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Robotic Hair Transplants & Hair Restoration
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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Patents Hair Transplant Procedure with Delay Between Recipient Site Creation and Graft Insertion

Recipient Site Creation at Bernstein MedicalHair transplant pioneer Dr. Robert M. Bernstein and his colleague Dr. William R. Rassman have received a patent on a new method that improves the outcome of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) – the type of procedure used in half of all hair transplants performed world-wide. The key invention is the addition of a delay between the creation of recipient sites and the insertion of follicular units into those sites. The delay allows the healing process to commence before grafts are inserted, resulting in increased success of the transplant and an improved outcome.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What’s the Outlook on a Hair Transplant Robot Performing the Entire Procedure?

Q: I understand that in robotic hair transplant, a robot performs the extraction part of the FUE procedure. What’s the outlook on the robot doing more of the hair transplant procedure? — B.B., Greenwich, CT

A: Currently, the ARTAS® Robotic System is a technology for extracting grafts. This is the most difficult part of a follicular unit extraction procedure, but it is only one part.

There are two other major parts to the FUE procedure: one part is the creation of recipient sites (in our practice, we create the recipient sites first, so that once we harvest the grafts, we can immediately place them into the scalp), and the other part is graft placement.

Recipient site creation involves more than merely making holes in the recipient area.

It involves making decisions on hairline design, graft distribution, hair direction, recipient site size and depth. When done manually, the surgeon first designs the new hairline so that the hair transplant will look as natural as possible, particularly as the person ages. Next, the surgeon will demarcate the extent of the area to be transplanted and decide on the graft distribution (i.e., how much hair will be placed in each part of the scalp) and then prepare a “recipient site” on the part of the scalp that has lost hair. The surgeon will then manually create incisions in the recipient site into which the follicular units will be placed.

On February 8, 2014, Dr. Bernstein unveiled “recipient site” creation capabilities of the hair transplant robot. These new capabilities allow the doctor to import a hairline design and other markings that have been made on the patient’s scalp directly into the robot. The robot then maps the design onto a precise 3-D model of the patient’s head. The physician can then program the proper distribution, direction and depth of the future recipient sites and the robot then creates the sites according to the physician’s specifications.

Graft placement, the last step, is perhaps the most challenging to automate. Engineers are currently working to design and build the capacity to automate the placement of extracted follicular units into recipient site incisions. Done manually, it requires significant hand-eye coordination and a very slow learning curve. For the hair transplant robot, it will be a significant challenge with development taking several years or more.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Long Should I Wait Before Having a Second Hair Transplant?

Q: If a second hair transplant is performed before the first had a chance to grow could the second procedure destroy the follicles from the first? — B.M., Upper East Side, NYC

A: Hair from the second hair transplant session would not damage the follicles transplanted in the first session, even if follicular unit grafts were transplanted in exactly the same spot as in the first session.

The reason to wait until the hair grows in, however, is so that you can better plan the subsequent hair restoration procedure. If two follicular units are placed on top of each other or very close together, you will essentially be creating a mini-graft and the results will not look natural.

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