Many people tend to overlook the importance of the eyebrows to the aesthetics of the overall face. A simple shaping of the brows can open a person’s eyes, give them a more youthful arch, restore symmetry, and/or brighten up their face all together. While a person’s eyebrows may not be the first thing you notice about them, you would be hard pressed to ignore the area if a person’s eyebrows were no longer there.
As Dr. Edmond Griffin discusses in his previous blog post on eyebrow transplants, eyebrow loss can be caused by a variety of different factors such as burns, accident or trauma, various hair loss diseases, effects of chemotherapy, or a congenital inability to grow hair in the area. Another very common cause of eyebrow loss is one that is self-induced by excessive plucking. This can be for cosmetic reasons or the result of a person suffering from trichotillomania (obsessive plucking of hair) and can cause permanent damage to the hair follicles, preventing them from future growth.
Over the years, specialists in hair restoration, like Dr. Griffin of The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, have tweaked and refined traditional hair transplantation techniques to develop ways to successfully restore the eyebrows. Whether a person has insufficient eyebrow hair or is missing their entire eyebrow, various restoration techniques can successfully restore hair into the brows.
One such technique is transplantation using a graft. Here the surgeon removes an area of tissue and hair from the scalp, with properties similar to the eyebrows, and grafts the donor site into the eyebrow area. This is the most common type of eyebrow grafting and can result in natural looking brows with minimal scarring, if performed properly.
In very rare cases, some surgeons will employ a transplantation technique utilizing flaps from the temple area, just in front of the ear. In this method, a strip of hair-bearing skin and tissue is surgically removed from the temple area with a branch of the superficial temporal artery and vein still attached. This type of graft is called a pedicle flap because the blood supply is still intact and is able to nourish the grafted tissue until it develops its own bloody supply from its new location.
More commonly, as is the case with the Griffin center, micrografting is also used to create a natural brow contour. Here, donor hair that most closely matches the look and feel of the original eyebrow hair is taken from the scalp or other areas of the body. The micrografts (consisting of only one or two individual hairs) are then carefully transplanted by hand with an angular insertion into a prepared incision site. It is common that patients of this method require two or more procedures to achieve the best results.
Regardless of which method is used, transplanted hairs will most likely have to be regularly trimmed, gelled, waxed, or shaped in an attempt to “train” the hair to look and grow more like natural eyebrow hair.