Forehead reduction surgery is a cosmetic procedure that can help to reduce the height of your forehead.

Larger foreheads may be due to genetics, hair loss, or other cosmetic procedures. This surgical option — also known as hairline lowering surgery — can help balance the proportions of your face. It’s different from a brow lift procedure.

Keep reading to learn more about forehead reduction surgery, including surgery risks, recovery time, and how to find a cosmetic surgeon near you.

Forehead reduction surgery is a surgical procedure that is typically done under general anesthesia. Local anesthetic is also used in the forehead area to help reduce pain and bleeding.


Your plastic surgeon will take the following steps during the procedure:

  1. The hairline and area of forehead to be removed will be marked with a surgical skin marker. Great care is taken to ensure that the cut along the hairline preserves the hair follicles and nerves.
  2. The entire forehead, from the hairline to just above the brows, is numbed using a local anesthetic.
  3. An incision is made along the marked area of the forehead and hairline (also called the pretrichial incision). The surgeon will carefully separate the skin from the connective tissue underneath and cut out the area that has been marked for removal.
  4. The top incision along the hairline is then pulled down to join the forehead incision. This closes the gap and shortens the forehead.
  5. The skin is sutured together in a way that minimizes scar formation and is hidden almost completely by the hairline upon hair regrowth.

It should be noted that although forehead reduction surgery reduces the height of the forehead and may change the appearance of the eyebrows, it does not necessarily raise the eyebrows.

If necessary, a separate surgery called a brow lift can be performed at the same time as the hairline lowering surgery.


Most people can return home within a few hours after the surgery. You’ll need to return to the office for suture removal over the following week and a half. You’ll also be asked to return for observation and post-operative checkups roughly 2 to 4 weeks after surgery.

As with any surgery that involves an incision, great care should be taken to keep the wound clean and allow it to heal properly.

You’ll want to check often for any signs of infection at the site of the incision. Your doctor will also provide you with post-operative instructions for how to properly care for your surgery incision, including how to reduce pain, swelling, and risk of infection.

Forehead reduction surgery can be used to balance the proportions of one’s overall face structure. You may benefit from forehead reduction surgery if you have:

  • a high hairline and want to lower your hairline
  • a large forehead and want to shorten your forehead
  • thick hair that’s disproportionate to the height of your hairline
  • low or heavy eyebrows and want to change the proportions of your face
  • recently had a hair grafting procedure and wish to increase your hairline
  • recently had a brow lift procedure and wish to bring your hairline forward

However, even with these criteria, not everyone is a suitable candidate for forehead reduction surgery.

In order to have a successful forehead reduction surgery, you must first have good scalp laxity (the ability of the scalp tissues to stretch). If you have a family history of pattern balding, forehead reduction surgery may not be right for you.

If you have any other medical conditions that would place you at risk for surgery complications, you should discuss these with your doctor before moving forward.

All surgical procedures come with risks. The risks of forehead reduction surgery include:

  • bleeding during and after surgery
  • side effects of general anesthesia
  • allergy to general or local anesthesia
  • infection of the incision area
  • nerve damage where the incision was made
  • paresthesia at the surgical site
  • hair loss where the hairline was cut
  • scarring after the incision heals

For most people, the benefits of forehead reduction surgery outweigh the risks. If the surgery is performed by an experienced, skilled professional, the risk of a visible scar and long-term effects is minimum.

One small 2012 study found that even in patients who experienced surgical side effects with forehead reduction surgery, very few experienced these side effects for longer than a year.

Forehead reduction surgery is a cosmetic procedure, so it won’t be covered by medical insurance.

Most plastic surgeons will require that you book a consultation first before they give you an estimate of the fees involved. Cost may vary depending on a variety of factors, including the skill of the surgeon, extent of the surgery, and more.

When looking for a cosmetic surgeon, you should always make sure they are board certified. Consider using the search tools from The American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery to find a board-certified surgeon near you.

During your consultation, you may also want to consider the following from your cosmetic surgery team:

  • years of experience with cosmetic surgery and forehead reduction surgeries
  • before-and-after photos of surgery clients
  • customer service and if possible, positive reviews on social media sites

If you’re not a good candidate for forehead reduction surgery, there may be other options.

Brow lift

If your forehead appears longer because of low brows, an alternative to forehead reduction surgery might be a brow lift.

This procedure involves manipulating the muscles or shifting the skin of the eyebrow area to lift the brows higher on the face. In some cases, lifting the brows can make the forehead appear shorter.

Hair grafting

If your forehead appears longer because of a high hairline, another alternative might be hair grafting, or hair transplantation.

This procedure involves taking hair from the back of the scalp and transplanting the follicles along the front of the hairline. This procedure can also help to shorten the forehead.

Forehead reduction surgery, also known as hairline lowering surgery, is a cosmetic procedure used to shorten the length of the forehead.

You may be a good candidate for this surgery if you feel that your forehead is disproportionately large for your face due to your hairline, eyebrows, or other features.

There are risks associated with forehead reduction surgery, including surgical complications, damaged nerves, scarring, and more.

If you’re looking for alternatives to forehead reduction surgery, speak with your doctor about a brow lift or hair transplant instead.