Here is a link to a recent article from the UK press about a woman who underwent an eyebrow and eyelash transplant. Eyebrow transplants have recently become much more common as more people have discovered this procedure exists. Eyelash transplants are much more uncommon. Because the hair is taken from the scalp it will grow longer and need to be trimmed. This poses 2 problems for eyelash transplants. Firstly the hair can grow into the eye, thus scratching the cornea. Secondly, because you will need to trim the eyelash hairs every few weeks there is a high risk of injury to the eye. In addition, because the eyelid is so thin, and has so many muscles and nerves in a small area, there is a very high incidence of complications in eyelash procedures. It is for all these reason that I do not perform eyelash transplant procedures.
On the other hand, Eyebrow transplant procedures in the hands of an experienced eyebrow transplant surgeon can be very successful and I have been performing these procedures for over 10 years. In the patient highlighted in this article, she has a tremendous amount of eyebrow pencil makeup on her eyebrows in the “after” photo, thus not really giving an accurate image of what her transplanted eyebrows really look like.
Please feel free to click through my eyebrow transplant photos or go to my eyebrow transplant website www.EyebrowTransplantMD.com for more information.
Today I would like to discuss lowering the hairline in a female patient. This is a procedure that has become more common recently with advances in Hair Restoration techniques and the ability to create density that was previously unattainable. In these cases patients report having a high hairline that has been present for their entire lives. In some cases there is thinning behind the hairline, but more often than not, the high hairline is the only issue. With the ability to transplant single hairs into recipient sites that measure .6mm-.8mm we can create cosmetic density in the hairline that rivals a completely normal hairline. Care is also taken to angle the hairs in the exact angle and orientation of the pre existing hairs so that one should not be able to identify any difference between pre existing native hair and the new transplanted hairs. In the case I am highlighting today, this patient has some thinning in her frontal scalp, which I addressed by transplanting hairs into the thinned out region. However her primary concern was her high hairline that had been present for her entire life. I lowered her hairline by just over a centimeter and kept the same design as her original hairline with the peak in the middle. Notice this patient had a very specific angle to her hair growth in the hairline which I maintained with the new transplanted hair grafts. Below you can see the pre operative photo and the immediate post operative photo that show the grafts placed in the new hairline. I hope this discussion provides some insight into this concept.
Today I will discuss the usage of Rogaine and Propecia for hair loss. Rogaine is an over the counter medication that comes in a liquid form and a foam form and comes in 2% and 5% strengths. For male patients I typically recommend Rogaine foam 5% twice a day after showering and before bed. Rogaine typically works only in the crown region and is best at slowing down the rate of hair loss and in some cases taking the miniaturized hair (hair that is on it’s way out for good) and turning it back into healthy hair. The exact mechanism of Rogaine is unknown, but it is thought to promote increased blood flow to the scalp by relaxing the small blood vessels that supply the blood flow to the scalp. Rogaine 5% is approved for men, and only the 2% formulation is approved for use in women. The 5% formulation may have better efficacy in women, but it can cause hair growth on the face that is reversible when discontinued.
Propecia is an oral medication that is taken once a day. It works by blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT which can cause hair loss. The effect of taking the medication is that it can regrow hair in some instances and can also convert miniaturized hair that is on the verge of falling out forever into healthy hair, that is cosmetically significant. Propecia is not indicated for use in women.
There have been many claims about Propecia recently, and various side effects it may cause. I typically have all my patients that are considering Propecia read a detailed explanation of all the benefits and possible side effects prior to beginning to take the propecia. I have seen excellent results with patients using propecia, and in my experience younger patients tend to respond the best to this medication.
There is also anecdotal evidence that propecia and rogaine together produce a more significant effect than either medication independent of the other. The exact cause is unknown, but there seems to be some sort of synergy between the two medications.
Today I will discuss the first few weeks following Eyebrow Transplant surgery. Eyebrow Transplantation has become a much more popular procedure as of late. More people are discovering how effective and natural the procedure can be when performed by the right surgeon. I was one of the first surgeons in the country performing the procedure and as such have had the opportunity to perform a great number of cases. In addition, I have refined the overall technique in ways that greatly improve both the immediate post operative period and the final result.
In a typical Eyebrow Transplant procedure I will place between 100-300 single hair grafts per eyebrow. The number depends on the patients facial symmetry, gender, hair color, and eyebrow hair loss, among other factors. The entire procedure is performed under local anesthetic. In the immediate post operative period I tell patients that they should expect to see some swelling around the eyes and possibly even some bruising around the eyes. This typically peaks at around day 3 and resolves by day 5. Within 24 hours of the grafts being placed they form tiny scabs around the grafts that look like little grains of sand. Immediately after the procedure the patient gets a good idea of how the eyebrows will eventually look because I place the eyebrow hairs at about the same length as typical eyebrow hairs. Within a week most of the crusts fall out and a few of the transplanted hairs may fall out, but for the most part the patient is left with most of the new transplanted eyebrow hairs. Beginning in the second week the transplanted eyebrow hair grafts begin to fall out. Usually by the end of the first month, most of the transplanted eyebrow hair grafts have fallen out and the patient is left with eyebrows similar to what they had before the procedure. During this “in between” time the patient may continue to put on eyebrow makeup just as they did before the procedure.
At around 3 months post eyebrow transplant the new eyebrow hair grafts begin to grow in. Usually the patient will notice more hair between 4-6 months post operatively and at 12 months the patient will see the full result from the eyebrow transplant procedure. Below I will show a patient of mine pre operatively and 2 weeks post operatively to give you an idea of the typical look in the immediate post operative period.
If you have additional questions about Eyebrow Transplants please feel free to contact me.
Today I will discuss the general timeline post hair transplant. Typically within 24 hours after the procedure tiny crusts that look like grains of sand form around the transplanted hairs whether they are on the scalp, eyebrow, face, or body. These tiny scabs begin to fall off around post op days 3-4 and are usually gone within 7-10 days. Keeping the grafts moist or applying an antibiotic ointment may loosen the crusts and have them fall off earlier. Most of the transplanted hairs being to fall out at around 2 weeks post operatively and usually by the end of the first month post transplant most of the transplanted hairs are all gone and the patient looks like they did prior the procedure. Typically , the hair begins to grow back at around 12 weeks. The patient usually does not notice any change until around 5-6 months, at which point approximately 50% of the new hair growth may be seen. Full growth is usually not achieved until 12 months post procedure and continued growth may be seen for up to 24 months post procedure. Patients who have undergone a second or third procedure may see a slightly delayed growth timeline.
I hope this information is helpful to all of those considering Hair Restoration.
I just completed a private teaching course with a very skilled physician from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Wissam Adada. He works in a well known medical institution in Riyadh, and came to my clinic to learn my approach and techniques in Hair and Eyebrow Restoration. I always enjoy these teaching opportunities because it allows me to work with a physician one to one and share my knowledge in the field. We had a nice combination of cases including an eyebrow transplant and a number of hair transplants both via follicular unit extraction using the new SAFE scribe and strip harvesting. I look forward to keeping in touch with Dr. Adada as his practice grows and continuing to be a resource for him in the field of Hair and Eyebrow Restoration.
Today I would like to discuss the issue of donor strip scars and how to approach them when they are too wide, or noticeable, or the patient just wishes to cut their hair very short. In the world of Hair Restoration today there are many physicians trying to push the envelope of grafts in a single session. Physicians trying to perform 4000, 5000, or even 6000 grafts in a single session. Using the strip method, the only way to achieve these numbers is by taking a donor strip that is very wide. This puts undue tension on the skin closure and can then result in very wide donor scars. Sometimes though, even under the best of circumstances and a proper closure, a wider than expected donor scar can also occur. I have been seeing more and more of these patients from other physicians recently.
After much experience I am finding that when you attempt to excise these scars, often times they will just come back again. The best approach to this situation is to harvest grafts via FUE ( Follicular Unit Extraction) and then transplant the grafts into the scarred areas that are devoid of hair or have very little hair in them. Typically the grafts grow nicely through the scar tissue and provide hair coverage of the scar which acts to conceal the scar thus making it more feasible to cut the hair short.
I have included photos below of a patient who had multiple strip scars from a procedure performed by another physician. The ‘before’ photos show the donor area shaved and the donor scars. The ‘after’ photo shows the FUE punctate sites (these heal in about a week) and the hair immediately transplanted into the donor scars. A difference in the donor scars with hair transplanted into them is immediately visible and when the hair grows in this should provide nice coverage to the donor scars and allow the patient to cut their hair much shorter than was possible before.
In years past patients who underwent hair transplant procedures experienced a significant amount of facial swelling in the forehead and around the eyes post procedure. Typically the swelling occurred at around 3 days post operatively after the hair transplant and usually resolved by around 6 days post operatively. Oral steroids have been used in the past to combat this swelling and definitely helped to reduce the swelling in many instances, but taking oral steroids, even in small doses, can subject the patient to other possible complications. This led the hair transplant community to look for other options. In the context of any hair transplant procedure I use what is called “tumescence” to allow for easier graft placement. Tumescence is where saline fluid is injected into the scalp in the regions where the new hair is to be transplanted. This accomplishes a few different things. Firstly, it compresses the vasculature down below which then allows us to cause less vascular injury when placing the grafts. Also, it stretches the scalp which also causes less bleeding, thus allowing for better visualization. Finally the stretching of the scalp also “widens the playing field” of the area to receive the hair transplants, thus allowing us to place the grafts closer together. When the scalp shrinks back to it usual size this helps to create optimal density. What I now routinely do is mix in a small amount of injectable steroid solution, diluted in the saline that is to be used for tumescence. In addition, I no longer give any oral steroids. Since there is no downside to diluting such a small amount of steroid into the tumescence fluid, this make it much safer for the patient then taking oral steroids and the results have shown that greater than 90% of my patients experience no post operative swelling after a hair transplant procedure. In the rare case that swelling does occur, it is then possible to treat with oral strides if so desired. This truly has been a major advance in the field and one that greatly benefits the patients and decreases possible complications.
For the past few months I have been using a new machine for my FUE procedures called the “New F.U.E. S.A.F.E System”. For those of you who are not familiar, FUE stands for “Follicular Unit Extraction”. It is the process where donor follicles are taken out one by one, instead of removing them via the “Strip Method”, where a strip of donor scalp is removed and dissected under the microscope into individual follicles. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to FUE vs. Strip Harvesting but I will not get into this discussion here. FUE is typically described in marketing and promotional advertisements as a “scarless” procedure. This is not actually true. What is true is that FUE causes many “micro scars” in the areas where the follicles are removed. In most cases these micro scars heal well and only leave a small dot of hypo-pigmentation in each spot where a follicle is removed. This is usually cosmetically insignificant as the area where the donor hair is removed is usually covered by the remaining hair in that region. The other issue with FUE is that in the past there has been a high rate of transection with the removal of the follicles. This means that in the process of removing the follicle, the structural integrity of the follicle is compromised, thus giving the follicle a much lower percentage chance of growth. The goal is a system where there is a low rate of transection and where the follicle is exposed to the lowest amount of trauma possible. There are many new automated and manual systems available now for FUE and I did extensive research into all of them and decided that the SAFE system was the way to go. The thing I really like about this system is that the punch that is used to extract the donor follicle has a blunt tip as opposed to a sharp tip that most of the other systems use. What this means is that since the tip is not sharp there is a much lower incidence of transection. Since donor follicles are very finite in each individual (the average person has about 8000 donor follicles), a lower transection rate of even 10-20% can result in hundreds or possibly even thousands of saved follicles. In addition, because the tip is not sharp, I believe it causes less trauma to the underlying vasculature, which can protect the scalp for future procedures. Also, because this system is motorized, like a small drill, it allows you to “score” the follicles much quicker, thus allowing more follicles to be harvested in a session. With this system, you still have to manually extract the follicles, manually trim the follicles, and manually implant the follicles, but the automation in the drill definitely speeds up the process. FUE is good for some patients and has it’s advantages and disadvantages. We are now able to transplant up to 1200 follicles in a day with the new FUE system, as opposed to significantly lower numbers before this system. In addition, FUE allows us to harvest chest hair, back hair, and beard hair for donor follicles. What is most important, is that every patient throughly understands all the advantages and disadvantages of both harvesting techniques before deciding which route to take in their own hair restoration journey.
Greetings all, a very common question I am asked is, “how painful is a hair transplant procedure?” Most people imagine it like a trip to the dentists office or some sort of extremely painful process. In reality, it is not like that at all. That is not to say there is no pain associated with the procedure. The level of pain however is very tolerable, and most would quantify it as minimal. To begin with, I use a vibrating mechanism when administering my anesthesia (all local anesthetic) which greatly reduces the discomfort associated with the injections. Because the brain perceives vibratory sensations quicker than painful sensations, by using the vibration it greatly reduces the discomfort associated with the injections. Once the numbing injections are complete, the patient should then be pain free for the duration of the procedure. After the procedure I prescribe pain pills for my patients, but most tell me they don’t even need to take them longer than a day or two. By day 3 most of the discomfort is gone. I can attest to all of this because I have had the procedure myself, so I am not only speaking from my experience as the treating physician, but also as the patient. I hope this clarifies any confusion related to this topic.