Hair loss isn’t a problem strictly for old men. On the contrary, the American Hair Loss Association calculates that approximately 25% of men who develop the condition notice the first signs before the age of 21. Nor are women immune. By the age of 50, about half of all women will have lost at least some of their hair. The perpetrator—most of the time anyway—is genetics. In fact, scientists at GlaxoSmithKline have discovered that about 1 in 7 men are likely to suffer hair loss due to a specific gene. This is all bad news for our self-esteem. After all, a healthy, leonine head of hair indicates youth and vitality. Without it, some of us can feel stricken. Unlucky and without choices to reverse the condition.
Except that we do have choices. Since its first successful application in the 1950s, hair transplant surgery has made incredible progress. Today it can even be performed with minimum invasive tactics upon the scalp. One such tactic involves robotics—specifically, the Artas Robotic Hair Transplant procedure.
A Quick Look At Hair Transplant Surgery
Hair transplant surgery is the process of moving hair from one part of a patient’s body—a part where it’s still growing in full health—to another, balding area of the body. Typically, the balding area in question is the scalp. The two most common methods for the procedure are:
- Follicular Unit Transplantation, wherein a portion of the scalp is removed from the back of the head, cut into grafts, and attached to the affected area of the scalp, and…
- Follicular Unit Extraction, which is performed one hair follicle at a time; the follicles are removed from a healthy donor area and inserted into the patient’s balding area
Each visit for transplant surgery takes about 5 hours, with results appearing after about 3 months. After 12 to 14 months the patient should have strong, thick hair growing from the treated area.
Robotic Hair Transplant Different Compared to Traditional Transplants
The most glaring answer to this question is that about half of the patient’s transplant surgery is performed by a literal robot. The procedure goes by a couple of different names, commonly R-FUE and the title of this article, Artas. The Artas system conducts its procedure using the FUE surgical method. The benefits, however, are even more numerous. For example:
Because the transplant process is conducted through the use of a computer, the location of strong, healthy donor follicles is far more accurate, resulting in more fruitful growth for the treatment area. To accomplish this, the robotic system employs cameras to collect detailed analysis of where the donated follicles are coming from. From here, image processing software pinpoints which follicles are likely to produce the best results. This is FUE on an entirely different level of technological—and medical—achievement.
Once the software has identified the most promising follicles, a robotic arm will begin extraction of those follicles. A surgeon is always standing by to make whatever adjustments to the system may be necessary. Extraction is completed by the surgeon once the follicles are loose. At this point, the pathway of the surgery rejoins that of the standard FUE process, where the follicles are manually transplanted to the balding section of a patient’s scalp.
The Benefits Of Artas Robotic Hair Transplants
As mentioned earlier in this piece, a standard visit for an FUE transplant procedure is approximately 5 hours long. For one surgeon to extract what could be thousands of follicles during this time takes patience, skill, and tirelessly steady hands. On the other hand, with a computer and a robotic arm doing half the work, the process becomes far more accurate.
Through computer analysis, the surgeon will be able to identify only the most viable follicles for transplantation. This can lessen the number of visits a patient needs to endure while producing more satisfying results. Simply put: The Artas robot takes care of the job of harvesting good follicles, rather than letting the surgeon extract them randomly. To do this, the robot will first complete a 3-D map of the patient’s scalp and hair follicles. It will then collect data on the angle of each follicle under the scalp before measuring the distance between each to ensure certain areas of the scalp do not get over-harvested.
Artas robotic transplant surgery represents a futuristic take on an already advanced technique. By using robotics the risk of human error and fatigue is greatly reduced, while accuracy in selecting the best follicles for future growth jumps higher than ever.