For many of today’s influencers and beauty icons, it’s all about the eyebrows.
Both men and women are interested in getting that full shape that perfectly frames the face. That’s why so many folks are looking into procedures that improve the aesthetic appeal of the eyebrows, and transplant surgery is one of the most popular methods out there.
If you are considering an eyebrow transplant, there are a few key things you need to know.
Today we’re going to walk you through the process step by step, from consultation to surgery to recovery. The more you know what to expect, the more satisfied you’ll be with your results.
Let’s get into this comprehensive eyebrow transplant guide and equip you with everything you need to know!
Is an Eyebrow Transplant For You?
Our eyebrows are one of the defining features of our face. It’s one of the first things we notice when we meet someone, whether consciously or on a deeper level. Not only do brows protect our eyes from the elements and keep sweat from dripping down to the face, but they are also key tools in conveying emotions and connecting with others. Full and shapely eyebrows are also indicators of attractiveness in men and women and can accentuate facial features while providing a more youthful look.
With all that in mind, it’s clear why eyebrow treatments have become so big in recent years.
Although it may seem like no big deal, an eyebrow transplant is more of a serious procedure than a day at the spa or a threading session at your local salon. Before you even sign up for a consultation, you should get some perspective on the situation.
Firstly, assess the severity of your eyebrow hair loss. There is a chance that you can achieve your desired fullness and shape with less serious procedures or by simply applying makeup. Look into things like microblading prior to researching transplant options, because you may be able to save some time and money in your search for better brows. Many folks are getting discrete tattoos that are effective in giving a “permanent brow” look, which is an affordable and fast procedure as well.
In other words, an eyebrow transplant should not be the first thing you consider when you start your brow enhancement journey. You have more options than you may think!
But, if you have tried these preliminary measures before and still haven’t achieved the look you want, then you can begin to think about more drastic procedures.
It is also important to accurately identify the reasons behind your dilemma. There are both genetic and environmental factors that may impact the health and growth of your brow hair.
Here are just a few possible causes of hair loss in this area:
- Nutrient deficiencies from poor diet or gut health. Zinc, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin C should be supplemented if not available in food.
- Lack of collagen or biotin, which can also be taken in capsule or powder form to help boost hair and skin health throughout the body.
- Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, can interfere with eyebrow hair growth, and prescription or over-the-counter treatments have been proven effective.
- Overuse of harmful substances like drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products.
- Psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder, can impact hair growth above the eyes, but some holistic and pharmaceutical medications have been shown to help improve hair growth.
- Problems with thyroid-related hormones like testosterone and estrogen can disrupt the natural growth of eyebrow hair, but endocrinologists may have answers.
- Various types of skin diseases such as seborrheic or contact dermatitis can cause severe flakiness and inflammation that damages hair and requires medical advisory.
- Rachel Nussbaum wrote an article in Glamour about the peeling skin conditions of the brow. She opted for a transplant and overcame her struggle.
- Alopecia areata, one of the most common causes of balding, can also impact eyebrow hair but have been seen to come and go over time.
Patients who have been aggressively plucking their eyebrows and applying makeup for years may also find that growth has slowed.
Doctors say that reducing stress can also help to naturally boost eyebrow growth, and alternative medicinal practices like acupuncture and castor oil may also be able to assist.
If you think any of these may apply to you, it’s important that you address them immediately and avoid resorting to surgery right away. There’s a chance you can solve this problem on your own or with the help of a nutritionist or general practitioner. It’s always better to solve an issue at its root rather than fixing symptoms.
In many cases, patients find that their overall health improves by making some simple lifestyle changes, and they can heal themselves to a great degree. But, if you feel like you’ve tried everything under the sun and you’re ready to make a definitive change to your look, it may be time for a consultation with an eyebrow transplant doctor.
The Ideal Consultation
Whether you’ve made up your mind about getting the procedure or you’re simply looking to get a professional opinion, going in for a consultation with an expert is a necessary step forward.
Just like with any other procedure out there, picking the right clinic is crucial. Here are a few things you should pay attention to in particular when seeking a consultation:
- Reputation and track record of the clinic and the practicing surgeons.
- Testimonials from friends, family, or people online regarding their experience.
- Timely and responsive staff that treat you with respect and honesty.
- Clean and sanitary facilities that make you feel comfortable.
- Easy and quick communication via email, phone, or text message.
- Choose an M.D., not a technician or eyebrow “specialist” who is not board certified as a medical doctor.
It may be quick and easy to get an online consultation as well, but remember that you will eventually have to sit down with your doctor in-person to get the full scoop.
It is worth talking to various surgeons in your area, or even booking a phone consultation with well-known doctors in other parts of the country. People fly to New York, Los Angeles, and Miami all the time to have work done by the best hair transplant surgeons in the world, and the extra investment is often worth it for superior results. Some doctors even provide a travel discount for their patients.
Once you are face to face with your doctor, be sure to clearly articulate what you want your brows to look like, and be ready to document the full history of your brow hair loss. It is vitally important that you are fully transparent with your doctor at this time, providing as much medical information as possible and describing your own efforts to reverse hair loss. The more info you share during the consultation, the more quickly and effectively your doctor can identify the best path forward and achieve your desired outcome.
Don’t hesitate to get several consultations over a few weeks. Even the top surgeons will not all agree 100% on the optimal course of action for you. When shopping around, you get the advantage of multiple perspectives, plus you gain a deeper understanding of the procedure, which can help you to make the best choice. It may be tempting to latch onto the first surgeon you sit down with, but remember to zoom out and play the long game. You’ll be better off in the long run if you proceed with caution and care.
In the consultation process, don’t be hesitant to ask questions, even if the answer may seem obvious. Determine exactly how many follicles will be harvested from which area of the scalp, and where they will be transplanted onto the brow.
You should also figure out exactly how you plan to pay for the procedure, and contact your health insurance provider with any related payment inquiries. Keep in mind though that as this is an elective surgery, many clinics do not accept insurance or Health Savings Accounts.
You should walk out of your final consultation feeling confident in the abilities of your surgeon and assured that you are in good hands.
The best surgeons will take a collaborative approach to consultation and will not pressure you in any direction. Walk away if you have a bad feeling about the clinic or you begin to second-guess the situation.
Remember, this is a big decision, and you deserve the best treatment available!
Preparing for Surgery
If you’ve decided to move ahead with the procedure, congratulations! Granted you’ve put in the legwork, you should be very satisfied with your results when complete.
In the weeks and days leading up to the surgery, remember to stay calm and collected. You will need a positive mental attitude to deal with some of the anxiety that comes with the territory.
It is crucial to stay stress-free at this time, drink lots of water, and avoid excessive alcohol use. You want your body’s natural healing capabilities and immune system to be as strong as possible.
The Stanford Healthcare website has a complete checklist of do’s and don’ts when preparing for any surgery, so make sure you check all the boxes and stay on top of things mentally.
If your doctor has any additional instructions, be sure to write them down and take them seriously. It is not worth cutting corners.
Have everything in place for your recovery process as well, whether it’s stocking up on food and drinks, any necessary medication, or support from family and friends.
It is better to be a little over-prepared instead of scrambling last-minute.
We will get into aftercare protocol a little later on–hang tight!
Details of the Procedure
Once you step foot in the clinic on the day of your surgery, you should feel calm and confident about your environment, and the staff should make you feel welcome.
The surgery itself should not take more than a couple of hours, and the surgeon will administer a local anesthetic to ensure you don’t feel excessive discomfort. You may experience a sensation of pressure or pins and needles, but there should be no sharp pain in the donor or recipient area during the actual surgery process.
Here is a brief rundown of what will happen during the procedure, from beginning to end:
- You will check into the clinic and wait in a sitting area. Try to relax!
- You may be asked to change into different clothes or robes for surgery.
- The doctor will give you an anesthetic on the donor and recipient areas.
- The donor area is often located right above or behind the ear or on the back of the scalp..
- Other donor locations can include the back of the neck and the arms.
- Follicles will be harvested from the donor area with microscopic incisions, and grafted to the recipient area on the brow one at a time. This process is known as Follicular Unit Excision, or FUE. The FUT or STRIP method can also be used.
- The number of total transplants can range anywhere from 100 to 500 hairs.
- The doctor will aim to replicate the unique natural angle of your eyebrow hairs, which generally point up and away from the eye at an angle close to the skin.
- It may take longer for the doctor to craft the perfect brow depending if you are going for a contoured appearance or a more natural “bushy” look.
- The procedure will generally last between two to three hours total.
Patients are typically surprised by how quick and easy the procedure is, and have no problem driving themselves home that day, but we encourage you to have someone drive you just in case. There will be some irritation at first, and redness can last for a few hours if you have especially fair or sensitive skin.
Recovery and Aftercare
Nicely done! Your surgery is complete. Not so bad, right?
We recommend debriefing with your doctor immediately following the procedure, asking for any insight that can help you feel reassured and guidance to help you properly heal.
The hard part is over, and now you have to uphold your end of the bargain by following the aftercare instructions laid out by the doctor.
Every clinic will have a slightly different protocol for recovery, and things will vary slightly based on the scope of your procedure, but here is a basic aftercare outline you should know:
- You’ll feel the need to scratch at some itches in the recipient area. Avoid scratching at all costs!
- Also avoid strenuous exercise for at least 2 weeks. You do not want to risk dislodging the grafts during physical activity.
- Be sure to eat healthy, drink lots of water, and avoid alcohol and tobacco use.
- When washing the area, use caution and scrub very gently with soap and water.
- Stay out of the sun for at least a week at the very minimum!
- Be careful moving hats, sunglasses, or other coverings around the surgery area.
Remember that the transplanted hairs may fall out in the weeks following the procedure. This is normal, and the follicular units beneath should spur natural growth soon after. Some folks panic during this stage, but it’s nothing to fear!
Other than that, try to use common sense and allow the area to heal naturally. Fight the urge to fiddle with the area or add makeup. Recovery should be your priority over aesthetics for now.
Staying on Top of It
Since the newly transplanted eyebrow hairs are from a different area of the body, they will behave accordingly and often grow at a faster rate than you’re used to. This means you will likely have to trim your brows every few days, instead of the customary once-a-month routine.
You may find that your brows require less maintenance overall, however, since you have restored the natural follicles that grow on their own.
It is suggested that you try to dial back the use of makeup or other topical treatments, and allow the hair to thrive without extra products.
If you detect any unusual activity on the brow or you think your body is responding poorly to the procedure, don’t delay contacting your clinic and set up an emergency appointment if necessary.
It’s important to closely monitor the progress of your brows and ensure that the healing process is taking place slowly but steadily. The brow may not look perfect for a month or two, but once the healing is complete and new follicles are growing, you should be very satisfied with the results!
Now that we’ve covered all bases on eyebrow transplants, you have the insight you need to make the best choice possible!
When deciding, remember that you may have underlying disorders that are limiting eyebrow growth or causing thinning. Don’t discount the effectiveness of smaller procedures that may be more suitable.
If you do decide to move forward with the process, take the time to do comprehensive research on the best doctors in your area. Read up on testimonials, surgeon reviews, and ask around in friend and family circles to get the inside scoop about personal experiences with the surgery.
This is not a taboo procedure any longer, and both men and women are taking it to the mainstream, so don’t hesitate to bring it up in conversation.
For more updates and insights on all hair and brow restoration topics, be sure to bookmark our blog, the Daily Journal of Hair Loss Information, and don’t forget to sign up for our email newsletter so you never miss important information again!