Guide to eyelash transplants

POSTED: 16 October 2017

Surgeon Asim Shahmalak at Crown Clinic is one of the few hair transplant surgeons in the world carrying out eyelash transplants.
The procedure was pioneered in America where Mr Shahmalak was taught
how to perform the operation at the Orlando Life Surgery Workshop.
Mr Shahmalak brought it to the UK five years ago and since then he has
been performed the procedure on many women at his world famous clinic near Manchester airport. The main reason women come to him is because they have wrecked their natural eyelashes by sticking on
false eyelashes. Many women accidentally rip out their natural eyelashes
taking out false eyelashes - damaging them irreparably.
Mr Shahmalak brought the operation to the UK because he had seen there
was a demand for it in the US.
Mr Shahmalak performed the UK's first eyelash transplant on a patient from
Manchester in 2009.
He is also well known for his work with male celebrities and he has
performed hair transplants on stars such as TV doctor Christian Jessen
and Calum Best. Christian Jessen, who had a follicular unit transplantation procedure, recommends him to his patients.

Eyelash Transplant

Eyelash implants are a form of cosmetic surgery involving
transplanting additional eyelashes around the eye. The process
typically involves removing a section of hair from the patient,
typically from the back of the head, and grafting the hair to the
eyelids, augmenting the existing eyelashes or replacing them completely if a patient has lost all their natural eyelashes. The procedure typically
involves 60 to 70 hairs per eye, and after removal and a thorough
cleaning of the oil on the hair, they are reattached to patient by
delicately threading the lashes into the eyelids. Maintenance of the
eyelashes is needed thereafter, as the hair continues to grow at the
same rate as on other parts of the body.


How the operation works

The eyelash transplant procedure is done in the following manner: An
area (2 inches X 3/8 inch) of scalp in the back of the head is numbed
with a local anesthetic. That section (scalp strip) is removed and the
gap is sewn shut with stitches. The scalp strip is given to a
technician who cuts and separates the hair tissue into single hair
follicular grafts. The grafts are then one by one implanted into the
upper eyelid by the surgeon by threading with a curved needle.  The
procedure takes approximately 2-3 hours and costs around £4,000.


Why have an eyelash transplant?

Eyelashes make an important contribution to facial symmetry and
presentation of self to others. A person without eyelashes may feel
very self-conscious about his/her appearance.
Like general hair transplant surgery, eyelash surgery can be required
because of a number of reasons:
* Physical trauma-facial injury and scarring resulting from events such
as road accidents, industrial accidents, thermal and chemical burns,
tattoos on the eyelid - together with traction alopecia associated
with common use of false eyelashes.
* Medical and surgical treatments. Surgical treatment of injury or
tumour that results in removal of eyelash follicles and tissue
scarring; radiotherapy or chemotherapy for cancer that results in loss
of hair.
* Compulsive plucking of eyebrows, eyelashes and other body hair -
termed Trichotillomania.
* Absence of hair on all parts of the body as a congenital condition can
also be a reason to consider eyelash surgery.
In recent times more and more people are looking to eyelash
transplantation in order to get the eyelashes they want. Such
transplants are relatively new developments and some believe they
should only be carried out for medically necessary eyelash
replacement. This is not the case: eyelash transplants are increasingly popular as a cosmetic procedure.

What maintenance do the new eyelashes need?

The transplanted eyelashes come from head hair and therefore the new
eyelashes grow just like they would on the head. That means that they need to
be trimmed regularly, just like head hair. They also need to be curled
so that they blend perfectly with the existing natural eyelashes.
Trimming and curling is easily done and Crown Clinic provide patient
with a beauty kit to do this. Patients find that with this simple
maintenance their new lashes perfectly blend with existing lashes.

After-care

Patients' eyes will be a little delicate for a few days after the
procedure before quickly returning to normal. It takes around six
months for the new lashes to fully grow in and be seen at their best.

Successful eyelash transplant patient

Finance director Caroline Medcalf, 42, said her life has been
transformed by the £4,000 eyelash transplant operation at the Crown
Clinic
.
Caroline said she ended up looking like a 'frog' when she wrecked her
natural eyelashes after becoming addicted to wearing false lashes.
Increasing numbers of women are damaging their eyelashes permanently
due the boom in synthetic lashes sparked by celebrities such as Cheryl
Tweedy.
Other women require eyelash transplants after suffering from the
psychological condition trichotillomania - where sufferers rip out
their body hair.
Reality TV star Sam Faiers is a sufferer and
has told how she has no hair on her eyelids after tearing it all out.
Caroline was left with just 3 eyelashes on her upper right lid and 19
on her upper left lid after years of damage through gluing on false
extensions.
The damage was made worse when she got an gum eye infection a year ago
which caused itching and she rubbed off many of her already weakened
natural lashes.
With almost completely bald upper lids, Caroline was too embarrassed
to leave her house or even let her family, boyfriend or friends see
her without her false eyelashes.
Caroline, from Worsley, Greater Manchester, said her life has been
transformed by the operation.
She said: "It feels like a miracle to have hair on my eyelids when for
so long there was nothing.
"I am so pleased that I have had it done.
"I will now have lovely long, natural eyelashes for the rest of my
life  - and need never wear false eyelashes again.
"The only new beauty routine I will have to adopt is curling and
trimming my new lashes every couple of weeks.
"Because they are made from head hair they grow in just the same way
and need more grooming than natural eyelashes."
Mr Shahmalak said: "I am very proud to be the only surgeon in the UK currently
carrying out this operation.
"Caroline's new lashes will last for the rest of her life, though she
will need to
trim and curl them every few weeks.
Mr Shahmalak said that the procedure was becoming more popular in the
UK.
He said: "Lots of women permanently damage their eyelashes by
overusing false ones. The glue can block the hair follicle and they
can end up losing their natural lash.
"The problem has been made worse by the boom in their use in recent
years, thanks to celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and the stars of
Strictly Come Dancing.
"I also see women needing eyelash transplants who have suffered from
trichotillomania - a psychological conditions which sees them rip out
their eyelashes, causing permanent damage which only an
eyelash transplant can remedy."

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