Need Eyebrows? The Neograft Eyebrow Transplantation Procedure Might Be Worth The Investment
Performing the daily chore of enhancing the color of my eyebrows and creating the illusion of thicker and fuller brows is the story of my life…literally - or as my husband would say, the bane of my existence. As a fair-skinned, blonde-from-birth woman much to my chagrin, now at age 41, my once blonde roots are currently dark, (hence the BFF relationship I share with my colorist,) and yet my sparse brows and lashes have not gotten the message and remain lily white blonde.
Of course as we all know the eyebrows are the frame for one’s face and therefore I have no frame unless I pencil one in. In fact I always look at others who have visibly full dark-colored brows and openly express my envy that they are not, as I am, a slave to the latest brow pencil that promises not to drip down one's face or smudge when one sweats even the slightest bit. Accordingly, I feel a strong kinship with anyone who has a lack of eyebrow hair for any reason whether it be inborn or due to an acquired deficiency.
So, I jumped at the opportunity to chat with board-certified plastic surgeon, Adam Hamawy, MD, FACS who answered all my pressing questions about the Neograft Eyebrow transplantation procedure and its viability for women who are ready for a permanent eyebrow solution that doesn't necessitate tattooing one's face.
Melissa Chapman: How does someone prevent the loss of hair from the eyebrows and avoid the use of this procedure?
Dr. Hamawy: There are a variety of situations that can result in permanent loss of hair from the eyebrows. Some of them can be due to hormonal changes like hypothyroidism or medications like chemotherapy. These are basically out of your control. However, there are other causes of eyebrow hair loss that you can take steps to prevent.
One of the most preventable causes of eyebrow hair loss is over-plucking the eyebrows. Constant plucking and removing the hair follicles can permanently reduce their number over time leading to permanent hair loss. If you feel the need to pluck, carefully remove hairs that are only at the borders of the eyebrows. You should also be careful not to "creep in" to the body of the brow over time. Some of the hairs that you pluck will never grow back.
Another preventable cause of eyebrow hair loss is the vigorous use of brow makeup. The repetitive trauma caused by pressure and rubbing a brow pencil can damage the hair follicles and over the years result in a gradual thinning. The pencil should be used lightly to apply color without rubbing too hard.
Nutrition is another factor. A poor diet that is significantly deficient in essential vitamins and minerals can result in a general loss of hair all over the body, including the eyebrows.
MC: How common is this procedure? What age is your typical patient who has this procedure?
Dr. Hamawy: Hair replacement to the eyebrows has become more common since Neograft came out, offering an alternative to the old hair strip method of transferring. This minimally invasive technique offers patients a permanent, natural looking solution for brow hair loss without the downtime and scars. Most patients who request this procedure are women starting in their forties or fifties. However, it is not unusual for some men to ask for this as well.
MC: Where are the hair follicles taken from in order to perform the Eyebrow Neograft?
Dr. Hamawy: Hair follicles are typically taken from the back of the hairline on the scalp. Since the eyebrows don't need relatively that much hair, the harvesting is done from an area of about 2 inches.
MC: How do you position the hair follicles in the eyebrow in order to give a natural appearance?
Dr. Hamawy: It is really important to position the hairs correctly to give a natural looking result. In the eyebrows, hairs should be placed at a sharp angle with the shafts coming out towards the temples. Failure to place them properly will result in a bushy and unusual appearance.
MC: How long will the transplanted follicles remain viable in their new eyebrow area?
Dr. Hamawy: Since the hairs on back of the scalp are genetically programmed to last the longest, these newly transplanted follicles should be permanent as long as you take care of them. That means no plucking or rubbing the follicles. One should also maintain a healthy balanced diet.
MC: What are the most common problems that could occur during the procedure and contribute to a bad outcome?
Dr. Hamawy: The most common problems with eyebrow hair restoration are poor technique in harvesting and placement. Having an experienced surgeon and team that uses Neograft technology to extract hair follicles without traumatizing them is essential. This is a distinct advantage compared to having a technician harvest and cut the grafts by hand. Then, proper placement of the hair follicles to plant and position them correctly is equally important. Again, experience and an understanding of the aesthetics of the eyebrow are key to ensuring a long lasting, beautiful and natural looking result.
After speaking with Dr. Hamawy, as an eyebrow deficient woman, this procedure might just be the permanent solution I've been longing for, so I’ll either go to him or another ABPS board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience performing Neograft hair transplantation surgery.