Brows Are Back: 5 Things to Know If You Want a Fuller Arch

JenforReal on 30 Jul 2014 at 9:00am

Cara Eyebrows

When it comes to eyebrows, thick is better than thin, and the growing trend of big, bold brows has left many of us with a serious case of eyebrow envy. Whether a scar inhibits your follicle growth, you overplucked for years and your pencil thin brows won’t recover, or you’re just suffering from a common case of patchy brows, an eyebrow transplant may be your solution. The procedure, which must be done by a board certified physician, can give women (and men!) some serious eyebrow game -- we’re talking arches comparable to the likes of Cara Delevigne and Camilla Belle. But before jumping in, check out our list of the top 5 things to consider before having an eyebrow transplant.

1. How much does an eyebrow transplant cost?
Although price varies based on location, an eyebrow transplant will likely run you in the neighborhood of $4,000-8,000. A big factor is the number of skin grafts the patient will need to have transplanted, which will vary from case to case, depending on whether someone is just getting patchy brows filled in or is looking for a more complete transformation. Surgeon Francis William Rieger of Tampa says that “Often 200 to 300 grafts may be sufficient to give greater density to the eyebrows.”

2. What’s the downtime for this treatment?
Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Epstein says eyebrow transplants take two to three hours to perform, and most patients can be fully presentable in four to five days. This effective and minimally invasive procedure can come with a few minor side effects however, including potential swelling, bruising and damage to the original eyebrow hair. San Diego plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Chaffoo points out that “swelling after eyebrow transplant is common and might last several weeks.” Dr. Adam Saad of Atlantic City agrees, saying “It’s quite normal to be swollen for weeks to months after surgery.” Patients may also suffer from damage to the original eyebrow hair, as Dr. Sanusi Umar of California explains, “It is possible for the pre-existing eyebrow hairs to fall out temporarily due to lack of blood supply during the procedure. But in the off-chance that this does happen, these hairs will grow back.”

3. What are alternatives to eyebrow transplant surgery?
Have you considered every option? Some doctors suggest trying permanent makeup first, including Dr. Sheldon S. Kabaker of Oakland, who says that if the patient is female he usually suggests having permanent makeup done first. If permanent makeup isn’t for you, another option is Latisse, which has been proven to effectively grow eyelashes but more recently users have seen success using the product to fill out and thicken their less-than-perfect arches as well. The use of Latisse for eyebrow growth hasn’t been FDA approved, but your doctor may be able to prescribe it off-label if you decide you’re not a candidate for transplant surgery.

4. Is eyebrow transplant surgery painful?
We’ve accepted that “beauty is pain” but lucky for you, eyebrow transplants are an exception to the rule! According to Philadelphia surgeon Paul M. Glat, “there is minimal donor site pain or scarring.

5. How do I upkeep my new, fuller eyebrows?
Another important factor to consider is whether you’re OK with what it takes to upkeep your new brows. Dr. Epstein explains that because the hair follicles that are used for the procedure typically come from the scalp, the transplanted hairs need to be trimmed every few weeks once they begin to grow in the eyebrow area. As far as maintenance is concerned, Epstein says that because, (on average) 15% of the transplanted hairs do not grow in the ideal direction, they may need to be plucked out completely. Hopefully you’ve got a steady hand or you can end up back where you started!

Image Courtesy of Burberry