An eyebrow transplant is a good option for people who want thicker or fuller eyebrows. Thin brows used to be the popular style, but many people over-plucked theirs and now are stuck with sparse, thin, or nonexistent brows that won’t grow back properly. An eyebrow transplant can restore your natural eyebrows or add volume to eyebrows that are naturally thin.
Like a hair transplant, an eyebrow transplant uses donor hairs from your scalp. Your surgeon will remove healthy follicles and place them in your eyebrows, and new hair will eventually start to grow. Depending on your goals or hopes for the procedure, your surgeon may place anywhere from 50 to 400 grafts in each eyebrow.
If you’re planning to get an eyebrow transplant, you should know what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. Here are the five main steps of an eyebrow transplant:
Step 1: Designing Your Eyebrows
Before you commit to having the procedure, you will have a consultation with your doctor to discuss your goals, hopes, and expectations. With this information, you and your doctor will decide whether an eyebrow transplant is the right procedure for you.
Then, you and your doctor will design your ideal eyebrows. Your doctor will make recommendations for what will look best, but they’ll also listen to your feedback. By designing your eyebrows before the surgery, you can be sure that the results will look natural and aesthetically pleasing.
You and your doctor will also decide where and how your donor hairs will be removed. Most people have the hair removed from the back of the head, but the best option for you depends on how long your hair is and how you usually wear it. The donor hair should come from a full and healthy section of hair, so the missing follicles won’t be noticeable.
Step 2: Anesthesia and Sedation
Most people take an oral sedation drug before the eyebrow transplant, which makes them calm and relaxed during the procedure. Your doctor will also administer local anesthesia to your eyebrow area and to the area where they’ll remove the donor hair. You will be awake during the surgery, but you won’t feel any pain.
Step 3: Removing and Preparing the Grafts
With the help of a surgical team, your surgeon will remove the donor hairs. These hairs usually come from the back or side of your head. There are two main methods of donor hair removal: FUE and strip harvesting. With FUE, or follicular unit extraction, your doctor will use a small circular instrument to remove hairs individually until they’ve collected enough.
With strip harvesting, your doctor will remove a whole strip of skin from a non-balding area on your head. Then, the surgical team will use microscopes to remove the grafts from the strip and prepare them to be placed in your eyebrows.
Step 4: Implanting the Donor Hair
Your surgeon will place the hair grafts into your eyebrows one by one. They’ll have to carefully insert each hair at the correct angle to follow the natural growth of your eyebrow, so this can be a lengthy process. It typically takes about four hours, but your procedure may be longer or shorter depending on how many grafts are transplanted.
Your doctor will probably have you wait for a couple hours after they finish the procedure to make sure you’re happy with the results. They can make changes or add more hair until they’ve achieved the right shape and volume.
Step 5: Recovery and Final Results
You’ll leave the office on the day of the procedure. Most people feel very little pain or discomfort after the surgery. You may see some tiny crusts forming around the donor hairs, and the area may be red or pink for a few days. You can conceal the redness with makeup until it clears up. Some people have some bruising or swelling around their eyes, but most people don’t have this problem. Even if you do have some bruising or swelling, it probably will not be noticeable.
Your doctor may have placed sutures around the donor area on your head. These sutures will dissolve after a few weeks. If your doctor used the strip harvesting method of donor hair removal, you’ll have a small scar on your scalp. If your doctor used follicular unit extraction, there will be no scar.
The transplanted eyebrow hair will fall out after two or three weeks. After about four months, new hair will start to grow in the transplanted follicles. Because the new hair follicles are from your scalp, where hair grows faster and thicker, your eyebrows may require more grooming than they did before. Expect to trim and groom them every 10 to 14 days.
Dr. Anurag Agarwal, Dr. Kiranjeet Gill, and Dr. Richard Maloney of the Aesthetic Surgery Center in Naples, Florida are all board certified plastic surgeons with years of experience. They offer a wide variety of surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic treatments, including hair transplants and eyebrow transplants.