How far would you go for the perfect lash? Convinced that beauty lies not so much in the eye of the beholder as in front of the eye itself, eyelash transplant surgery is set to overtake most lash procedures for women — and the occasional man.
Using procedures developed by the hair loss industry for balding men, surgeons are now adopting “plug and sew” techniques to give women the long, sweeping lashes previously achieved only by glued-on extensions and thick lashings of mascara.
And just like human hair — for that is the genesis — these lashes keep growing. Great, right? Well, let’s take an in-depth look at eyelash transplant surgery to understand the procedure, the risks, and the benefits.
What is Eyelash Transplant?
Eyelash transplant is a cosmetic procedure that involves transplanting hair follicles from the scalp or other parts of the body to the eyelids, where they can grow into new lashes.
The procedure typically involves removing a small strip of skin containing hair follicles from the donor area and transplanting individual hair follicles to the eyelids using microsurgical techniques.
Eyelash transplants were initially performed as restorative procedures following injury, severe burns or skin cancer. However, in recent years, they have gained popularity as a cosmetic enhancement for those seeking fuller, longer lashes.
It can cost between $1,000 and $6,000 to have an eyelash transplant. The real cost of an eyelash transplant depends on the patient’s location, skill, and the plastic surgeon’s experience performing the treatment, as well as its length and complexity.
Eyelash Transplant Procedure
The eyelash transplant procedure begins with consulting a qualified surgeon. During the consultation, the surgeon will assess your suitability for the procedure and discuss the expected results, risks, and benefits.
On the day of the procedure, you can get local anesthesia to numb the donor and recipient areas. The surgeon then removes a small strip of skin from the donor area, typically the back of the scalp, and dissects individual hair follicles from the strip under a microscope.
Now there are different eyelash transplant methods for obtaining and transferring hair follicles:
- They could be harvested using a technique known as “strip harvesting” or “follicular unit transplanting” (FUT). A strip of hair-baring skin is removed from the posterior scalp measuring 0.4 – 0.6 inches (1-1.5 centimeters). Your surgeon will use binocular Stereo-microscopes to collect follicles and insert in microscopic punctures on your eyelids using micro blades or fine needles. The scar on your donating scalp will be concealed beneath your hair until it heals
- The eyelash implants may also be obtained using follicular unit extraction (FUE) or follicular isolation technique (FIT), which involves making inconspicuous punches of 0.6mm-1.0mm on your donating area, leaving you without a scar. Although the transplanting procedure is the same, this method takes longer.
The process usually takes 2 to 4 hours, and you can go home soon afterward.
While some discomfort following the surgery is typical, your scalp will heal more quickly. You may suffer swelling and bruising around your eyelids for several days to a week. In a few days, the crusting will also go away naturally.
Post-Operative Eyelash Transplant Recovery Instructions
Your surgeon will provide specific post-operative instructions based on your situation. These instructions are essential to the success of your procedure, the regrowth of your eyelashes, and the prevention of complications.
According to the instructions, you should keep your eyelids dry for 24 hours, after which you can gently wash them without unsettling the implants. Also, the donor area on your scalp must stay dry for 24 hours.
For the first few nights following the treatment, you should sleep with soft protective goggles covering your eyes. Due to the increased sensitivity of your skin, it’s advisable to shield your eyes from sun exposure for at least one week.
Note: the transplanted hairs will continue to grow at the same rate as the hair on your head because it was taken from the back of the head.
As a result, you will require regular trimming to maintain an optimal length. And in some situations, it may be necessary to curl the transplanted lashes to instruct them to grow upward. Your new eyelash implants, however, will shed after a week or two, and a fresh line of lashes will grow in the following four to six months.
Benefits of Eyelash Transplant
Eyelash transplant has several advantages compared to other lash-enhancing options, which make it the ideal permanent treatment for thinning eyelashes. They include:
- Unlike transient options, it delivers lasting results. After all, this is your hair growing naturally on your scalp.
- It offers a natural look and feel. Unlike glued-on extensions, which can sometimes look unnatural and feel heavy, the transplanted lashes blend seamlessly with your existing lashes, creating a natural-looking appearance.
- It eliminates the need for mascara, eyelash curlers, and other lash-enhancing products that can be time-consuming and costly in the long run.
- An eyelash transplant can be a restorative procedure for those who have lost lashes due to injury or medical conditions, giving back what was lost and restoring confidence.
- Given that just one payment is required and it doesn’t require touch-ups every 4 to 8 weeks like some alternatives, it is more affordable in the long run.
Risks of Eyelash Transplant
As with any surgical procedure, an eyelash transplant comes with some risks. While it is feasible to transplant lower lashes, there is a chance of a disorder called trichiasis, in which the eyelashes curl inward.
When this happens spontaneously, you must have surgery, or the lashes will continue to irritate the eye, causing infection and eventually blindness. Individuals who want eyelash transplants to restore their lower eyelashes are advised about the higher risk and the need for prudence.
Other risks include:
- Infection, bleeding, or scarring
- Swelling, bruising, or itching
- Uneven growth or implantation, resulting in an unnatural appearance
- Hair follicle damage, resulting in hair loss or patchy growth
- Ingrown hairs or cysts
It is important to note that the risks associated with eyelash transplant surgery are generally low when a qualified and experienced surgeon performs the procedure. However, it is essential to understand the potential risks and take steps to minimize them.
Like with any cosmetic procedure, the success of an eyelash transplant rests on the abilities of your surgeon, who must be an expert in art and science to produce the intricate details of your desired outcome.
The precise experience is crucial to success because it is a sensitive treatment done right in front of your eyes. The best candidate for this job is a board-certified ophthalmologist, dermatologist, or cosmetic surgeon with considerable knowledge of eyelash transplantation.
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