A 2014 study in the journal Dermatologic Surgery measured follicular unit transection (follicle damage) during the extraction step of a robotic follicular unit extraction (R-FUE) procedure. The study found that robotic transection rates, using the ARTAS Robotic System, compared favorably with non-robotic (manual) FUE transection rates. ((Avram MR, Watkins SA. “Robotic follicular unit extraction in hair transplantation.” Dermatol Surg. 2014 Dec;40(12):1319-27))
The researchers found the average rate of transection over many robotic procedures to be 6.6%. This rate compared favorably to an average manual transection rate of 6.14% reported in a 2006 study ((Harris JA. “New methodology and instrumentation for follicular unit extraction: lower follicle transection rates and expanded patient candidacy.” Dermatol Surg. 2006;32:56–612.)) and was significantly lower than an average transection rate of 17.3% reported in 2008 study using manual techniques. ((Onda M, Igawa HH, Inoue K, Tanino R. “Novel technique of follicular unit extraction hair transplantation with a powered punching device.” Dermatol Surg. 2008;34:1683–8.))
While the study’s robotic FUE transection rates compared favorably to two reported manual transection rates, the authors stressed that more well-designed studies comparing robotic to manual FUE are needed.
The authors noted that “The main advantages of robotic FUE compared with the standard ellipse are its minimally invasive nature and the lack of a linear scar.”
This paper was reviewed by Dr. Bernstein. ((Bernstein RM. “Commentary on Robotic Follicular Unit Extraction in Hair Transplantation.” Dermatol Surg. 2015;41:279.))
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