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

Innovations In Robotic Hair Restoration

Synopsis: With the latest version of the ARTAS platform, 9x, Restoration Robotics has designed a faster and more accurate system for hair transplantation. The improved accuracy of harvesting and shortened procedure time increases graft viability, while smaller needles reduce scarring and allow patients to wear shorter hairstyles. Many of the changes in this upgrade have been made as a response to specific physician feedback.

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Hair Restoration Answers

When is it Best to Feather in Robotic FUE?

Q: I thought that FUE extraction is performed in a way that it cannot be detected. Therefore, it is best to distribute the pattern evenly starting from the safe zone and fading out on the sides. The ARTAS results often show a smaller extraction area and harder edges (no transition from extraction to non-extraction area). Does this lead to a higher risk to detect the surgery? — H.K. ~ Chicago, I.L.

A: Feathering of the extraction zone in FUE is a technique where the distance between the extractions gradually increases as one reaches the border of the extracted zone. When this technique should be used depends upon the short- and long-term goals of the patient. If the patient’s main goal of the FUE procedure is to wear their hair very short, then the technique of feathering and rounding the edges to have a less distinct border is appropriate, as this will decrease the visibility of the harvested area.

However, if a person does not wear his hair very short (nor plans to) and maximizing the donor supply is paramount, then a more organized pattern, with less feathering, will give a greater long-term yield and a more even distribution. The reason is that the healing of FUE wounds distorts adjacent follicular units making subsequent extraction in the same regions more difficult and increases the risk of transection. For this reason, in subsequent procedures we generally prefer to harvest in new areas. If we need to harvest more hair from the same area, we rarely go back more than once.

When one feathers extensively in the donor area, this utilizes a larger surface area of the scalp with less graft yield, so it may become necessary to go back over the same area to obtain additional grafts, often multiple times. This risks increased transection and an uneven, mottled appearance to the donor area.

If a person wears his hair very short, then feathering is critical (even though it makes subsequent extraction more problematic). It is very easy to feather and round edges with the ARTAS robot, but we make the decision to do so based upon the specific needs and goals of the patient.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Do You See An Impact Of Your Involvement With Restoration Robotics In The Development Of ARTAS?

Q: As a medical advisor and an end-user of the ARTAS Robotic System, do you see any impact of your involvement with Restoration Robotics? — J.V. ~ Miami, F.L.

A: Restoration Robotics has been very responsive to the needs of its physicians and to their patients. Because I work closely with Restoration Robotics in the development of new improvement and advances they are often introduced first in our practice.

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Hair Restoration Answers

How are Recipient Sites Programmed into the ARTAS Robot?

Q: How are specifications for recipient sites inputted into the ARTAS® robot? — A.F., Queens, NY

A: At the outset of the procedure, the physician sits at a computer terminal that is connected to the ARTAS Robot and enters the specifications directly into the robot’s software. Variables programmed in this manner include: the number of recipient sites, density of sites, angle that the hair will extrude from the skin, depth of recipient sites, and the minimum distance away from existing hair follicles that a site can be created.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

New York Magazine ‘Best Doctors’ Issue Includes Dr. Bernstein for Sixteenth Consecutive Year

Best Doctors 2015 - New York MagazineOn being chosen for his sixteenth consecutive ‘Best Doctors’ issue, Dr. Bernstein said: “I am honored to be considered among the best doctors in New York and it is a credit to the hardworking staff at Bernstein Medical that, after two decades of incredible progress, we are still making significant advances in the surgical treatment of hair loss.”

Recognition of Dr. Bernstein and his contributions to the field of surgical hair restoration comes as he continues to push the envelope with advances in Robotic FUE hair transplants, improving more traditional hair restoration techniques and exploring adjuvant treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP).

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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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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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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein Presents Advances in Robotic Hair Transplants at ISHRS 2014

ISHRS 2014 - 22nd Annual Scientific Meeting - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Dr. Robert M. Bernstein presented the ARTAS Hair Studio™ digital hair transplant design software and robotic recipient site creation using the ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant system, each advances in key aspects of hair transplantation, at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ISHRS) annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday, October 11th, 2014.

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Bernstein Medical In The News

ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant System Harvests 10 Millionth Hair

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.

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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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Bernstein Medical In The News

Dr. Bernstein, Robotic Hair Transplant Pioneer, Honored to be Included in 15th Consecutive ‘Best Doctors’ Issue of New York Magazine

Best Doctors 2014 - New York MagazineRobert M. Bernstein, MD, MBA, FAAD, a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Columbia University in New York and a pioneer of modern hair transplant procedures, is honored to be included in New York Magazine’s annual ‘Best Doctors’ issue for the fifteenth consecutive year.

Dr. Bernstein’s two decades of innovation in surgical hair restoration and dedication to his patients at Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration have earned him placement in the 2014 edition of the peer-nominated ‘Best Doctors’ issue. The respect his colleagues have for his work stems from his leadership and dedication to advancing and improving surgical hair restoration procedures.

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Hair Restoration Answers

Why does the ARTAS® Robotic System only do FUE, Not FUT?

Q: Why does the ARTAS® Robotic System only do FUE, not FUT? — V.Z., Chicago, Illinois

A: Currently the robot is only used for harvesting grafts from the donor area. In FUE, the doctor punches out hundreds to thousands of individual follicular units from the back and sides of the scalp by hand using a small round instrument called a punch.The punch has to be held at exactly the right angle, with just the right pressure applied, stopped at a precise depth and, during this time, rotated (or spun mechanically) without changing the alignment.

As one can imagine, this exhaustingly tedious process can best be done using the precision of a robotic device.

In FUT, the harvesting is done by a surgeon using a scalpel to make a long incision in the back of the scalp. It only takes a few minutes. The harvested strip is removed and then placed under dissecting microscopes where the individual follicular units are isolated. This dissection, thus far, can only be done by hand. There is no robotic technology available to do this.

Harvesting the donor hair, of course, is only one part of a hair transplant. The other steps, recipient site creation (making the holes that the grafts are placed into) and actually placing the grafts into those sites are similar in both FUE and FUT.

It is anticipated that robotic site creation will be available in the fall of 2014 and robotic graft placement, the third and final step, about two years after that. At that time, the robot will be able to perform the entire FUE procedure and the last two parts of the FUT procedure.

Of course, the robot doesn’t do the surgery alone. The physician must input all the information regarding the design and planning of the procedure and closely monitor each step of the robotic process. Unlike automating industrial production, the human scalp has great variability, so there is no one formula that will be appropriate for every patient. Physician skill and involvement is just as important in robotic hair transplantation as it is with every other type of surgical hair restoration procedure.

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