eyebrow transplantation
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Eyebrow transplantation

Eyebrows are situated just above the eyes on the ridge and give the face a certain definition. Apart from defining the beauty of a face, it also acts as a protective barrier against dandruff, water or any other material from entering into the eye. Its presence also keeps the eye alert to insects and other materials hovering close to the eye. Just like the scalp, hairs in the eyebrows can also be lost. Hence hair transplantation has been extended to restoring lost eyebrows.

Some of the causes of hair loss in the eyebrows are:-
1. burn injuries due to fire or chemical accidents
2. infection of the brows and subsequent hair loss
3. stab wounds or other mechanical injury that can damage the brows
4. surgical procedures such a tumor removal
5. excessive plucking of brows as cosmetic enhancer
6. local alopecia due to hereditary conditions
7. leprosy
8. after effects of tattooing.

Cosmetics can be used to fill up and enhance the beauty of eyebrows to a certain extent, but the effects are only temporary. For obtaining permanent results, surgical procedures such as free composite strip grafts, hand bearing pedicled flaps and follicular unit transplantation are being used of which the follicular unit transplantation has been the most competitive and superior in achieving final results.

Follicular unit transplant is carried out very similar to the scalp transplants with a few modifications according to its anatomical position. For the reconstruction of eyebrows, the region for transplant is marked. Donor hair is harvested from the nape of the neck. The hair follicles are teased out to get fine single hair grafts. The follicles are then transplanted in the brow area according to requirement.

This procedure was tried on two female patients one of whom had a stab wound and the other had a tumor removed surgically in the brow area. According to Dr. Ergun and colleagues, both the patients had no transplant related complications before or after the procedure. They could trim their brow hair and keep it in proper shape after about a year of transplantation.

Earlier procedures such as the pedicled flap were used on men since they have bushy and thicker brows. But follicular unit transplant has been very effective in both sexes since the hair density in the eyebrow differs within the area. The density is greater in the center of the brow with very fine hair in the periphery. Because of this difference in thickness and density, donor hair from the nape of the neck is preferred.

Another major factor is with reference to the angle in which the hair grows in the brow. The hairs are always in a very acute angle of growth and hence the transplant must also be in the natural angle of orientation. This makes the procedure require experts for reconstruction. A single sitting of this procedure is enough to achieve the desired results and the degree of infection is also minimal. Within a year of transplant, the brows are back to normal in both growth and looks.

Eyebrow transplantation references

  • Ergun SS, Sahinoglu K. Eyebrow transplantation. Ann Plast Surg. 2003 Dec;51(6):584-6. PMID: 14646654

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