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Forehead Reduction Surgery: Procedure, Costs, Alternatives

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, or foreheadplasty.

A hairline transplant isn’t the same as forehead reduction surgery, though it can address similar concerns.

Forehead reduction surgery is a purely aesthetic procedure; there’s no medical reason you might need to have it done. If you do choose to have this surgery, you may also need a brow lift 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 reduction surgery works
  • How much it costs to have 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 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 hair density 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 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 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 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.

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 who had a forehead reduction procedure experienced forehead lengthening of up to 2.51mm over time [3]. So you may find that the skin eventually begins to lengthen despite the surgery.

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 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. But 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.

Hairline lowering surgery vs hairline transplant

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

  Forehead reduction surgery Hairline transplant
Suitability Recommended if you want to change your natural hairline Recommended if you’re happy with your natural hairline, but want to address hairline recession or hair thinning
Eligibility May not be eligible if you have pattern baldness (or a family history of it) Most people with pattern baldness are eligible
Hairline movement Hairline 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
Anaesthetic General or, more rarely, local Local
Procedure time 1-3 hours 4-8 hours
Time to see results Immediate 6-18 months
Costs Up to £8,000, excluding brow lift and/or hair transplant £4,820 on average
Scarring and side effects Visible scarring is possible, but may be hidden by the hairline. May also cause decreased hair density, especially along the hairline. Small scar at the back of the head with FUT; FUE leaves no visible scars.

Forehead reduction surgery isn’t suitable for everyone. If you have 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. But women can have hair transplants too. In fact, female hair transplants are very successful, and may be a better treatment type if:

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

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

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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