Forehead reduction surgery is an operation to correct an overly high forehead. Some people feel that their forehead is out of balance with other facial features. The procedure can address concerns you may have with your forehead. 

What is Forehead Reduction Surgery?

Forehead reduction surgery is also known as hairline advancement, foreheadplasty, or forehead lowering. It can lower the forehead to create a more rounded hairline and restore facial balance. A large forehead can be from hair loss and genetics. It’s common to combine forehead reduction surgery with other procedures like a brow lift, eyelid surgery, or a facelift

Forehead Reduction Surgery: Quick Overview

What Happens During Hairline Lowering Surgery?

With hairline lowering surgery, you can usually achieve a 2cm reduction in your forehead. However, you can get a larger reduction. You will discuss this with your surgeon and agree on the desired position before the operation. 

The surgery takes between 1.5 to 2 hours. Your surgeon will mark the location of your new hairline. The skin above this line is removed and then sutured back together. This surgically lowers your new hairline into the marked position. 

The surgeon will numb the entire forehead from the hairline using a local anaesthetic before making an incision along the marked area of the hairline and forehead. This is called a pretrichial incision. The surgeon will carefully separate the skin on the forehead from the connective tissue and then cut the area they had marked for removal.  

After that, your surgeon will pull down the top incision along the hairline to join the incision at the forehead. This helps close the gap and shorten the forehead. 

The final step involves suturing everything together. The surgeon will use two or more layers of surgical clips or stitches to close the incision, after which they will cover it with a surgical dressing. Your surgeon will try as much as possible to minimise scar formation by ensuring that the incision remains hidden by the hairline as hair regrows.  

Sometimes the skin of the scalp may not be elastic enough for a successful forehead reduction surgery. If that’s the case, the surgeon may place a tissue expander under your scalp for six weeks. The expander gradually stretches the skin, and once the skin has stretched enough, it is removed, and the surgeon completes the procedure. If you don’t want to go that route, the alternative is to have a follow-up hairline lowering procedure. 

One thing worth noting is that while forehead reduction surgery may reduce the forehead’s height and change the eyebrows’ appearance, it does not in any way raise the eyebrows. You would need to have a separate brow lift procedure in that case. The procedure can be performed at the same time or at a later date. 

Forehead reduction via hairline advancement by 2cm, The Harley Clinic, London
Forehead reduction via hairline advancement by 2cm - its equivalent to 6,000 grafts of hair. It day case, local anaesthesia, 60-90 mins.

What are the Benefits of Forehead Reduction Surgery?

A forehead reduction can help to balance the proportions of your face. If you feel that you have an overly large forehead that doesn’t fit with your facial features, the reduction surgery can help address this problem. If you feel self-conscious about your forehead and hairline, the procedure can improve self-esteem and confidence. 

You may be a good candidate for a forehead reduction procedure if you have the following:

  • A large forehead and want to shorten it 
  • A high hairline that you would like to lower 
  • Thick hair that is disproportionate to your hairline height 
  • Have low or heavy eyebrows and would like to change your facial proportions 
  • Had a brow lift recently that resulted in a high hairline 
  • Had a hair grafting procedure and would like to increase your hairline 

However, even if you fall in the above category, you may still not be a suitable candidate for the procedure. For the procedure to succeed, you must have good skin laxity. Also, if you are a man with a family history of pattern balding, this may not be a suitable procedure for you. Likewise, if you have any medical conditions that would put you at risk during and after surgery, you need to discuss these with your doctor before moving forward. 

  • For most patients, a forehead reduction procedure can serve the following benefits:
  • Help reduce the forehead size by up to ¾ inches or more
  • It helps improve facial proportions
  • Result in a well-concealed incision when done right 
  • It only takes a few weeks of downtime, and the procedure has rapid results 
  • It may help improve your self-confidence and self-esteem 
forehead reduction + brow lift + alar base reduction
Forehead reduction and brow lift

Most patients take between 10 and 14 days to recover from forehead reduction surgery. After about 5 to 7 days, the bruising should subside, but the swelling tends to continue for a little longer. You may need up to 2 weeks off work to heal. In 1 to 2 weeks, you can start to resume normal activities. You should avoid exercise for 6 weeks. 

While recovery depends on the surgery and the person undergoing it, most patients take between 10 and 14 days to recover from forehead reduction surgery. 

After about 5 to 7 days, the bruising should subside, but the swelling tends to continue for a little longer. You are free to remove the surgical dressing as soon as the next day after the procedure. Most people wear a headband or hat or brush their hair forward to hide the incision once they resume normal activities like school and work.

Your doctor will recommend that you avoid strenuous activities for the first few weeks as your recover. You are free to resume exercising and other activities after 6 weeks. The scar will continue fading, but some patients still choose to camouflage the incision for up to 3 months. 

Upon leaving the hospital, your doctor will prescribe pain medication and send you home with specific post-operative instructions. These include sleeping with your head elevated to minimise swelling and bruising. It’s usually recommended that you use extra pillows to prop yourself up as you sleep. 


After a few months, hair will begin growing through the incision. You may experience temporary numbness at the incision site for up to 4 to 6 months. This numbness should dissipate once the nerves grow back after surgery. Within 6 months, the incision should have healed completely and begun to fade. 

Hairline Advancement vs Hair Transplant

When it comes to problems with the hairline, the two main procedures are hair transplant and hairline advancement. A receding hairline is a common problem for both men and women. But these treatments are different, and depending on your situation, one may be much more suitable than the other. 

A hair transplant is suitable for pattern baldness with a history of gradual hereditary hair loss and hiding scarring near the hairline. Hair advancement can achieve more dramatic results. The main difference is that this treatment is for a naturally high forehead, but otherwise, you have thick hair and no hair loss. So, although the treatments sound similar at first glance, they have clear differences and need to be suitable for the individual. 

What are the Potential Complications and Risks of Forehead Reduction Surgery?

As with all surgeries, there are potential complication and risks, such as: 

  • Hair loss
  • Infection 
  • Bleeding 
  • Hematoma
  • Anaesthesia risks 
  • Skin and or fat/necrosis 
  • Fluid accumulation 
  • Pain 
  • Swelling 
  • Poor wound healing
  • Poor scarring 
  • Nerve injury 
  • Contour irregularity
  • Seroma
  • Over/under correction
  • Asymmetry
  • Damage to other structures
  • DVT
  • PE
  • Chest infection

Are you self-conscious about your forehead and wondering if there’s something you can do about it? Forehead reduction surgery may help restore confidence. At Harley Clinic, we have a range of procedures available focusing on different areas from the face and body to non-surgical. 

To book a consultation today, please call 0203 582 4947 or email [email protected].