Eyelash Transplant Surgery may Keep your Lashes on Growing

Eyelash Transplant Surgery may Keep your Lashes on Growing

Eyelash transplantation can be used to replace eyelashes that have been damaged by trauma, or to enhance existing eyelashes that are otherwise short and/or sparse. The use of the single-follicle hair transplantation technique enables new, living and growing eyelashes to be permanently restored to the eyelid using microsurgery.


Think you've seen it all when it comes to cosmetic surgery?

Look more closely. Eyelash transplant surgery may become the new must-have procedure for women -- and the occasional man -- convinced that beauty is not so much in the eye of the beholder as in front of the eye itself.

Using procedures pioneered by the hair loss industry for balding men, surgeons are using "plug and sew" techniques to give women long, sweeping lashes once achieved only by glued on extensions and thick lashings of mascara.Procedure:

Using comfortable, computerized local anesthesia (The Wand®), the procedure is completed in less than two hours in the office/out-patient setting. Hair follicles from the back of the scalp (‘donor area’) are harvested and then implanted into the eyelid. Absorbable stitches are used to seal the donor area, which remains undetectable both during and after the healing process. Usually 24 to 40 or more lashes can be placed per eyelid during a session. The implanted follicles (like the seeds of a plant) will grow and produce hair permanently. The newly growing lashes will possess the same characteristics as scalp hair. The lashes will need to be routinely trimmed and curled. An‘eyelash perm’ is recommended for those patients with straighter hair.

Medication for pain relief is provided as well as medication to reduce swelling. It is recommended that the patient have transportation to and from the office. Several hours after the procedure, some mild discomfort may be experienced in the donor area, as well as the eyelid. Patients are instructed in the gentle post-op care and cleansing of the eyelid and lashes. Some mild swelling and/or bruising in the eyelid area may last about 10 days. The absorbable stitches may take up to one month to dissolve completely. It is recommended that eye makeup (including mascara) be kept to an absolute minimum during the immediate post-op healing period (1 week). Some patients may require an additional session of eyelash transplantation to reach their restoration goal.

And just like human hair -- for that is the origin -- these lashes just keep on growing.

"Longer, thicker lashes are an ubiquitous sign of beauty. Eyelash transplantation does for the eyes what breast augmentation does for the figure," said Dr. Alan Bauman, a leading proponent of eyelash transplants.

"This is a brand new procedure for the general public (and) it is going to explode," Bauman told Reuters during what was billed as the world's first live eyelash surgery workshop for about 40 surgeons from around the world.

Under the procedure, a small incision is made at the back of the scalp to remove 30 or 40 hair follicles which are carefully sewn one by one onto the patient's eyelids. Only light sedation and local anesthetics are used and the cost is around $3,000 an eye.

The technique was first confined to patients who had suffered burns or congenital malformations of the eye. But word spread and about 80 percent are now done for cosmetic reasons.

For many women, eyelash surgery is simply an extra item on the vast nip tuck menu that has lost its old taboos.

More than 10 million cosmetic procedures -- from tummy tucks to botox -- were performed in the United States in 2005, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The figure represents a 38 percent increase over the year 2000.

Erica Lynn, 27, a Florida model with long auburn hair, breast implants and a nose job, had eyelash transplants three years ago because she was fed up with wearing extensions on her sandy-colored lashes.

"When I found out about it, I just had to have it done. Everyone I mention it to wants it. I think eyelashes are awesome. You can never have enough of them," Lynn said.

Bauman, who practices in Florida, does about three or four a month. Dr. Sara Wasserbauer, a Northern California hair restoration surgeon, says she has been inundated by requests.

"I have been getting a ton of eyelash inquiries ... If I had $10 dollars for every consultation, I'd be a rich woman."

The surgery is not for everyone. The transplanted eyelashes grow just like head hair and need to be trimmed regularly and sometimes curled. Very curly head hair makes for eyelashes with too much kink.

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