After losing part of her eyelashes in an accident, Itinder Kaur was given an eyelash transplant – becoming one of just a handful of women in the UK to have the procedure
Itinder Kaur, a young woman from London has undergone an eyelash transplant after ripping open her eyelid in a fall. She is one of the first women in the UK to have the pioneering procedure.
Kaur was filmed as surgeons Asim Shahmalak and Parsa Mohebi performed the unusual procedure at Crown Clinic in Manchester. Dr Shahmalak was the first surgeon to perform an eyelash transplant in the UK – in 2009 and since then, he has performed a handful of other eyelash transplants at his clinic.
How did the accident happen?
Itinder, 30, from West London, permanently damaged the eyelashes in her right eye after a night out with friends five years ago.
She fell on some gravel and a quarter of the eyelashes right in the centre of her upper right eyelid were ripped out when a well-meaning friend tried to pick her up but accidentally dragged her face down across the stones.
Itinder, an associate director at the Tech Research Company, said she did not blame her friend for her injury.
‘It was very unfortunate accident,’ she says. ‘I ended up splitting my eyelid after a fall when I was out on a night out with friends and one of them tried to pick me up.’
Itinder had an immediate operation to repair the damage. They stitched up her eyelid, but a few days later the stitches fell out and she needed further surgery.
Obviously it was very upsetting to suddenly have this gap in my eyelash cover. Your eyes are such a crucial part of your overall beauty.
‘Because of the trauma to the eyelid, blood stopped flowing to the central area and I lost around 25% of my eyelash cover in my right eye,’ she says. ‘Before the accident, I had always had gorgeous long eyelashes and people used to say that I had beautiful eyes. I was very proud of them.’
‘Obviously it was very upsetting to suddenly have this gap in my eyelash cover. Your eyes are such a crucial part of your overall beauty.’
Itinder covered the injury by wearing eyeliner when she went on nights out, but was always aware of the problem. She chose not to wear glued on false eyelashes.
‘I am so glad that I have now found a permanent solution to the problem,’ she says.
How is an eyelash transplant performed?
Itinder had 16 new eyelashes transplanted into the gap from hair extracted from the back of her scalp. Normal eyelids have between 100 and 150 lashes per eye.
Because her head hair was transplanted, it needed to be curled and trimmed so that it blends seamlessly with her remaining natural eyelashes.
‘This donor hair is then threaded into the upper eyelid with a curved needle by the surgeon,’ Dr Shahmalak says. ‘The operation is done under local anaesthetic, so the patient is awake throughout the procedure.’
‘Many relax by watching a DVD while the operation takes place. Patients need between three and five days to recover following the operation.’
Footage of the operation was beamed to a giant screen in a conference suite where dozens of surgeons from around the world watched and were taught how to perform the intricate procedure.
Only a handful of surgeons in the world can currently perform eyelash transplants which have been used by Dr Shahmalak to help women horrifically scarred by acid attacks in Pakistan.
Only a handful of surgeons in the world can currently perform eyelash transplants.
‘I am thrilled to have my eyelashes back,’ Itinder says. ‘It will be a few months before they grow back properly but then I will have lovely lashes right across my upper eyelid again.’
Hair transplant surgeons from around the world travelled to Manchester for the three-day conference at Crown Clinic and the Radisson Blu hotel to learn new techniques in FUE (follicular unit extraction) hair transplants.
‘I cannot thank the doctors enough and I hope lots of new surgeons will start carrying out the procedure so that more people can benefit.’
Dr Shahmalak agreed to do the £4,000 operation for free at the FUE Europe conference in Manchester because he was keen for other surgeons to benefit from his knowledge – particularly in countries such as Pakistan where acid attacks are rife.
Who is Dr Shahmalak?
Dr Shahmalak was the first surgeon in the UK to carry out an eyelash transplant – on a woman from Greater Manchester in 2009.
It can benefit patients who have permanently lost their eyelashes in accidents as well as people with the psychological condition trichotillomania where sufferers rip out their body hair.
Lots of women have damaged their eyelashes through the misuse of glued-on false eyelashes and others have naturally thin eyelashes and want to mimic the look of celebrities with Megan Fox and Kim Kardashian, famous for their long, thick eyelashes.
The operation went very well and Itinder’s eyelashes should be fully restored in the next six months.
‘Along with Parsa Mohebi [the other doctor doing the procedure] I was delighted to be able to teach so many news surgeons this unusual technique so that thousands more people benefit from the procedure,’ Dr Shahmalak says. ‘I have travelled to Pakistan many times to help the victims of acid attacks and it has been some of the most rewarding work I have ever done as a surgeon.’
‘I am so thankful to Itinder for agreeing to be filmed. The operation went very well and Itinder’s eyelashes should be fully restored in the next six months.’
Dr Shahmalak’s work at Crown Clinic specialises in hair transplantation with celebrity hair transplant patients such as Jack P Shepherd, who plays David Platt in Coronation Street, former footballer Didi Hamann and Homes Under The Hammer star Martin Roberts.
He has conducted several mercy missions to his native Pakistan, providing free eyelash, eyebrow and hair transplants to women attacked with acid.
His patients included beauty parlour worker Kanwal Ashar, 24, from Karachi, who was given a free eyebrow transplant by Dr Shahmalak. She was doused with acid by a man whose marriage proposal she rejected.
‘It is nice to give something back and help these women who have been left with such horrific injuries that make you want to weep,’ Dr Shahmalak says.