Is eyebrow hair transplant more effective than eyebrow embroidery for full and even brows?

For a few hundred dollars at the neighbourhood salon, full and even brows can be yours with eyebrow embroidery. Eyebrow embroidery involves putting ink into the skin through a process called microblading. When done well on suitable candidates, the results can be beautiful although not permanent and requiring touch-ups when the ink fades. The rate of the ink fading can be accelerated by extreme oily or dry skin.

Limitations of eyebrow embroidery

Eyebrow embroidery has other limitations according to Dr Harold Ma from Freia Medical, “Depending on the quality of the inks used for the eyebrow embroidery, the ink can “bleed out” onto the skin as grey or blue traces, sometimes leaving behind an uneven brow shape. In some cases the skin might not take on the ink, leaving uneven results, which means the patient would need to undergo several procedures to ensure the eyebrows are even.”

He adds, “Eyebrow embroidery might not look natural on customers with very sparse eyebrows with the etching pattern standing out instead of blending with their original hair.”

“In instances where the customer is dissatisfied with the colour, shape and symmetry of the treatment, sometimes the best way to correct the treatment is to undergo laser treatments to remove the ink. The laser treatments may end up costing more than the embroidery procedure itself.”

If you have encountered the above in your quest for full and even eyebrows, it is likely that eyebrow hair transplant is suitable for you.

An eyebrow hair transplant is a minimally invasive procedure that moves healthy hair follicles from the back of the head, called the donor site, to the eyebrow area, known as the recipient site. The hair cover is very dense at the back of the head so there is a good reserve of hair that can be used for transplantation. You will not be able to tell if any hair was taken from the donor site and there is minimal scarring.

Dr Harold Ma from Freia Medical

Dr Harold Ma from Freia Medical

The eyebrow transplant is also known as the Long Hair Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method, especially developed by Dr Harold Ma. It is a process where hair follicles are harvested individually from the donor site and then transplanted into the recipient site. There is no cutting or stitching involved, which means fast recovery and little to no pain.

An eyebrow transplant takes about two hours and requires painstaking attention to detail for natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing results.

What it takes

The patient first undergoes a consultation with the physician who will determine his or her suitability for the procedure. This includes evaluating the donor site hair condition, the existing eyebrows and a detailed discussion on the intended eyebrow design, density and shape.

On the day of the procedure, the donor site is trimmed short and washed as part of the preparations. Antibiotics, pain relief and anti-swelling medication are routinely prescribed to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery.

The physician will carefully harvest hair follicles from the donor site under local anaesthesia. The hair follicles are stored in a holding solution at strictly-controlled temperatures to keep them viable. Speed is of the essence; as hair follicles are cut off from oxygen and blood supply after they are harvested, they must be replanted into the eyebrows within a few hours.

As every harvested hair follicle is precious, the physician ensures that every hair follicle is viable for transplant. Under a microscope, hair technicians inspect and tally the number of hair follicles harvested as part of the stringent hair transplant quality control. The physician then marks out the eyebrow area where all of the harvested hair follicles are to be transplanted. He makes micro-incisions in the area, determining the angle, direction and density of the new eyebrow hairs. This step is vital to create a natural looking and successful result.

The physician’s assistants then plant the hair follicles in the recipient area using precision instruments, following the direction and angle predetermined by the doctor. The patient goes home at the end of the procedure to rest, and returns for a review the next day; the patient is allowed to shower and wash his or her face as per normal. Often, they can go back to work and social activities almost immediately. They are advised to avoid strenuous activities for about one week.

The eyebrow hair will start growing about four months post-procedure.

According to Dr Ma eyebrow transplant may be less painful than eyebrow embroidery, “Eyebrow transplant is done under local anaesthesia. Apart from mild discomfort in the initial few moments, the entire process is painless. In the recovery period, most patients do not need to take any painkillers. Some patients may experience a mild ache or itch for a day or two as the donor and recipient sites heal.”

An eyebrow transplant costs upwards of $4,000 at Freia Medical depending on the quality of the original hair and hair at the donor site.