Eyelash Transplant Surgery
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.
Transplantation or reconstructive surgery can often restore eyelashes.
At Crown Clinic, we have pioneered the introduction of eyelash transplants into the UK. Our surgeon Asim Shahmalak made medical history by carrying out the very first eyelash transplant in the UK - on 2009 on a young woman from Manchester. Since then, Dr Shahmalak has carried out the procedure on lots more patients - for medical and cosmetic purposes. Some women had lost their eyelashes through medical conditions, over-plucking or through damaging the eyelashes permanently through the removal of glued-on false eyelashes; others were born with thin lashes and simply craved much fuller lashes.
Why have an eyelash transplant?
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 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.
- You may have damaged your eyelashes permanently during your beauty routine, possibly by accidentally ripping them out when removing false eyelashes or by over-plucking
Fashion dictates to a large degree the way people use their eyelashes in conjunction with their fashion choices. There are a range of cosmetic aids that can help eyelashes appear longer, thicker or of a different colour.
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 but are becoming increasingly popular as women covet the fuller eyelashes popular with celebrities.
The Eyelash Transplant
An area of scalp in the back of the head is numbed with a local anesthetic. That section (scalp strip) is removed and the wind is closed with stitches. The scalp strip is given to a technician who 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 3-4 hours and costs around £4,000.
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.
Patients' eyes will be a little delicate for a few days after the procedure before quickly returning to normal. It takes around from six months for the new lashes to fully grow in and be seen at their best.
Which type of eyelash surgery is right for me?
Selection of patients for eyelash transplantation can be considered under two categories:
- Reconstructive eyelash transplantation to correct eyelash loss due to trauma or disease. Patients with total absence of eyelash hair due to congenital absence are candidates for eyelash transplantation.
- Aesthetic eyelash transplantation to achieve aesthetic enhancement of existing eyelashes.
As the availability and success of eyelash transplantation becomes better known, more people (more likely women than men) are considering the surgical approach to gain permanent enhancement of eyelash length and density.
Eyelash transplantation for aesthetic facial enhancement is a relatively recent development.
Aesthetic Eyelash Transplantation
When eyelash transplantation is performed for aesthetic enhancement, the patient's rationale is usually to gain greater eyelash density (adding eyelashes to the eyelid amongst existing eyelashes), or eyelash length (grafting hairs into the eyelid that have the capacity to grow longer than existing eyelashes).
The patient's wishes for aesthetic enhancement will be discussed in detail with the eyelash transplant specialist.
Eyelash Transplantation is the only procedure used to restore eyelash hair.
This is a very specialised procedure that is performed by just a few specialist surgeons.
As is the case for eyebrows, donor hair for transplantation must be finer rather than coarser. All grafts are single hairs meticulously placed into the lid.
As few as six hairs per lid may be adequate to create a natural effect - they can be increased to about 40-80 hairs per lid.
What happens during surgery?
- Out-patient surgery
- Performed under local anaesthetic
Eyelash transplantation is performed under local anaesthetic with the patient awake.
Hairs are removed from the donor area at the back of the head. A common technique is to use a surgical needle to puncture the eyelid at the margin; the hair graft is then placed into the eyelid at the puncture point.
The transplanted hair will continue to grow in the eyelid and as it grows, the patient may well have to follow a regime of curling the transplanted hair in order to match the natural curl of the pre-existing eyelashes. They will also need to trim the growing hair in order to maintain it at the required length.