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Eyelash Transplants: New Beauty Option

As a hair salon owner, image is everything for Jodi Hussey, especially when it comes to her eyes.

"Our eyes are the center of our face," she says. They're the first thing people look at when they meet us."

That, says Julie Chen, is why Hussey jumped at the chance to have an eyelash transplant the minute she heard about it.

"There's no worrying they're gonna fall out in the middle of dinner," Hussey observes. "They're long, they're beautiful, and they're everything I had wanted."

Hussey, observes Chen, is among the growing number of women discarding false eyelashes and extensions, and turning to eyelash transplants instead to get permanent, fuller, longer lashes.

Hussey had always struggled with short lashes. Seven months after her transplant, she says, she has the opposite problem! "It's actually almost time to trim them … because they're starting to protrude past my other lashes."

Kim, whose last name we're not using, is getting ready for a January wedding. She says she also wanted to treat herself to a permanent solution, to end a never-ending cycle of false eyelashes that has taken a toll: "Between the makeup and the adhesive, it's very, very hard on my lashes, plus, I do it every day sometimes a couple times a day if I'm going out again. I would love to just have beautiful, long lashes that I don't have to do maintenance on every single day."

Over the past two years, says Dr. Alan Bauman (www.eyelash-transplant.com), he's witnessed an explosion in the number of patients opting for eyelash transplants for cosmetic reasons.

"When we first started offering these procedures to our patients back maybe seven or eight years ago," Bauman recalls, "it was mostly trauma patients who wanted eyelash transplantation. … But today, things have kind of switched around."

Healthy hair taken from the back of Kim's head, separated into individual follicles and threaded through a surgical needle, will become permanent, growing eyelashes when transplanted into her upper eyelid, alongside her existing lashes.

"I'm implanting the follicles one at a time into the eyelid," Bauman explained during her procedure, "and orienting the curl of the hair so that when the follicle kicks in and grows, it will grow the lash in a normal orientation, and position and direction."

The procedure takes about an hour per eye under local anesthesia, and recovery involves what Bauman says is minor bruising and swelling that heals in most patients in a matter of days.

Kim's gift to herself will cost $6,000, and get her 40 new lashes per eye.

Even though her new eyelashes have to be trimmed, Hussey says they're worth every penny.

She says, "I do curl them every once in a while, but it's so much easier; the mascara goes right on, they pop, and it's really exciting. And for a mom, that's a pretty cool thing."

Another exciting development, Chen notes, is a topical medicine used in glaucoma patients that seems to grow longer lashes, without surgery.

When it comes to enhancing their eyes, men are opting for eyebrow transplants, along with hair transplant surgery.