Long, full lashes are becoming more and more sought after these days, and techniques such as eyelash extensions are growing in popularity. A prescription medication, Latisse, is even available for those desiring eyelash augmentation. But what if you could make those lengthy lashes permanent without the use of medication or cosmetics?

Eyelashes serve both anatomical and aesthetic functions. On a functional level, they shield and protect the eye, preventing debris from entering and causing infection; however, they also help frame the face, along with the eyebrows, adding visual appeal. Women are forever trying to make their eyelashes appear longer and thicker with the application of cosmetics. New and improved mascaras are consistently marketed, targeting women’s desires to be more beautiful. With an eyelash transplant, this desire can become reality, but before undergoing surgery, even a minor one, you may first want to become informed on such a procedure.

Eyelash transplants originally arose due to patient need as a result of trauma, congenital atrichia (absence of hair in all areas), and trichotillomania (a compulsive hair plucking disorder). However, in a society that is increasingly concerned with physical appearances, eyelash transplants for mere aesthetic purposes could become more popular, at least for those who can afford them. A single procedure could cost you anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. A typical procedure lasts from 1 to 3 hours, and depending upon desired results, most patients require 1 to 3 sessions.

Donor hair for an eyelash transplant should be taken from an area where the hair most closely matches that naturally found on the eyelid. It is commonly taken from the nape of the neck or the area above or behind the ears. However, eyebrow and leg hair have also been used. The recovery period lasts 1 to 2 weeks. Patients may experience some itching in the transplanted area for 1 to 2 days following surgery. If itching persists, it could be indicative of a more serious problem. Patients must wear goggles while sleeping to avoid rubbing or scratching the eyes, which could lead to complications. Eyelashes must be coated with eyelash oil, and curled and trimmed regularly. As with any hair transplant, side effects are possible. Graft displacement, ingrown hairs, and changes in the eyelid itself could occur.

Patients should consider all aspects of eyelash transplants before committing to the procedure. Some may jump at the opportunity to enjoy the lasting benefits of a transplant, while others are content with the non-surgical approaches to lengthier lashes.