Many people, especially women, are prone to eyebrow and eyelash loss. This typically happens as the result of repeated attempts to style or trim the hairs via pulling, tweezing, or waxing. Other times, patients suffer loss of eyebrow and eyelash hairs as a result of other trauma or disease. Physical trauma, systemic disease, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy may each cause loss of hair on the brow or eyelash. Increasingly, people are seeking ways to restore the hairs in these locations.
Follicular unit extraction (FUE) and follicular isolation technique (FIT) are an effective solution for these individuals. FUE/FIT procedures may restore the eyebrow or eyelash areas by transplanting the patient’s own hair from a donor area to the region suffering with hair loss. Both eyebrow and eyelash transplant procedures have special considerations, however, and it is imperative that a surgeon is chosen based on their knowledge and expertise in this specialized area.
The Hair Transplant Institute has prepared this guide to help you learn more about eyebrow and eyelash transplant procedures. Below are detailed explanations of each procedure, along with a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
For the eyebrow, hairs are often harvested from the side of the scalp. The recipient area is typically anesthetized with local anesthesia such as lidocaine 1% with epinephrine. The are is then tumesced with saline or a saline with epinephrine mixture. Strip harvesting or FUE/FIT may be used. Recipient sites can be made with blades or small needles. It is imperative the surgeon recognize the natural patterns of hair growth at the eyebrows and direction of hair growth and replicate this to provide optimal results. Also critical to the procedure, the surgeon must make the incisions at very acute angles to ensure their hair grows flat to the skin rather than outward or in a direction that is difficult to style properly (i). Some physicians feel that perpendicular incisions are very helpful in the eyebrow area.
In performing eyebrow reconstruction, the patient needs to be informed that the hairs will grow faster than normal and will need to be cut more frequently. They may also require the use of a wax preparation or styling gel to allow the hair to lay flat.
Many men and women suffer with loss of eyelash hair, causing eyelash transplant procedures to become more popular in recent years. The procedure can be accomplished by using single hairs, most often harvested at the nape of the neck. At times, harvesting single eyebrow hairs may be considered. Several methods can be utilized (ii – 28-30).
Wang et al have recently described an approach to the procedure (iii). The eyelash area is anesthetized with lidocain 2% with epinephrine 1:100,000. A bent needle is employed to act as a hook to stabilize the eyelid along the ciliary margin. Using a 20-gauge needle, recipient sites are made and angled upward at 30 degrees. The surgeon must be careful to place the grafts at the proper anatomic plane above the tarsal plate. The grafts are then placed in two overlapping rows.
It is important that the grafts be placed so that the curvature of the hair is directed up and outward to avoid having the lashes grow in toward the eye. Patients can experience problems with cysts and localized infection. It is recommended that a corneal shield be used to protect the eye during the procedure.
Eyebrow / Eyelash FAQ
Below is a list of frequently asked questions about eyebrow and eyelash transplant procedures. For additional information regarding an eyebrow or eyelash transplant procedure, readers are invited to contact the Hair Transplant Institute online or call toll free 1-877-443-9070.
What causes eyebrow hairs and eyelashes to fall out?
Several things may contribute to the loss of eyebrow hair and eyelashes in both men and women. Sometimes, hair loss in these areas can be attributed to over-zealous styling (i.e. tweezing, plucking, or waxing). Other times, the hair loss is caused by physical trauma, disease, treatments like radiation therapy / chemotherapy, or alopecia areata.
This sounds scary. Are eyebrow and eyelash transplant procedures safe?
It is natural to feel apprehensive with the thought of a surgical procedure that is conducted near the eye area. Eyebrow and eyelash transplant procedures are safe, however. They are considered a micro surgery that is minimally invasive, usually completed in just a single session.
Will the end result look normal?
These procedures are conducted using the patient’s hair, and the result looks normal in that respect. As with any hair transplant procedure, the ultimate end result is a reflection of the skill and mastery of the surgeon.
How long does an eyebrow or eyelash transplant last?
Most commonly, a single eyebrow or eyelash transplant is permanent. Additional sessions might be desired to ensure a full and natural “look,” however this is rare.
How may I learn more?
To learn more about eyebrow and eyelash transplant procedures, contact the Hair Transplant Institute or call toll free 1-877-443-9070. The Hair transplant Institute is led by Dr. Bernard Nusbaum and Dr. Paul Rose, two highly specialized hair transplant surgeons with vast experience in the field of hair restoration. After scheduling an appointment, a thorough evaluation will be conducted to determine the best course of treatment capable of delivering beautiful, natural-looking results.
References for this guide include:
(i) Gendelman M, Epstein JS. Hair Transplantation to the eyebrow, eyelashes, and other parts of the body. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am 2004;12:253-261.
(ii) Breeling JL. Eyelash transplantation: who, why and how. Hair Transplant Forum Int 2007;1:17-20.
(iii) Wang J, Fan J, Chai J. Aesthetic eyelash elongation for Asians using a dense-packing single-hair grafting technique. Dermatol Surg 2010;36:1155-1160.