Restored by doctor's scalpel

23 May 2016 - 09:37 By POPPY LOUW

Before November 25, Julia Murray* disliked what she saw in the mirror - a higher and wider forehead than she wanted.Two hours after surgery, her life had changed forever.The 33-year-old Cape Town designer became the first South African to undergo a new surgical procedure that reduces the size of a forehead by as much as 3cm.Murray said her large forehead made her feel masculine, insecure and self-conscious and limited her choice of hairstyles. She is now able to wear her hair in any style."I tried fringes and headbands, but they never worked for me and I got annoyed," she said."I fancied wearing my hair in different styles but I could never do it because I felt I would look silly."Also known as scalp advancement, forehead reduction surgery lowers the hairline by lifting the top hair-bearing scalp and moving it forward. Cape Town hair-loss specialists doctors Larry Gershowitz and Ryan Jankelowitz, who pioneered the procedure in South Africa, will perform four forehead reduction procedures next month.Gershowitz, head of the Medical Hair Restoration Centre, said the procedure helped to restore balance in the facial harmony of women, bringing the hairline to a more "aesthetically pleasing" position."Typically, the hairline should start at around the transition point between the vertical forehead and the point where the forehead starts to slope backwards towards the scalp," said Gershowitz."An irregular incision is made between the existing frontal hairline and the forehead."The hair-bearing scalp on the top of the head is then lifted and moved forwards."Gershowitz, who has more than 20 years' experience in hair-loss treatment, said it was important for surgeons performing the procedure to have experience with the trichophytic incision. "This technique means hair can grow through the incision during the recovery phase to help camouflage the incision. It is important for the surgeon to understand the direction of hair growth and preservation of scalp-blood supply."These are all technical details which help ensure optimal results."Prospective patients can expect to pay about R22,500 at the centre - a fraction of the R125,000 the procedure would cost in the UK, or R250,000 in Beverly Hills, US.• The procedure takes between 90 minutes and two hours.• It is done under conscious sedation, so the patient can go home immediately afterwards. It is said to be like "just another day at the dentist".• The patient can return to work within seven to 10 days of the procedure.• The incision line disappears within weeks of the surgery.* Not her real name.

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