Forehead Reduction (Hairline lowering) Surgery

For the times when bigger isn’t better.

Many men and women face common difficulties with prominent foreheads or receded hairlines. This can be due to many reasons, including genetics, previous surgeries, or hair loss. Hairlines that start higher can present foreheads that appear disproportionate to the rest of the face. It can also make the person appear less attractive or older.

The typical hairline rests between 5 and 6.5 cm above the eyebrows. A person with a larger forehead may struggle to style their hair and feel confident about their appearance. Fortunately for those affected, there’s a procedure for this.

What is Forehead Reduction Surgery?

Forehead reduction surgery is an effective way to treat issues with a bigger forehead. It is a common surgical technique used to reposition the hairline. Also known as scalp advancement or hairline lowering, this procedure can be used to naturalize a hairline position by up to 2 inches.

Dr. Usha’s uses the latest techniques in her forehead reductions, with as minimally invasive surgery as possible. There are several factors which can affect the amount of adjustment. This includes hairline height, scalp laxity, and patient preference.

Am I a Candidate for Forehead Reduction Surgery?

Both men and women with a high hairline and a sufficient amount of hair may be good candidates for forehead reduction. This procedure is ideal for those who do not have a family or personal history of hair loss. Women are generally better candidates than men for this procedure.

You may be a candidate if you:

Have a larger or longer forehead than desired
Have a receded hairline not tied to hair loss
Have acceptable scalp laxity

Scalp laxity will be evaluated by your certified plastic surgeon. Candidates should be in good physical and mental health to consider surgery. To determine if your candidacy for this procedure, schedule your consultation with Dr. Usha at our San Francisco office today.

The Procedures

Surgical Hairline Advancement - A hairline advancement is performed on an outpatient basis. Your doctor will mark the new hairline position before surgery. The new hairline shape is drawn to patient preferences. During surgery, a portion of skin generally 2-3 cm around the hairline is excised. The remaining portions are sutured or clipped together, resulting in a lowered hairline. The surgery results in a minimal scar that will be covered by growing hair or can be addressed by hair grafting.

Hair Graft - A hair graft is a non-surgical alternative or supplementary procedure to forehead reduction surgery. This technique involves the transplant of hair follicles to the front of the hairline. A graft can form a new hairline shape and add volume to hair in a new location. Due to the nature of hair grafts, there is no hairline scar for this procedure. Please note: We currently do no offer this procedure at our office, but Dr. Rajagopal can provide you with a referral to another doctor.

Basic Recovery

Patients can expect an initial recovery time of 7-10 days. Total recovery time is health and body dependent. Patients can have their sutures removed and return to work after a week. Patients should refrain from air travel and rigorous exercise for 2 weeks following surgery. Hair should regrow over the incision site, disguising the scar between 3-6 months after your procedure.

Following surgery, patients should expect some discomfort, bruising, and swelling. Pain can be managed with prescribed medication. Swelling along the scalp, eye, cheek and forehead area is common for the first few days and subsides completely within a few weeks. Bruising will subside after about 10 days. Dr. Usha provides post-operative care instructions which will aid in proper healing and recovery.

Procedure Costs

View San Francisco Plastic Surgery and Laser Center’s pricing chart for the cost of forehead reduction and other affordable procedures.


Is there permanent scarring?

There is a risk of scarring with any type of surgery. Hairline lowering surgery can leave a thin scar which is typically covered by the hair behind a new hairline. How prominent scar tissue appears depends on factors such as the color of skin, the skill of your surgeon, and care taken after the procedure. Over the course of 6-12 months the scar will become less visible.

What are some risks or side effects of this procedure?

Hematoma (blood under the scalp)
Forehead numbness
Visible scarring
Shock alopecia (temporary thinning of hair)

There may be temporary thinning of hair across the scalp that lasts up to 3 months post-operation. Patients may experience temporary numbness of the scalp which can last for several months. Many side effects are manageable by antibiotics and prescribed medication.

As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection. Your plastic surgeon will provide detailed care instructions to reduce the impact and risk of side effects. The skill and technique of your surgeon is a significant factor in minimizing the chance of infection or a visible scar.

How soon will the results appear?

With Dr. Usha’s techniques, there is a fast recovery time and results will appear briefly after surgery. Bruising and swelling will begin to resolve a few days following the procedure. Most patients can disguise the recovering hairline incision with hairstyles and other accessories. As your hair begins to regrow over the hairline, the hairline will blend and become more natural in appearance.

It’s important to note that while results may be significant, patients should keep realistic expectations for any kind of cosmetic procedure. Dr. Usha ensures each patient is given the information needed to make an informed decision before committing to their hairline advancement.