The experience of a burn injury is devastating. Physical and emotional recovery can be lengthy and often difficult. Many patients tire of constant surgical interventions required to achieve optimal functional and cosmetic outcomes. Identifying non-invasive interventions for patients with extensive facial burns that positively affect quality of life is appealing. Microblading, semi-permanent eyebrow tattooing, is one such option. Little research exists on the durability and longevity of microblading in burns, or its impact on body-image and self-esteem. The purpose of this case review is to identify possible benefits microblading may have physically and psychologically.
Case report looking at the impact of microblading on a young adult female over 18 years, who sustained a facial burn injury at age one year. Following consultation with her plastic surgeon, she was referred to a licensed body art facility to assess the viability of microblading over scar tissue. First treatment occurred at the facility in March of 2019 with a second session in May, as is standard practice. Patient photos obtained before and after procedures assessed longevity of microblading over scar tissue. Self-reported patient outcomes obtained following the procedure addressed the impact on perceived self-esteem and body-image.
Photos were taken pre-treatment, directly post-treatment, 2 months, and 6 months post-treatment. Comparisons of photos immediately post treatment to those 6 months out showed appearance of tattooing remains the same. Eyebrows did not fade with time and continue to hold the same color and shape. Assessment of psychological impact was conducted through patient interview and self-report. Patient reported satisfaction with the procedure and cosmetic appearance following initial treatment. Over time, patient noted feeling more positive about body image and improvement in self-esteem.
Eyebrows are a critically important part of facial expression, which can be lost following a devastating facial burn. Initial data demonstrate the effectiveness of tattooing in recreating the appearance and function of eyebrows over scar tissue. Over time, the eyebrows maintained color without fading and shape did not change, demonstrating durability and longevity in this patient population. Early reports of improved self-image also remained unchanged over time. Microblading presents a possible low risk, inexpensive, effective alternative to expensive or potentially ineffective cosmetic surgery. This case establishes a need for further research on efficacy of microblading over scar tissue, with the hope of incorporating it into burn reconstruction as an alternative therapy and advocate for insurance coverage for qualifying patients.
Source: M. Brown, L. Turgeon, Branko Bojovic, 853 Microblading in Patients with Facial Burn Injuries 2020, Journal of Burn Care & Research, Volume 41, Issue Supplement_1