs to be moved by more than 5cm, the procedure is a little more complex. A tissue expander may need to be placed underneath the skin to stretch it before it can be drawn down and stitched or sutured closed. In these cases, an FUE hair transplant may be recommended to increase the density of the hair follicles across the stretched skin.

Some clinics perform this procedure under general anaesthetic, while others use local anaesthetic.

How much does forehead reduction surgery cost in the UK?

Forehead reduction surgery costs between £5,000 and £8,000. This excludes the cost of a brow lift (to life a sagging brow) and/or a hair transplant. These additional procedures can add thousands of pounds to your surgery quote, so make sure you discuss which procedures you’ll need with your chosen clinic.

Some cosmetic surgery clinics offer a set price for forehead reduction surgery, while others will give you an individual quote. 

How long does forehead reduction surgery take?

Hairline lowering surgery usually takes between 1 and 3 hours, but you’ll probably need to be at the clinic for longer than this. Preparing for surgery and administering anaesthetic can take a few hours.

Forehead reduction surgery is an outpatient surgical procedure, so you’ll almost always go home the same day.

Does forehead reduction surgery leave a scar?

Yes. Lowering your hairline will leave a scar across the forehead, as you’ll see in the photos below. Skilled surgeons can hide this under your new hairline.

You will probably also see significant bruising and swelling around the eyes and forehead in the week after surgery. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication or recommend over-the-counter pain medicine to help with the discomfort post-surgery.

What are the benefits of getting forehead reduction surgery?

Whether you were born with a naturally high hairline or have acquired an overly high forehead through aging, trauma/injury, and/or hormonal changes like menopause, you may be seeking to restore facial balance and give yourself a confidence boost by undergoing surgical treatment.

If that’s the case, you may wonder what the benefits are of undergoing this type of cosmetic surgery. Some benefits of a successful forehead reduction surgery include:

  • A lowered hairline makes the forehead look smaller in relation to the other facial features, thus creating a more aesthetically pleasing look
  • Long-lasting results that unlike Botox or facial fillers, will not require repeated treatments
  • A younger appearance (high hairlines can make you look older)
  • A new more rounded hairline with possible improved hair density at the frontal hairline
  • A boost in self-confidence as you no longer need to cover up a large forehead with hair, hats, or other cover-ups

To learn more about the benefits of forehead reduction surgery, check out Beth Halsey’s forehead reduction and how it changed her life for the better.

What are the risks of hairline lowering surgery?

Complications of hairline lowering surgery include [1-2]:

  • Temporary and permanent alopecia
  • Excessive scarring
  • Continuous prickling sensation (paresthesia)
  • Bruising
  • Scalp numbness.

Forehead reduction in female patients is both safe and effective, provided it’s carried out carefully [1]. One systematic review of 882 patients found that the complication rate was no more than 1% [2].

Another long-term follow-up study revealed that 42% of patients with a forehead reduction procedure experienced a forehead lengthening of up to 2.51mm over time [3]. So you may find that the forehead skin eventually lengthens despite the surgical treatment.

Forehead reduction surgery: before and after

These forehead reduction surgery before and after photos show that this procedure can noticeably shorten the forehead by lowering the hairline forward on the scalp [4]:

forehead reduction surgery before and after 1

Female forehead reduction surgery patient before and after 12 months

forehead reduction surgery before and after 2

Male forehead reduction surgery patient before and after 4 months

forehead reduction surgery with hair transplant before and after

Results of forehead reduction surgery with hair transplant before and after 18 months

Can you have a forehead reduction without surgery?

It’s not possible to lower the hairline without surgery. However, a hairline transplant can create similar effects, and is a much less invasive procedure.

Hair transplants are usually requested by patients with male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss, but they may also be suitable for other people who want to address an uneven or receding hairline.

Scalp micropigmentation can create the illusion of a lower hairline without surgery. However, this is only really effective if you intend to shave your head, or you also have it in conjunction with a hair transplant or forehead reduction surgery.

If you are uncomfortable with surgery, an alternative would be to make adjustments to your hair style to accommodate your receding hairline. Here are 19 of the best (and worst) male hairstyles for a receding hairline and 13 of the best (and worst) female hairstyles for a receding hairline.

Hairline lowering surgery vs hairline transplant

Discover the differences between forehead reduction surgery and hairline transplants in this comparison table:

 Forehead reduction surgeryHairline transplant
SuitabilityRecommended if you want to change your natural hairlineRecommended if you’re happy with your natural hairline, but want to address hairline recession or hair thinning
EligibilityMay not be eligible if you have male or female pattern hair loss (or a family history of this type of pattern balding)Most people with female or male pattern baldness are eligible
Hairline movementHairline moves 2.1cm on average. It can be moved up to 5.5cm, which is the equivalent of transplanting 8,000 to 10,000 grafts [4]Hairline movement is much smaller (500-2,000 grafts) as transplantation is more commonly used to straighten or fill thinning hairlines
AnaestheticGeneral or, more rarely, localLocal
Procedure time1-3 hours4-8 hours
Time to see resultsImmediate6-18 months
CostsUp to £8,000, excluding brow lift and/or hair transplant£4,820 on average
Scarring and side effectsVisible scarring is possible, but may be hidden by the hairline. May also cause decreased hair density (thinning hair), especially along the hairline.Small scar formation at the back of the head with FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation); FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) leaves no visible scars.

Forehead reduction surgery isn’t suitable for everyone. Patients looking to have their foreheads reduced by surgery should have good scalp laxity in order for the procedure to be successful.

If you have male or female pattern baldness, a hair transplant is a more suitable procedure. It’s also much less invasive, leaves less scarring, and doesn’t require additional cosmetic facial procedures to get the look you want.

Book your hair transplant consultation at the Wimpole Clinic

If you’re considering forehead reduction surgery, it’s important to check this is the right type of procedure for you. If your hair is thinning, a hair transplant is probably more suitable.

While most hair transplant patients are male, women make up the majority of forehead reduction patients. That being said, women can have hair transplants as well if they find that their hair is thinning. In fact, female hair transplants are very successful, and could be a better treatment type if:

  • You have female pattern baldness
  • You want to increase your hair density
  • Your hairline needs to be adjusted by 1cm or less.

Book a free consultation at the Wimpole Clinic to learn more about adjusting your hairline with a hair transplant.

Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)
Medically reviewed by Dr Kieran Dayah (GMC)Updated on May 13, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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