Eyelash and eyebrow transplant surgery are set to become the new must-have procedure for women — and the occasional man.
Using procedures pioneered by the hair loss industry for balding men, surgeons are using “plug and sew” techniques to give women long, sweeping lashes once achieved only by glued on extensions and thick lashings of mascara.
In the procedure for lashes, a small incision is made at the back of the scalp to remove 30 or 40 hair follicles which are carefully sewn one by one onto the patient’s eyelids. Only light sedation and local anesthetics are used and the cost is around £2,000 an eye. In the case of eyebrows the surgeon removes about 200 hairs and the cost is £2,500 for both eyebrows.
The technique was first confined to patients who had suffered burns or congenital malformations of the eye. But word spread and about 80 percent are now done for cosmetic reasons.
The most popular requests from women are for Madonnas eyebrows and for men footballerDavid Beckhams. And for eye lashes for women the most sought after are those like Penelope Cruz and Halle Berry.
Cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly popular in the UK with more than 22,000 cosmetic surgery operations carried out last year an increase of 35% on the previous year.
In the US more than 10 million cosmetic procedures — from tummy tucks to botox — were performed n 2005, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The figure represents a 38 percent increase over the year 2000.
The surgery is not for everyone. The transplanted eyelashes grow just like head hair and need to be trimmed regularly and sometimes curled. Very curly head hair makes for eyelashes with too much kink.
Dr Yannis Alexandrides, MD, a member of the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons who now practices in Londons Harley Street performs is already performing cosmetic eyebrow transplants said: It is a solution for men and women who have naturally thin eyebrows or who may have overplucked them and weakened the hair follicle root. At the moment we take the hair from the scalp which means like head hair it keeps on growing and has to be trimmed but in future we will be able to clone actual brow and eyelash hairs and this is not far away.