Surgeon Dr Asim Shahmalak from Crown Clinic in Manchester is one of the few surgeons in Europe carrying out eyelash transplants.
The procedure was pioneered in America where Dr Shahmalak was taught how to perform the operation by the renowned surgeon Alan Bauman from Florida.
Mr Shahmalak brought it to the UK and since then he has been performed the procedure on many women at his world famous clinic near Manchester airport. The main reason women come to him is because they have wrecked their natural eyelashes by sticking on
false eyelashes. Many women accidentally rip out their natural eyelashes taking out false eyelashes - damaging them irreparably.
Dr Shahmalak brought the operation to the UK because he had seen there was a demand for it in the US.
Dr Shahmalak performed the UK's first eyelash transplant on a patient from Manchester in 2009.
He is also well known for his work with male celebrities and he has performed hair transplants on stars such as TV doctor Christian Jessen, model Calum Best and Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd.
Eyelash implants are a form of cosmetic surgery involving transplanting additional eyelashes around the eye. The process typically involves removing a section of hair from the patient,
typically from the back of the head, and grafting the hair to the eyelids, augmenting the existing eyelashes or replacing them completely if a patient has lost all their natural eyelashes. The procedure typically involves 60 to 70 hairs per eye, and after removal and a thorough
cleaning of the oil on the hair, they are reattached to patient by delicately threading the lashes into the eyelids. Maintenance of the eyelashes is needed thereafter, as the hair continues to grow at the
same rate as on other parts of the body.
How the operation works
The eyelash transplant procedure is done in the following manner: An area (2 inches X 3/8 inch) of scalp in the back of the head is numbed
with a local anesthetic. That section (scalp strip) is removed and the gap is sewn shut with stitches. The scalp strip is given to a technician who cuts and separates the hair tissue into single hair
follicular grafts. The grafts are then one by one implanted into the upper eyelid by the surgeon by threading with a curved needle. The procedure takes approximately 2-3 hours and costs around £4,00-£5,000.
Reasons for having an eyelash transplant
Eyelashes make an important contribution to facial symmetry and presentation of self to others. A person without eyelashes may feel very self-conscious about his/her appearance.
Like general hair transplant surgery, eyelash surgery can be required because of a number of reasons including physical trauma, medical and surgical treatments and compulsive plucking of eyebrows (Trichotillomania), absence of body hair.
The transplanted eyelashes come from head hair and therefore the new eyelashes grow just like they would on the head. That means that they need to
be trimmed regularly, just like head hair. They also need to be curled so that they blend perfectly with the existing natural eyelashes.
Trimming and curling is easily done and Crown Clinic provide patient with a beauty kit to do this. Patients find that with this simple maintenance their new lashes perfectly blend with existing lashes.
How will I feel after the operation
Patients' eyes will be a little delicate for a few days after the procedure before quickly returning to normal. It takes around six months for the new lashes to fully grow in and be seen at their best.
Successful eyelash transplant patient
A female finance director came to Crown Clinic for an eyelash transplant after complaining that she looked like a 'frog' when she wrecked her natural eyelashes after becoming addicted to wearing false lashes.
Increasing numbers of women are damaging their eyelashes permanently due the boom in synthetic lashes . Other women require eyelash transplants after suffering from the
psychological condition trichotillomania - where sufferers rip out their body hair.
This female patient was left with just 3 eyelashes on her upper right lid and 19 on her upper left lid after years of damage through gluing on false
extensions.The damage was made worse when she got an gum eye infection a year ago which caused itching and she rubbed off many of her already weakened natural lashes.
With almost completely bald upper lids, she was too embarrassed to leave her house or even let her family, boyfriend or friends see her without her false eyelashes.
She said her life has been transformed by the operation.
She said: "It feels like a miracle to have hair on my eyelids when for so long there was nothing. "I am so pleased that I have had it done. "I will now have lovely long, natural eyelashes for the rest of my
life - and need never wear false eyelashes again.
"The only new beauty routine I will have to adopt is curling and trimming my new lashes every couple of weeks. Because they are made from head hair they grow in just the same wayand need more grooming than natural eyelashes."
Dr Shahmalak said: "I am very proud to be one of only a few surgeons in the world currently carrying out this operation.
"The new lashes will last for the rest of her life, though she will need to
trim and curl them every few weeks. Dr Shahmalak said that the procedure was becoming more popular in the UK.
He said: "Lots of women permanently damage their eyelashes by overusing false ones. The glue can block the hair follicle and they can end up losing their natural lash.
"The problem has been made worse by the boom in their use in recent years, thanks to celebrities such as Cheryl Cole and the stars of Strictly Come Dancing.
"I also see women needing eyelash transplants who have suffered from trichotillomania - a psychological conditions which sees them rip out
their eyelashes, causing permanent damage which only an eyelash transplant can remedy."