Eliminating frown lines with an endoscopic forehead lift procedure (corrugator muscle disinsertion)

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2011 Aug;35(4):516-21. doi: 10.1007/s00266-010-9649-9. Epub 2011 Feb 7.


Background: In certain cases of endoscopic forehead lift without muscle resection, patients were incidentally noted to develop weakness or loss of their ability to frown during the postoperative period despite intact musculature. This finding suggested the possibility of decreasing frown strength using the disinsertion of the relevant muscles. This finding persuaded the authors to try to eliminate or decrease the sensory problems resulting from open or endoscopic frowning muscle resection by disinserting these muscles. We therefore sought to determine the efficacy of a brow/forehead lift that involved disinsertion rather than muscle resection.

Methods: From September 2004 through December 2006, 22 endoscopic forehead lifts (20 females and 2 males) were performed using the conventional corrugator muscle resection technique (group 1). From January 2007 through October 2009, 43 patients (38 females and 5 males) underwent endoscopic forehead lift with a muscle-preserving technique (group 2). In both groups, small scalp incisions were made, and an endoscope was used to elevate the brows and forehead to perform glabellar and forehead muscle resection in group 1 and disinsertion of the frowning muscles in group 2. The skin of the forehead was then reanchored to a more superior location using sutures attached to deep temporal fascia as well as outer table screws and skin staples.

Results: Aesthetically pleasing eyebrow and forehead with reduced power in the frowning muscles were achieved in the majority of patients in both groups. A significant decrease in the depth of vertical and horizontal glabellar creases was obtained in these patients. In group 1, 19 of 22 patients completely lost the ability to frown and 3 patients (13.6%) suffered permanent sensory loss. In group 2, 33 of 43 patients lost their ability to frown but only 2 cases (4.5%) developed minimal unilateral forehead partial sensory deficit after a 12-month follow-up period.

Conclusion: Disinsertion of the corrugator supercilli, procerus, or orbicularis oculi muscles can decrease contractility with less chance of damaging nearby or intermingled sensory nerves than offered by resection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Forehead / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / surgery
  • Rhytidoplasty / methods*
  • Skin Aging*