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Hair to stay

Dhanusha Gokulan / 22 April 2012

Hair transplant is becoming popular with people going under the surgeon’s scalpel to fix eyebrows, eye lashes and facial hair

New trends in transplants are what you could call ‘hair-raising’. Long thick tresses can give you a complete look, but what if you don’t have much of it, or are losing most of it? Many are going under the surgeon’s scalpel to fix the problem. Not just the hair on the head, but eyebrows, eye lashes and facial hair as well.

“I used to have very thin eye lashes and a lopsided eye-brow. I got it surgically fixed. I mean, let’s face it, not all of us are genetically born beautiful and the industry I work for requires me to look conventionally perfect,” said Natalia (name changed at request). Cosmetic surgeons and clinics here have noted a drastic increase in people coming in for treatments.

Dubai Cosmetic Surgery has noticed a rise in demand for hair transplant in its clinic. Between 2009 and 2011 there has been an increase of 78 per cent in hair transplant surgeries.

Additionally, since 2009, the clinic has witnessed a 40 per cent rise in people flying in from various parts of the world.

the clinic has noted a 90 per cent increase in people belonging to the age group between 20 and 30 coming into the clinic for treatment. Ideally, the age for going in for treatment is after 34 years, but now since the younger generation is more proactive with their looks, they start early.

It is the introduction of minimal invasive procedures like the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method, which requires no tissue removal from the scalp that has probably made hair transplant treatments increasingly popular, informed Anisa Vrabac, Operations Manager of the Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.

Dr Riad Roomi, MD Specialist in Plastic Surgery and Hair Restoration Surgery at the You New Plastic Surgery Clinic Dubai stated that since 2009, there has been a 20 per cent increase in patients in the age group of 20 to 30 coming into the clinic. With over 18 years of experience in hair restoration, Dr Roomi said there is increased awareness about hair treatments.

“People are more educated and the expectations from hair restoration and plastic surgery is a lot more realistic. everyone wants to look natural and a lot depends on the surgeon the patient goes to. Patients have come to me with disastrous results that I have had to correct because they have gone to inexperienced surgeons,” said Dr Roomi.

“One particular case changed my philosophy on hair transplants because I used to think that people went in for treatments only for themselves. A few months ago, a blind gentleman came to me. He said, ‘I wanted to feel the hair on my head.’ After the treatment, he called me to tell that his family thinks that he looks 20 years younger,” said Dr Roomi.

Meanwhile, Dr Melike Kulahci, MD, Founder and Medical Director of Transmed Hair and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, Istanbul, Turkey said: “In terms of figures, the increase in the number of our patients is approximately 15 per cent per year.”

In demand

The trend in treatments are not just in hair transplants, but also in eyebrow, eyelashes and a fuller beard. Correction of tattooed eyebrows is also hugely popular. Leslie (name changed at request), a

37-year-old who had tattooed eyebrows said, “I wanted to have arched fuller eyebrows. I got it tattooed four years back. But now, my face is changing shape. I would have to surgically correct my eyebrows because I am going to be looking funny as I grow older.”

Dr Roomi said with regard to eyebrow transplant it can only look close to natural and it takes about six to nine months for the eyebrow to grow back after the transplant.  “I personally weigh several pros and cons before I decide to begin the treatment for an eyebrow transplant because hairs taken from donor areas are not fine enough for eyebrow hair.”

“Demand for eyebrow transplant is particularly huge in the region because the Middle East culture defines eyes as a symbol of beauty. A lot of women tattoo on arched eyebrows. Though it might look good when they are younger, as they grow older the shape of the face begins to change and the colour pigment changes as well and it ends up in the women looking strange. FUE can correct the tattooed look, as well,” said Vrabac. Women with short, thin, sporadic eyelashes also go in for treatments.

She explained that the old method removed strips of skin and hair from the donor leaving behind a scar on the donor area — the lower area of the head.

“In rare cases for men, when there is not enough hair on the donor area we have to use hair on the patient’s chest and use it on his head,” said Vrabac.  More recently, men with patchy beards have been undergoing the FUE for a fuller thicker, even looking beard as well. 

Other hair loss treatments include spray-on hair cans, which can cover up bald spots and make the hair appear thicker. Twenty-four-year old Pakistani national Ibrahim Hussain said: “I am already starting to develop a bald patch and if it gets worse in the next couple of year, I will consider going in for a transplant.” - dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

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