Most people believe that the eyebrows thin as a result of over-plucking, but that is only one of the potential causes of eyebrow hair loss. Genes, hormones, medications, injuries, and stress can all be factors – just as in scalp hair loss. Read more about hair loss in men and hair loss in women.
Many people are also unaware that the eyebrows provide more than just a cosmetic frame for the eyes. They also give the eyes subtle shade from sunlight and protect the eyes from particles in the air and from perspiration.
Today, we can restore the eyebrows to a normal appearance using the same advanced Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) technique that we use on the scalp. The donor hair is usually taken from the back of the scalp, and the hair follicles are transplanted onto the eyebrows one by one.
The hair continues to grow as though it was on the scalp, however. For this reason, it must be trimmed to eyebrow length about twice per week. This phenomenon is called “donor dominance,” which means that the transplanted hair maintains the characteristics of its donor location regardless of the recipient site. Over time, however, the hair may begin to take on more of the characteristics of the recipient site.
If your eyebrows have completely disappeared, a total of 400 hairs may be required to restore each one to a natural appearance. For those with only some hair loss in the eyebrows, 150-250 hairs may be sufficient. In most cases, only one session is required to completely fill or recreate the eyebrows.
We use the NeoGraft® system, which allows us to restore the eyebrows faster and in a minimally invasive procedure with no scalpel, sutures, or staples. There is also no linear scar at the donor site at the back of the head as in the past, and healing is quick.
Eyebrow Design Requires Skill
We have been trained in eyebrow restoration, which requires very specific skills. The process is not the same as FUE on the scalp. It is an art, as well as a science, that requires the hairs be placed in the proper direction so that the hair growth will look natural.
We are also acutely aware of the differences between male and female eyebrows. The female eyebrow has more of an arch, while male eyebrows tend to be straighter across and thicker, although the male eyebrow also has an arch. The hairs toward the center of the face grow straight upward, while hairs toward the outer portion of the brows grow more horizontally. All of these factors must be taken into account when designing the ideal eyebrow for each individual patient.
The Eyebrow Restoration Process
The procedure usually takes 3-4 hours and is performed using a local anesthetic and mild sedation. Markings are made on the eyebrows to assist the surgeon in placing the hairs after they have been extracted from the donor sites at the back of the head.
The NeoGraft® system precisely and accurately removes each hair from the donor area using tiny circular incisions that heal on their own. Each hair is then transplanted on the eyebrow with meticulous attention to proper direction, angle, and arch.
Recovery from Eyebrow Restoration
Not surprisingly, you will likely have some swelling of your eyebrow and eyelids after surgery. Even so, many patients are able to return to work the next day after eyebrow restoration. We will ask you to elevate your head on pillows for the first few nights to reduce swelling. If this makes it difficult for you to sleep, we can provide sleep medication, as well as pain medication for any post-operative soreness. You may also feel a bit numb at the donor site and in the eyebrow area, and you may experience some slight bruising in the eyebrow area. Some crusting is normal, and these scabs usually fall off on their own within 7-10 days.
We will provide you with specific instructions for washing so that you do not disturb the grafts. Washing is required three times a day for the first day and twice a day thereafter for about a week. You will also be given an antibiotic ointment to apply to the eyebrows.
A great deal of healing takes place within a week. After about two weeks and for a couple of months, the transplanted hair will be shed because the hair follicles will have entered a dormant phase. The absorbable sutures will begin resorption at about two weeks as well. This means that the eyebrows will look as they did prior to surgery for a short period of time. Patience is required with this procedure, as the final results take some time to appear. But the final reward will be well worth the wait.
In the third month through the sixth month, the transplanted hair will begin to grow again. It takes a year or more for the final appearance from the procedure to show.
Transplanted hair is permanent, and most people do not require further eyebrow restoration procedures.