Robotic Hair Transplants & Hair Restoration
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Bernstein Medical - Center for Hair Restoration
Hair Restoration Answers

Is Manual FUE Better Than Robotic FUE Because The Physician Can “Feel” The Follicle During Extraction?

Q: Is it true that performing FUE hair transplant procedures by hand is better because the physician can better adjust and feel the follicle when extracting? — M.H. ~ Great Neck, N.Y.

A: The ARTAS robot is a physician controlled, computerized device that uses a three-dimensional optical system to isolate follicular units from the back of the scalp in a hair transplant. The robotic system assists the physician in the extraction of grafts with precision and speed. Although there is some advantage to having “human feel” for the tissue, this is far outweighed by the fact that repetitive procedures performed manually thousands of times lead to operator fatigue and result in increased transection and damage to grafts. With the ARTAS robotic system, the quality of the first and the last graft harvested will be the same.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Presents Advanced Robotic Hair Transplant Techniques at 2017 ARTAS Users Meeting

Dr. Bernstein Presenting at the 2017 ARTAS Users MeetingDr. Bernstein closed the 2017 ARTAS Users Meeting with a discussion of five advanced techniques in robotic hair transplant procedures that he developed at Bernstein Medical. His presentation covered the benefits of pre-making recipient sites, long-hair FUE, tensioner placement, feathering edges in harvesting, and robotic graft selection. The “Hair Restoration Pearls” presentation included case studies, photographs, and videos demonstrating the techniques to the audience of hair restoration physicians. The two-day affair; which was held in Coronado, California; was a huge success, with over 260 attendees from around the world representing 204 robotic hair restoration practices.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can I Have a Hair Transplant if I Have a Scar in My Donor Area? If So, Which Do You Recommend, FUT or FUE?

Q: I have a diagonal scar in the middle of my donor area that I got during a childhood accident and I am concerned that it will limit my options for hair restoration. Will this type of scar prevent me from having either FUT or FUE? Do you recommend one or the other? — R.F., Upper West Side, NY

A: Traumatic scars in the donor area do not preclude us from performing a hair transplant. With an FUT/strip procedure, we can remove all or part of the scar when we excise the donor strip. In Robotic FUE, the ARTAS Robot can be programmed to avoid a scar during harvesting. In either procedure, we can improve the appearance of the scar by implanting follicular unit grafts directly into the scar tissue. The hairs will grow permanently in the scar, just like ones we implant in the recipient area, and the scar will become harder to detect.

It is important to note that transplanted hair will not grow in a thickened scar. If your scar is thickened, the doctor can thin it out (soften it) with injections of cortisone. They are usually repeated at 4-6 week intervals in advance of the procedure. The number of injection sessions required depends upon the thickness of the scar and your individual response to the medication.

The presence of a traumatic scar should generally not determine which type of transplant you have. That should be decided in consultation with your physician based on factors such as how much volume you need, how you intend to style your hair, how short you would like to keep it, how soon you need to return to strenuous physical activity, and other general considerations for a hair transplant.

We recently posted photos from a patient who had a robotic hair transplant with a scar in his donor area. The photos include images of his donor area (with scar) before his procedure, immediately after robotic graft harvesting and 11 days post-op. View this patient’s before after photos.

Video: How Does the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant System Locate and Dissect Follicular Units?

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Hair Restoration Answers

Why is Robotic Recipient Site Creation an Advantage?

Q: Why is using the robot to create recipient sites useful in a hair transplant? — S.K., Jersey City, NJ

A: The ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant system eliminates the inconsistencies inherent in creating large numbers of recipient sites by hand. The robot can create sites at a rate of up to 2,000 per hour. Although there is more set-up time compared to sites made manually, once the physician specifies the parameters such as punch depth, punch angle, and site direction, recipient site creation is precise and rapid.

One of the benefits of robotic site creation is that the distribution of grafts over a fixed area of the scalp can be exact. For example, if one wants to transplant 1,000 grafts evenly over 50cm2 of area, this can be done with great precision and with uniform site spacing. In addition, the physician can vary the densities in select regions of the scalp and the robot will adjust the densities in other areas so that the total number of sites remains the same.

Another benefit of the new technology is that the robot can be programmed to avoid existing hair and select which specific hair diameters to avoid. The robot is programmed to keep a specified distance from the existing hair to ensure that the resident follicles will not be damaged and that the distribution of new hair is even and natural. This computerized mechanism appears to be more accurate than what can be done by hand and, importantly, does not sacrifice speed in the process.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Does Robotic FUE Differ from Other Hair Transplant Procedures?

Q: What is the main difference between hair transplants using the robot versus other procedures? — M.P., Flatiron, NY

A: There are two basic types of hair transplant procedures, Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT or strip surgery) and Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). In FUT, donor hair is harvested by removing a long thin strip from the back of the scalp. Individual follicular units are then obtained from this strip using stereo-microscopic dissection. In FUE, individual follicular units are harvested directly from the donor area using a sharp, round cutting instrument. The ARTAS Robotic System performs the follicular unit isolation step of an FUE procedure and can also create recipient sites according to specifications determined by the hair restoration surgeon. In performing each of these steps, the robot uses its image-guided technology to locate the next target and position the cutting instrument, and it does so with precision and speed that cannot be accomplished using manual FUE techniques or instruments.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

Robotic Hair Transplant Case Study with Bernstein Medical Patient

Restoration Robotics

Restoration Robotics, the company that developed the ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant system, has published a white paper case study on how Dr. Bernstein utilizes the robotic system’s tools to minimize scarring after Robotic FUE.

The case study illustrated that the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant system’s suite of tools can minimize the detectability of scars after an FUE hair transplant.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Many Follicles Can You Transplant With Robotic FUE?

Q: How many follicles can you transplant with robotic FUE compared to manual FUE? — R.V., Upper West Side, N.Y.

A: We can extract the same number of follicles robotically as we can manually.

That said, the goal of any hair transplant procedure is not to transplant as many hair follicles as possible but rather to achieve the best possible cosmetic result given your degree of hair loss and the number of hair follicles available in your donor area.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How Does the ARTAS Robot’s Image-Guided System Work?

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.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Can You Transplant More Grafts With Robotic FUE Or Manual FUE?

Q: Is robotic FUE different in the number of follicular unit grafts one can extract compared to manual FUE? — R.V., Stamford, CT

A: We can extract (and transplant) the same number of follicular unit grafts robotically as we can manually.

The goal of a hair transplant is not to simply transplant as many grafts as possible but to achieve the best possible cosmetic result given the number of hair follicles in your donor reserve. Remember, this is always a limited supply.

While there is no difference between robotic and manual FUE in terms of the number of follicular unit grafts that each can extract, robotic FUE does differ from manual FUE in several important ways.

First, there is generally less transection of the hair follicles with robotic FUE, since the method is more precise. This enables us to obtain follicular units with less trauma to the grafts.

Second, while the robot is not necessarily faster than the human surgeon, the robot is much more consistent since, unlike the human surgeon, it never fatigues and the accuracy is maintained throughout the entire procedure.

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Hair Restoration Answers

What is the Main Advantage of Robotic FUE Over Manual FUE?

Q:  I’ve heard that robotic-assisted FUE is better than manual FUE, but what exactly is the main advantage of Robotic FUE? — N.K., Bergen County, NJ

A: Robotic FUE is a significant improvement over other FUE techniques for a number of reasons. The accuracy and ability of a robot to perform countless repetitive motions are key reasons why robotic techniques are an improvement over manual techniques.

In a manual procedure, the skill and speed of a physician are under constant stress, as he or she must follow the angle and depth of the hair precisely hundreds to thousands of times. This task is almost impossible for even the best surgeons to perform without risking harm to the integrity of the follicles. Entering the skin at the wrong angle risks transecting or cutting the follicles and may render them useless for transplantation. Making too shallow an incision can also damage follicles, as the important base of the follicle can become sheared off when it is subsequently extracted.

The robot is engineered to avoid these problems, and so the number of viable grafts that the robot extracts is increased. As a result, the likelihood of the success of the transplant is greater using the robotic system.

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