Health Alert: Eyebrow transplants

NATIONAL - You might furrow them, or raise them in surprise, but what if your eyebrows disappeared? This is the story of an eyebrow-restoring procedure.

Debra Prince can show off her eyebrows now, but not long ago it was a different story.

"My eyebrows had just progressively gotten thinner and thinner. So I went to the doctor, he ran some tests, and it was my thyroid."

Though thyroid medication helped reverse hair loss on her head, Debra's eyebrows never grew back.

"I would use eyebrow pencil, eyebrow powder, you know, everything I could get my hands on to make it look better."

Debra searched for a more natural-looking solution, and found an eyebrow-raising one - hair follicle transplantation.

Dr. Ken Washenik explains "using this technique called follicular unit transplantation where you take the individual follicles, the way they're arranged in the scalp, and transplant them, they want to grow."

A patch of hair and underlying follicles are removed from the back of the scalp, then follicles are teased out of the tissue.

Dr. Washenik says "our assistants just very, very painstakingly dissect out each individual hair follicle."

Openings are made in the brow at angles matching the direction the transplanted grafts should grow. Then the prepped follicles are slipped into place.

"And then comes the hard part," says Dr. Washenik. "You have to wait for the hair to grow!"

Dr. Washenik says it takes about three to four months for the brows to start growing, time Debra says is worth the wait.

"And believe me, when they started to come in, I felt like throwing a party!" she exclaimed.

Grooming the transplanted brows is a bit eye-opening. Since the transplanted follicles come from the scalp, the brows will grow more quickly than typical brow hair, and will need to be trimmed more frequently.

Posted by Bryce Mursch