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Q: How does the ARTAS System avoid damaging hair follicles in the balding area during recipient site creation? — R.K., Brooklyn, NY

A: The ARTAS robot‘s optical guidance system enables it to accurately create recipient sites in areas of thinning hair without damaging existing hair follicles. During the recipient site creation process, the robot uses its advanced image-guided optical system to scan the surface of the skin, locate existing hair follicles in the recipient area, and then create recipient sites at a specified distance from these existing hairs.

The ARTAS robot carries out this process rapidly, accurately, and consistently according to the physician’s programmed specifications. Thanks to the microscopic precision of the image-guided technology, the robotic hair transplant system can avoid injury to follicles that can result when Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is performed using manual techniques.

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Dr. Bernstein Presenting at ARTAS® User Group Meeting 2015Dr. Bernstein Presenting at ARTAS User Group Meeting 2015

Dr. Robert M. Bernstein introduced a new capability of the ARTAS® robotic system, “Follicular Unit Graft Selection,” at the ARTAS User Group Meeting on February 7th, 2015 in Newport Coast, CA. He presented the new technology and the preliminary results of a bilateral pilot study of the technique conducted at Bernstein Medical.

In robotic graft selection, the hair restoration surgeon programs the ARTAS robot to harvest follicular units based on the number of hairs in each unit. The robot first selects and then isolates larger follicular units of 2-hairs or more. If too few 1-hair units are extracted, the surgeon can program a second pass at extracting only the smallest grafts. As an alternative, the larger units can be divided into smaller ones using stereo-microscopic dissection. The goal is to both minimize wounding and harvest an adequate distribution of varying size follicular units to satisfy the surgeon’s, and ultimately the patient’s, aesthetic hair restoration needs. The new robotic graft selection system enables the robot to intelligently and efficiently harvest follicular units.

Results of the bilateral pilot study showed that the robot’s new graft selection capability was superior to random graft selection, the robot’s default setting, in the amount of hairs extracted per harvest attempt. Dr. Bernstein described how he was able to generate more transplantable grafts with fewer attempts at harvesting. By splitting larger follicular units into smaller grafts under stereo-microscopic dissection, he was able to produce additional grafts for use in the transplant without causing further wounding.

When the new computerized graft selection capability is coupled with dissection of larger units, the result is a substantial improvement over randomized graft selection. Read more about Robotic Graft Selection and the pilot study.

Dr. Bernstein also updated the meeting attendees on the robot’s recipient site creation technique that he introduced the prior year and some best practices in incorporating the ARTAS Hair Studio software into clinical practice.

Click here to read about Robotic Follicular Unit Graft Selection

Click here to read about Robotic Hair Transplants


ARTAS User Group Meeting 2015

Dr. Bernstein Presenting at ARTAS User Group Meeting 2015
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Robotic Surgical Hair Restoration Leads Advances in New Hair Loss Treatment OptionsThere are currently only a hand-full of FDA-approved treatments for hair loss, but all that is about to change says Dr. Robert M. Bernstein in the new November 2014 issue of “Cosmetics Business” magazine:

There are some important new [hair loss treatment] developments in the pipeline, including new and effective drugs, robotic surgery and cell-based approaches.

However, while there have been significant advances in new stem and cell-based therapies, surgical hair restoration is currently the only effective treatment option for restoring lost hair.

Modern surgical hair restoration, today’s natural-looking, virtually undetectable follicular unit hair transplantation procedures pioneered by Dr. Bernstein in the mid-1990s, have surged over the last 12 years, up over 85% since 2004 according to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons.

In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the popularity of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). This popularity is due to it being minimally invasive, having a fast recovery time, and lacking the long visible scar that occurs with a FUT procedure.

First described by Drs. Rassman and Bernstein in 2002, FUE is a highly labor-intensive, exacting procedure that involves harvesting follicular units one at a time from a donor area on the scalp, located on the back and on the sides of the head.

Because FUE is labor-intensive, hair restoration surgeons have developed many automated hand-held devices to help harvest the follicular units. Nevertheless, despite the development of these hand-held devices, FUE remains a manual, labor-intensive extraction procedure requiring precision movements to avoid damaging the follicular units during dissection, but it is a level of precision that becomes difficult to maintain over the course of a long procedure.

All this, however, has changed with the computer-assisted, image-guided ARTAS® robot. Dr. Bernstein tells “Cosmetics Business” magazine that the ARTAS robot, unlike humans, becomes neither tired nor loses consistency over the course of extracting thousands of follicles – and the result is better quality grafts:

Follicular unit extraction (FUE) procedures have progressed from using labor-intensive hand-held instruments all the way to a computer-assisted, image-guided robot that dissects follicular units accurately and consistently, thousands of times in a single session.

In short, the ARTAS hair transplant system represents a significant advance in restoring lost hair, and it is available today:

The ARTAS Robotic Procedure has been perfected, and we are comfortable offering it to patients as the state-of-the-art procedure for permanent hair restoration,” says Bernstein. “The next stage for the ARTAS Robotic System will be the ability to create recipient sites in addition to harvesting grafts. Within the next three years, it will be the dominant method used around the world. With the addition of recipient site creation, we will be one step closer to fully-automated robotic hair transplantation.


“Cosmetics Business” is a leading international magazine published by the HPCi Media Group providing news and information to the cosmetics, personal care and beauty industries through various print, digital and live platforms. Quotes by Dr. Bernstein came from an article by Wendy Lewis in the November 2014 issue of “Cosmetics Business,” From hype to hair restoration: How new treatments for hair loss, from at-home solutions to improved surgical techniques, will be game-changers in the near future.

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ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant System

Restoration Robotics, Inc. has announced that the ARTAS® Robotic System has harvested its 10 Millionth Hair, a major accomplishment for the three-year-old robot. The company attributes the success of achieving the 10 Millionth Hair in this short time span to rapid adoption by hair transplant industry leaders, like hair restoration pioneer Dr. Robert Bernstein.

The ARTAS robot is the only image-guided, physician-assisted robotic system for harvesting follicular units.

On the achievement, Jim McCollum, President and Chief Executive Officer of Restoration Robotics, said:

“The ARTAS Robotic System is fast becoming the gold standard in hair transplantation and enables hair restoration surgeons to enhance the patient experience and achieve unsurpassed outcomes. Our 10 Millionth Hair verifies the increased interest in patients pursuing a highly precise, undetectable hair transplant with a high degree of patient satisfaction. Interested patients are researching and demanding the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant Procedure.”

The ARTAS Robotic System received 510k clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 after a decade of research, testing, and clinical trials. Dr. Bernstein is an advisor to the company and, since its launch in 2011, he has offered several modifications to the initial iteration of the robot that have improved its performance and usability. Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration was the first facility on the East Coast of the United States, and one of the first hair transplant practices in the world, to use the system. Bernstein Medical is also a beta-testing site for the robot, and many upgrades to the hardware and software of the unit have been tested and perfected in our Manhattan hair restoration facility. All FUE hair transplants at Bernstein Medical are performed with the aid of the ARTAS robot.

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Health News DigestDr. Bernstein discusses the breakthrough technology of the ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant system — and how the robot has improved since its initial version — in an article in Health News Digest.

Not only is the mainstreaming of the hair transplant robot changing perceptions of surgical hair restoration in the public eye, says author of the article Wendy Lewis, but the robot is increasingly in demand at the leading hair restoration facilities across the country.

In the article, Dr. Bernstein describes how the robot is the latest evolution of the popular Follicular Unit Extraction hair transplant procedure:

According to Robert M. Bernstein, MD, FAAD, founder of Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration in New York City, “Follicular unit extraction (FUE) procedures have progressed from using labor-intensive, hand-held instruments all the way to a computer-assisted, image-guided robot. It dissects follicular units accurately and consistently, thousands of times in a single session.”

ARTAS Robot In Use at Bernstein MedicalARTAS Robot In Use at Bernstein Medical

In a recent interview with Bald Truth’s Spencer Kobren, Dr. Bernstein noted that the impression many physicians have of the FUE robot is of the initial iteration that was launched more than three years ago. In the Health News Digest article, Dr. Bernstein again makes the point that the ARTAS robot of 2014 is better than version 1.0:

“Robotic extraction has been greatly improved since the first machines were introduced over three years ago and the ARTAS robot is now used by over 70 surgeons worldwide,” said Dr. Bernstein. “We are comfortable offering it to patients as the state of the art procedure for permanent hair restoration. […] According to Dr. Bernstein, “With the addition of recipient site creation to the ARTAS Robotic System, we are one step closer to fully-automated robotic hair transplantation.”

Another breakthrough advance of the ARTAS system is the interactive visualization software called ARTAS Hair Studio:

Using actual photos of the patients, the ARTAS Hair Studio software generates a three-dimensional model on a touchscreen tablet, which allows physicians to customize a recipient site pattern design – creating hairlines and specifying hair location, distribution densities and growth directions. It also permits patients to visualize how a simulated number of grafts will appear on the scalp, with the intention of increasing the predictability and confidence of the outcome.

Dr. Bernstein has used the robot for FUE procedures at the state-of-the-art Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration since the fall of 2011. All FUE procedures at Bernstein Medical are currently performed using the ARTAS system. Bernstein Medical is a beta-testing site for developments to the robot, including several improvements to the punch mechanism, as well as the development of robotic recipient site creation. Dr. Bernstein is an advisor to the company that developed the robot, Restoration Robotics, Inc., out of Mountain View, California.

HealthNewsDigest.com is an 11 year old online magazine that is considered the premier electronic health news network and #1 provider of health news content. It is syndicated to thousands of major health industry websites and journalists in 164 countries. The author of the article is President of Wendy Lewis & Co. Ltd. Global Aesthetics Consultancy, author of 11 books, and Founder/Editor-in-Chief of BeautyintheBag.com.

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Q: I have read a bit about the ARTAS robot and how it uses an “image-guided” system, but what does that mean? And how is the robot’s imaging system different than a human surgeon viewing the grafts with the naked eye? — S.V., Middle Village, N.Y.

A: That is a great question and it gets to one of the key benefits of the robotic hair transplant system: its accuracy. When a surgeon is performing FUE using manual techniques, they must wear a headset that magnifies the scalp so they can see the follicular units more clearly than with the naked eye. The surgeon must visually and mentally process subtle nuances of the skin and follicular units for every one of the hundreds or thousands of units that are extracted. The ARTAS robot magnifies the surface of the skin in much the same way, but to a much greater extent. In addition, it is not subject to the limitations of the human eye, or human hand, and it is not subject to human error. The surgeon may not have exact hand-eye coordination. The surgeon may be concentrating on one aspect of the extraction, say following the angle of the hair, but might ignore another important aspect of the follicle, say its depth in the skin or its orientation. And, of course, the surgeon tires, both physically and mentally, from performing the hundreds or thousands of repetitive motions.

The robot’s image-guided system, on the other hand, does not experience these limitations. The robot magnifies the skin, detects each follicular unit and the nuances of the skin/hair characteristics, and then extracts that follicular unit with precision. When the imaging system detects changes to the skin, this new information is fed into the computer in real-time and the system adjusts automatically based on this feedback as it continues to harvest grafts. There is no distracting the robot, and the robot will not forget, or ignore, key variables in the extraction. The robot can extract thousands of follicular units without tiring from repetition or slowing down the extraction.

Based on my own practical experience using the robot, it is clear that the robot’s ability to estimate the position of the follicles under the skin and to extract it with precision is superior to manual techniques. Having used the ARTAS system for over three years, and having helped make improvements to the device since the first iteration, I have seen robotic technology substantially improve the outcome for my patients.

Video Display of the ARTAS Robot Image-Guided System




Display: ARTAS Robot Image-Guided System

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The Aesthetic Guide - ARTAS® Improves Hair Graft Accuracy and Consistency

Dr. Robert Bernstein discusses the benefits of the ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant system in The Aesthetic Guide, a leading periodical in the field of aesthetic surgery. The article examines how robotic Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) procedures are an improvement over FUE using handheld devices.

In the article, Dr. Bernstein explains how surgeons performing manual FUE need to calculate the angle, spacing, direction, depth, and orientation for each follicular unit harvested. The fact that this process must be repeated up to thousands of times per patient gives the manual FUE procedure significant variability.

Dr. Bernstein touches on a key reason why the image-guided robot is an improvement over manual techniques:

“The ARTAS robot is one of the first technologies used in practice where the computer of the robot is actually obtaining feedback from the anatomy of the patient. In this case, the robot is getting feedback regarding the distribution and direction of hair follicles. That information is communicated to the computer in real time and the computer makes adjustments as it continues to harvest the grafts, which is why the system is so accurate.”

The robot’s capability of making microscopic adjustments in real time, based on the characteristics of the patient’s skin, is a technological breakthrough in the field of hair restoration. Not only does the robot not tire when performing thousands of graft dissections, it estimates the position of the follicle under the skin more reliably than a human. According to Dr. Bernstein; “the accuracy of the robot remains consistent,” throughout the entire procedure, graft by graft.

The Aesthetic Guide - ARTAS Improves Hair Graft Accuracy and Consistency

This accuracy and consistency is critical in a hair transplant because the yield of healthy, viable grafts is one of the key factors in a successful procedure. If a surgeon, using manual techniques, transects (or cuts) a graft or doesn’t cut deeply enough into the skin tissue, then that graft might not survive the transplant. If a number of transected or damaged grafts don’t survive the transplant, then the result of the procedure will be limited in the aesthetic benefit that the surgery was designed to provide.

The article, which is titled “ARTAS Improves Hair Graft Accuracy and Consistency,” notes that Dr. Bernstein was one of the first physicians in the United States to use FUE robot in his practice, “one of the leading hair restoration centers in the country.”

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Q: I’ve heard it takes the artistry of the surgeon to create a natural looking hair transplant. How do you do this with a robot? — S.S., Shanghai, China

A: I currently create the recipient sites by hand using different size needles. They determine the angle, direction and distribution of the grafts, and these three variables determine the aesthetic aspects of the hair transplant.

However, I am working with Restoration Robotics to have the ARTAS System create recipient sites and we are currently beta-testing this technology. The robot can now make very precise recipient sites. The ability of the robot to mimic the art of the surgeon is in the works, and we expect it to be ready in the fall of 2014.

In this new robotic-assisted process, the surgeon designs the hairline and delineates the area to be transplanted directly on the patient’s scalp. The surgeon then photographs the patient’s scalp and feeds the photograph into the robot’s computer to create a digital 3-D image. The doctor, in order to have the robot mimic what he would do by hand, can then manipulate various parameters, such as hair angle, direction and density.

Read more about Recipient Site Creation in a Robotic Hair Transplant

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ARTAS Robotic System display monitor showing parameters for the creation of recipient sitesARTAS Robotic System display monitor showing parameters for the creation of recipient sites

New York, NY (PRWEB) — Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., F.A.A.D., A.B.H.R.S., founder of Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration, introduced new technology that allows the ARTAS Robotic System to accomplish a critical step in hair transplant surgery, the creation of recipient sites. Presenting at the 2nd ARTAS User Group Meeting, Dr. Bernstein previewed the recipient site creation technology that brings the robotic system one step closer to performing critical aspects of the labor-intensive, hair transplant procedure.

The ARTAS System is currently able to harvest intact follicular unit grafts from the permanent area in back of one’s scalp using precise robotic technology. This is the most difficult aspect of a follicular unit extraction hair transplant – the newer type of hair restoration procedure that avoids a linear scar in the back of the scalp. Now that site creation can also be done robotically, only one step remains – graft placement.

The ARTAS Robotic System maps the surgeon's hairline design onto a 3-D model of the patient's headThe ARTAS Robotic System maps the surgeon’s hairline design onto a 3-D model of the patient’s head

For the recipient site creation, the doctor first draws a hairline and other markings directly onto the patient’s scalp to delineate the surgical plan. Next, multiple photographs are taken and fed into software, called the ARTAS™ Hair Studio, which converts the images into a 3-D model of the actual patient. This computer model can be manipulated and saved for the patient’s procedure. Using the ARTAS™ Hair Studio software, the physician then specifies the angle, direction, density, and randomness of the recipient site incisions to create the most natural look. During the procedure, the robot uses image-guided technology to avoid existing hairs while it creates up to 1,500 recipient sites per hour. In performing recipient site creation, the robot automates a process that can be physically demanding and prone to human error.

On the advancement, Dr. Bernstein said:

“This development is a crucial step towards a robotic system that can perform every aspect of a hair transplant. A great deal of credit goes to the engineers of Restoration Robotics who have worked to make automated recipient site creation a reality. I am proud that this work not only improves hair transplants for patients, but adds to the increasingly important trend of using robotic technology in medicine.”

The site creation technology that Dr. Bernstein debuted at the ARTAS User Group Meeting; which was held in California (Laguna Niguel, CA) on February 7th and 8th, 2014; will be available to hair restoration physicians in the fall of 2014. Gabe Zingeratti Ph.D, head of R&D at Restoration Robotics, Inc., presented details of the technology, which was beta-tested at Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration. With the next generation ARTAS® Robotic System rolling out in the coming months, the focus of research will then be on the final phase of robotic hair transplantation, the robotic insertion of follicular unit grafts into recipient sites. This last step will take several more years to develop.

The ARTAS Robotic System, developed by Restoration Robotics, is currently in use by hair restoration physicians around the world to automate the extraction of grafts of skin and hair called follicular units.. Follicular units, which are natural groupings of one to four hair follicles, form the biological basis of the modern hair transplant procedure. Once extracted from the back of the patient’s scalp, the follicular unit grafts are then inserted into recipient sites in the balding area of the scalp where they grow hairs that are immune to the effects of common hair loss.

No stranger to innovative advances in hair transplant surgery, Dr. Bernstein introduced Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) to medical literature in a 1995 publication. FUT transformed hair transplants from the use of large grafts of skin and hair, known colloquially as “hair plugs,” to a more medically-oriented procedure that produces completely natural-appearing results. Dr. Bernstein with his colleague Dr. Bill Rassman again broke new ground with his 2002 publication that introduced the concept of Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) to scientific literature. Dr. Bernstein was the first physician on the East Coast of the United Sates, and one of the first in the world, to use the ARTAS System to perform FUE using the new robotic technology.

About Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., F.A.A.D.

Dr. Robert M. Bernstein is a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University and founder of Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration. His landmark scientific papers are considered seminal works in the field of hair transplant surgery. Other publications include textbook chapters on dermatologic surgery and books, like Hair Loss and Replacement for Dummies, aimed at the consumer audience. He has been selected as one of New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors” for fourteen consecutive years and has appeared as a hair loss and hair transplantation expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS News, Fox News, and The Discovery Channel. Dr. Bernstein has been interviewed or featured in articles in the New York Times, GQ Magazine, Men’s Health, Interview Magazine, Vogue, and others.

About Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration

Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration, founded in 2005, is a state-of-the-art facility and international referral center for the treatment of hair loss that is located in midtown Manhattan, New York City. Hair transplant surgery, hair repair surgery, and eyebrow restoration are performed using Dr. Bernstein’s pioneering techniques of Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE).

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New York, NY (PRWEB) — Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., F.A.A.D., A.B.H.R.S., a world-renowned hair transplant surgeon, presented a series of improvements to hair transplant procedures which use the ARTAS Robotic System for Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). These updates include revisions to the FUE surgical protocol and technical adjustments to the robotic extraction system. He presented his refinements at the first user meeting held by the developers of the system; Restoration Robotics, Inc.; on September 14 – 16 in Denver, Colorado.

Dr. Bernstein receives recognition from Restoration RoboticsDr. Bernstein receives recognition from Restoration Robotics

Dr. Bernstein described his series of improvements in a lecture to an elite group of physicians who are among the first adopters in the industry of the image-guided, robotic-assisted system. The updates are designed to improve the results of FUE hair transplantation by enhancing both the surgical protocols of the procedure as well as the functionality of the robotic system. In FUE, small groups of one to four hairs, called follicular units, are extracted individually from the back and sides of the scalp and are then implanted into recipient sites, which are tiny holes that the surgeon creates in a balding area of the scalp.

Dr. Bernstein discussing robotic-assisted FUE at Restoration Robotics' first user meetingDr. Bernstein discussing robotic-assisted FUE at Restoration Robotics’ first user meeting

The most important update to the FUE procedure that Dr. Bernstein proposed is for surgeons to create recipient sites before they extract the grafts, rather than create the sites after grafts are extracted. Drawing on his decades of experience in hair transplantation, Dr. Bernstein developed this technique of “pre-making” recipient sites in order to maximize survival of the grafts during the hair transplant. Using this technique, extracted grafts are outside the body for a shorter duration of time. It also minimizes instances of “popping,” in which grafts are exposed to desiccation (drying) and hypoxia (low oxygen) before they are inserted back into the scalp. By “pre-making” the recipient sites, these harmful factors are mitigated and a greater number of the grafts grow into viable, hair-producing follicular units. Dr. Bernstein encourages surgeons to use this technique on all FUE procedures, whether using manual methods or robotic instrumentation.

When asked to comment on his improvements to the robotic FUE procedure, Dr. Bernstein said:

“It was fortuitous timing that the ARTAS Robot became available just as I was developing my refinements to the FUE procedure. The combination of the automated robot for graft extraction with the technique of pre-making recipient sites has led to a significant improvement in hair transplant surgery.”

Dr. Bernstein is the founder of Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration, and he is recognized world-wide for his innovative work in the treatment of hair loss. He is among the first hair transplant surgeons in North America to utilize the ARTAS Robot for FUE in his practice.

Being an early adopter of the advanced follicular unit extraction system has enabled him to work with Restoration Robotics to refine it to his exacting standards. Dr. Bernstein has, again, put his fingerprints on a revolutionary upgrade to the hair transplantation industry. He was the first to describe FUT and FUE procedures in the medical literature, in 1995 and 2002 respectively. In contrast to FUE, where follicular units are extracted individually, in FUT procedures a strip of skin is removed from the back of the scalp, it is then dissected into follicular units, and those follicular unit grafts are then implanted into recipient sites in the patient’s scalp.

About Dr. Bernstein

Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., F.A.A.D., A.B.H.R.S. is a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University and a pioneer in the field of hair restoration. His landmark scientific papers are considered seminal works in the field of hair transplant surgery, and he is the most widely published author on the topic having published more than sixty articles, editorial reviews, books, and textbook chapters.

Dr. Bernstein has been selected as one of New York Magazine’s “Best Doctor’s” for thirteen consecutive years and he has appeared as a hair loss and hair transplantation expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Discovery Channel, CBS News, Fox News, and National Public Radio. Dr. Bernstein has been interviewed or featured in articles in GQ Magazine, Men’s Health, Interview Magazine, Vogue, the New York Times, and others.

About Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration

Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration is a state-of-the-art hair restoration facility and international referral center, located in midtown Manhattan, New York City. The center is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss in men and women. Hair transplant surgery, hair repair surgery, and eyebrow restoration are performed using Dr. Bernstein’s pioneering techniques of Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and robotic Follicular Unit Extraction (R-FUE).

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Dr. Bernstein Featured With "First Of Its Kind" Robotic Hair Transplant System On NY1
Dr. Bernstein with ARTAS System for Robotic FUE

Dr. Bernstein not only pioneers hair transplant procedures, but hair restoration technology as well. The NY1 television station, based in New York City, visited Bernstein Medical to see a demonstration and talk about the newest tool in the hair restoration toolkit, the ARTAS Robot for Hair Restoration.

The NY1 piece shows the robotic FUE system in action at Bernstein Medical, with views of the robotic arm, the image-guided system, the punch tool, and the user interface.

The segment also reports that Dr. Bernstein is among the first hair transplant physicians to use the technology:

Removing those units has always proved to be the toughest part of this method, but the robot changes that, which is why even Dr. Robert Bernstein — the man who’s widely credited with developing follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction — jumped to be among the first in the U.S. to use the device.

Dr. Bernstein speaks to one of the main benefits of the robot, the increased efficiency in extracting follicular unit grafts.

NY1 serves 2.1 million people in the tri-state area, including all five boroughs — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and The Bronx –– parts of Westchester and Hudson Valley, as well as cities and towns in Bergen County and Hudson County in New Jersey.

Read more about Robotic Hair Transplantation

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Dr. Bernstein discusses ARTAS Robotic FUE system on NY1

NY1, a New York City television channel, has featured Dr. Bernstein in a segment on robotic hair transplantation.

Here is a transcript of the video:

A new robot could help return hair to those of us who, as we get older, find ourselves a bit follically challenged. Called the ARTAS System from Restoration Robotics, it was recently approved by the FDA to help with a type of hair transplantation technique called follicular unit transplantation where follicular units, groups of one to four hairs, are removed directly from the back of the head and transplanted on the top and front. Removing those units has always proved to be the toughest part of this method, but the robot changes that, which is why even Dr. Robert Bernstein – the man who’s widely credited with developing follicular unit transplantation and [follicular unit extraction] – jumped to be among the first in the U.S. to use the device.

“A follicular unit is about a half a millimeter and you have a one-millimeter circle that has to go dead center over it to punch this out. So when you’re doing it by eye and you’re doing thousands of them over time you’re missing them over time it’s not exactly precise. The robot is dead center each time and follows the angle of the hair,” explains Bernstein.

While the robot doesn’t really have any direct impact on how the transplant will ultimately look – that’s still up to the doctor’s expertise and artistic skill. What it does do is give the doctor a better quality sample of hair with which to work.

“There’s always damage to the follicles when you’re doing it because you’re doing it by hand through these very tiny incisions and so the yield is going to be less and so with a robot if you try to get out 100 follicles you’ll get very close to 100 follicles,” says Bernstein.

Again, the robot just makes the incision, the doctor still has to pull the hair, make sites on the front where the transplants will go and then actually make the transplants. However, developers say they are working on having future versions of the ARTAS System help with the entire process.

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Q: I wanted to find out about the difference between what Dr. Bernstein does with his robotic system versus NeoGraft. — G.M., Newark, NJ

A: The ARTAS robotic system, used at Bernstein Medical, has robotic control, video imaging and uses a blunt dissection technique. This allows for very precise extraction of follicular units from the donor area with minimal transection. The Neograft machine for FUE is a manually operated machine which uses sharp edge dissection. Because it relies on manual controls rather than robotics, it is less accurate and the cutting tip causes more graft injury. The precision of the robot allows the grafts to be harvested with less trauma and will thus result in better growth. In my opinion, these differences are very significant.

Read more about the differences between the ARTAS Robot and Neograft

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Eyebrow transplant and restoration article - New York TimesThe New York Times, once again, has recognized Dr. Bernstein’s pioneering hair restoration techniques. The NYT Fashion and Style section noted that he is, “the first hair transplant surgeon on the east coast,” to use the ARTAS robotic system for Follicular Unit Extraction.

This precision, image-guided robot is unique in its, “use of digital mapping and tracking to extract and harvest ‘follicular units.'”

For more information about the ARTAS System see our Robotic Hair Transplantation section of our website.

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ARTAS at Bernstein Medical

You don’t have to be interested in a hair transplant to appreciate the advanced technology in the ARTAS system for robotic FUE. That is why the technology and media website “All Things D” has featured the image-guided hair restoration robot in an article titled, “All I Want for Christmas is a Robot Hair Transplant.”

The article gives the reader an overview of the system and why it is beneficial. Dr. Bernstein provided some insight for the piece, particularly regarding the reduction of human error that can occur in long procedures. The article also notes that, as of the date of publication, there are only four ARTAS robotic systems in use in the United States. The system in use at Bernstein Medical is the only one on the East Coast.

For a more detailed description of the system, how it works, and its benefits please visit our section on Robotic Hair Transplantation.

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ARTAS at Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Dr. Bernstein and Staff with ARTAS System

We are pleased to announce that robotic FUE is now available at Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration. This is a major advance in FUE technology.

The ARTAS system for hair restoration allows us to more effectively isolate follicular unit grafts from the donor area of the scalp without causing damage to individual follicles, a problem that has been a limitation of manual FUE techniques. Many other important parts of the FUE procedure will still be performed by the physician and team, including actual removal of the follicular units from the scalp, recipient site creation, and graft placement. The aesthetic elements that give a hair transplant a natural-looking result will still be in the hands of the physician. Read more about the benefits of robotic hair transplantation.

We are proud of the cutting-edge work we do in our state-of-the-art medical facility and are excited as we take FUE hair transplantation to the next level.

View our press release about the ARTAS system at Bernstein Medical.

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Q: How many different kinds of robotic devices are there? — T.R., Boca Raton, FL

A: There is only one, the robot called the ARTAS System for FUE, made by Restoration Robotics. The Neograft machine, occasionally confused with a robotic device, is actually a hand-held instrument that is not robotically controlled and lacks image-based tracking. It is, therefore, not capable of eliminating the operator error and variability of hand operated devices and does not decrease the damage to follicles, called transection, inherent in manual techniques.

Read more about Robotic FUE hair transplantation.

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Dr. Bernstein is quoted extensively in an article on robotic hair transplantation in the online magazine American Health & Beauty.

ARTAS Robotic FUE Imaging System
ARTAS Robotic FUE Imaging System
Click for larger version

In “ARTAS: A Faster and More Accurate Hair Transplant Using Robotics?” Dr. Bernstein explains the benefits of robotic FUE over traditional FUE hair transplant procedures. He describes how the new robotic device overcomes some important limitations of FUE when performed manually. To better understand the role of the new instrument, Dr. Bernstein simplifies the FUE procedure into four basic steps and discusses where the image-guided robotic system fits into this process.

Dr. Bernstein explains how the new technology enables the robotic device to preserve follicular units and minimize damage to grafts though its image-guided system.

“ARTAS allows us to do the FUE procedure with much less damage to the graft which means much healthier grafts. Grafted follicles extracted by ARTAS are not cut, which has been a problem with FUE, but the grafted follicular units are actually chunkier with more protective tissue around them, resulting in a better graft survival with the robotic FUE vs. doing FUE manually,” says Dr. Bernstein.

Follicular Unit Grafts Removed by ARTAS Robotic System

Follicular Unit Grafts Removed by
ARTAS Robotic System

Click for larger version

In addition to extracting grafts that have a higher chance of surviving the extraction and transplantation process, the article discusses the increased speed and accuracy of the automated procedure, as well as the safety mechanisms built into the robotic unit.

Always with an eye towards the future of hair transplantation, Dr. Bernstein predicts what he sees as an inevitable rise in the use of robotics in the field:

“I imagine that within a relatively short time, everybody will be offering the robot-assisted device when considering FUE procedures, because it’s just a better way of doing it: more accurate, quicker extraction and healthier grafts.”

The ARTAS System, developed by the California-based Restoration Robotics, Inc., will be available for FUE hair transplant procedures at Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration in November 2011.

Read the full version of the article.

You can read much more about the ARTAS System for FUE or Robotic FUE hair transplantation.

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Press Release

Dr. Robert M. Bernstein – pioneer of the follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplant procedures – will become the first hair restoration physician on the East Coast to employ the robotic ARTAS™ System for FUE hair transplantation.

New York, NY — Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., F.A.A.D., world-renowned pioneer of the Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant techniques and founder of Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration, will become the first hair transplant surgeon on the East Coast to use the robotic ARTAS System for Hair Restoration. Procedures using the computer-driven, automated system will begin in November 2011 in his state-of-the-art New York City facility.

ARTAS Robotic System for FUE at Bernstein Medical
ARTAS Robotic System for FUE
at Bernstein Medical

Dr. Bernstein, a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University in New York, said that he is excited to incorporate the image-guided robotic system into his FUE procedures. “The ARTAS System is a ground-breaking technology for hair transplantation that will provide significant benefits to our patients,” said Dr. Bernstein. “From the accuracy of follicular unit graft extraction to the automation of what is normally a labor and skill intensive procedure, the outcome is better hair restoration results and faster, more comfortable procedures.”

The ARTAS System for Hair Restoration, developed by Restoration Robotics, Inc., overcomes some of the human limitations in performing FUE hair transplant procedures. Greater accuracy in extracting follicular unit grafts, combined with the sharp/blunt extraction technique, allows for graft removal with less damage to the graft and greater preservation of its protective tissues. A lower rate of damage increases the probability that the grafts will survive the transplant process, leading to better hair restoration results. The automation of what is a technically challenging and physically demanding process for the physician when performed manually, contributes to a shorter procedure and a decreased need for local anesthetic.

By utilizing the latest and most effective advancements in hair transplantation technology, Dr. Bernstein, a New York native, is extending his record as a true pioneer in the field of hair restoration. His landmark medical publications on follicular unit transplantation and follicular unit extraction revolutionized the field and provide the foundation for techniques in use by hair transplant surgeons across five continents. His medical practice has been devoted exclusively to the treatment of hair loss since 1995 and he now performs both restorative and corrective hair transplant procedures at his state-of-the-art hair restoration facility in mid-town Manhattan.

Dr. Bernstein has appeared on a wide variety of notable media programs and publications. Some of these include: The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Dr. Oz Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, National Public Radio, New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, GQ Magazine, Univision, Telemundo, “O” the Oprah Magazine, and more. He is co-author of Hair Loss & Replacement for Dummies and The Patient’s Guide to Hair Restoration. He has been selected as one of NY Magazine’s “Best Doctors in New York” for 12 consecutive years.

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Robotics in FUE hair transplant surgery is a topic that is attracting increasing attention in the world of hair restoration. As we have discussed, the ARTAS robotic system for hair restoration is the newest technology in this ever-evolving field.

Before & 9 Months After FUE with ARTAS Robotic System
Before & 9 Months After FUE with ARTAS Robotic System
Click image for larger version

This new system, developed by Restoration Robotics, Inc., is more than just a new tool for performing Follicular Unit Extraction. Rather, it is a complex system that uses the latest in mechanical and software technology to automate FUE surgery. The robot not only allows doctors to perform this typically labor and skill intensive procedure, but it provides a variety of benefits to their patients. Among these benefits are increased accuracy in follicular unit graft harvesting, reduced harvesting time, and increased graft survival.

An article in the September/October 2011 issue of the journal Aesthetic Trends & Technologies adds detail to our knowledge of the benefits of the ARTAS System. The article, titled, “How Technology is Changing the Hair Restoration Industry,” first gives a basic overview of the system and why it was developed. It then goes on to describe how a specially-designed device, called a skin tensioner, along with an image-guided system, tracks each follicular unit on the patient’s scalp and allows for the precise control of graft extraction.

From the article:

The technology determines the location, angle, and direction of each individual hair follicle; and via complex algorithms and computer programming, it is able to determine almost instantaneously the proper approach to harvest each follicular unit. The image-guided robotic arm begins harvesting the hair follicles in random patterns, according to the harvest spacing set by the physician. These random patterns make the procedure virtually undetectable after the wounds have healed.

The accuracy and performance of the image-guided robotic system is notable and contributes significantly to the improved outcome of the FUE procedure. As Miguel Canales, M.D., Medical Director for Restoration Robotics, says in the article, the transection rate, or rate at which follicular units are damaged in the extraction process, is consistently less with robotic controlled FUE compared to that performed manually.

This kind of consistency yields a benefit not only to seasoned hair restoration surgeons, but to physicians of all skill levels. James Harris, M.D., a hair restoration physician based in Colorado, says that a novice physician, who might only be able extract 50-70 grafts in one hour using the traditional manual technique, extract 600-700 an hour. For a procedure of 1,500 grafts, the physical demand on both the physician and the patient is substantially reduced with the ARTAS System versus the standard manual graft excision techniques in FUE surgery.

Before & 7 Days After FUE with ARTAS Robotic System
Before & 7 Days After FUE with ARTAS Robotic System
Click image for larger version

The developers of the ARTAS System were also conscientious of the safety of the FUE patient. An array of sensors monitors patient movement and causes the system to respond to the force of the punch used in graft excision or to any instances where the system’s casing touches the patient. If the force exerted is too strong, or if the casing touches the patient, the system automatically backs away from the patient, allowing the physician to make sure that all is well before the surgery proceeds. According to the article, there were no safety-related “adverse events” in trials with over 350 patients.

From the efficiency of the ARTAS System in extracting follicular unit grafts, to the quality of the grafts, to patient safety, the benefits are many for the physician. The patient will receive a high quality hair transplant with a less intensive time commitment, less local anesthesia needed to numb the area, improved hair growth rates, and a better overall FUE hair transplant experience.

Download and read the article here (pdf).

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Q: How does the ARTAS robotic hair transplant system actually work? — J.N., Fort Lee, NJ

A: The ARTAS System for Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) combines several features including an interactive, image-guided robotic arm, special imaging technologies, small skin punches of two different sizes, and a computer monitor. After the system is positioned over the patient’s donor area of the scalp, ARTAS is capable of identifying and isolating follicular units from the surrounding scalp.

After the robotic arm is aligned with the follicular unit, a sharp 1-mm punch is used to cut through the upper part of the skin (the epidermis and upper dermis).

Immediately following this, a duller, 1.3mm punch is used to separate the deeper part of the follicular unit from the remainder of the dermis and subcutaneous fat. Once separated by the robot, the follicular units are manually removed from the scalp and stored until they are implanted into the patient’s recipient area.

Read about robotic FUE hair transplantation

Posted by
Robert M. Bernstein M.D.

Q: What does the ARTAS robotic system for Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) actually do? — E.J., Plainsboro, NJ

A: The ARTAS robotic system for hair restoration is a computer assisted system, made by a company called Restoration Robotics, that utilizes image-guided robotics to increase the quality of the hair follicles harvested during FUE. It aids in the initial part of the FUE hair transplant procedure where follicular units are separated from the surrounding tissue. The system is operated under direct physician supervision.

Read about robotic FUE hair transplantation

Posted by
Robert M. Bernstein M.D.

Q: What is Restoration Robotics? — L.N., East Brunswick, NJ

A: Restoration Robotics is a medical device company, based in Mountain View, California, that has developed a computerized instrument to assist in the graft extraction phase of follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplant procedures. Their patented device, called “ARTAS,” is an image-guided system for FUE. Their website is: www.restorationrobotics.com.

Read about robotic FUE hair transplantation

Posted by
Robert M. Bernstein M.D.

Q: I have read your page on robotics in hair restoration and am interested in learning more. Are there any updates in the development of the system you mentioned? — W.T., London, UK

A: Restoration Robotics, Inc. — based in Mountain View, CA — has spent the last few years developing and testing a robotic hair transplant device for follicular unit extraction (FUE). The ARTAS robot system has recently received 510(k) approval from the Food and Drug Administration, meaning that the company may now begin marketing the system for use in hair restoration clinics.

The FDA classifies the device as a “computer assisted hair harvesting system” and describes it as being used to identify and extract follicular units and to help the surgeon do the same during hair transplantation.

The ARTAS robot consists of a computer assisted station with needle mechanism, force sensor, robotic arm, and video imaging system. The software that runs the instrument helps the surgeon target follicular units for extraction and also uses stereoscopic video images to guide the needle mechanism and robotic arm.

We will update you as more information becomes available about the ARTAS system and Restoration Robotics.

See a photo of the ARTAS robot and stay on top of developments by visiting our Robotic Hair Transplantation page

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