Robotic hair transplantation is an innovative procedure that uses a robotic arm to extract individual hair follicles from the scalp and implant them into bald or thinning areas. The robotic arms used in the procedure have been programmed with specialized software and imaging systems. This increases the accuracy and precision of the hair transplants since the process involves real-time monitoring of the patient's scalp with dedicated algorithms guiding the robot during the follicle-harvesting process. The approach to hair transplantation is different from traditional methods, as it reduces the chances of human error since the procedure is entirely operated by a robot's controlled and precise movements, reducing the risk of infections to the patient's scalp.
Robotic hair transplants are formally known as robotic follicular unit extraction (FUE), with the most popular robotic hair transplant system today called ARTAS Restoration Robotics. This particular system has been seen to be able to harvest up to 6,000 follicles in one day when run alongside a surgical team. This is impressive, considering that manual surgical methods can only extract between 3,000-3,500 grafts daily.
Benefits of Robotic Hair Transplantation
Robotic hair transplantations can also minimize the risk of complications during the procedure. Unlike traditional hair plant methods that extract scripts of the scalp to use as a hair graft, robotic hair transfers harvest individual hair follicles, ensuring that the extracted area is fully intact with minimal scarring. This factor reduces the chance of damaging the surrounding hair follicles and tissue, leading to less swelling, bleeding, and scarring than traditional methods. The robot's accuracy in placing the hair follicles also leads to more consistent and uniform growth. This is because the increased precision of the robotic technology results in a higher graft survival rate during the procedure, ensuring that more of the transplanted hair follicles will take root and grow. Robotic hair transplants usually take up to 4 to 8 hours, allowing patients to quickly return to their everyday activities.
How Robotic Hair Transplantation Works
Robotic hair transplantation usually takes much simpler than manual hair transplants. The process begins with mapping the patient's scalp, where the robot uses its advanced imaging system to determine the ideal location for hair follicle extraction. This is an essential step in the process as it helps to ensure that the hair follicles are extracted from an area of the scalp that will provide the best results.
Once the ideal donor location has been determined, the robot carefully extracts a group of 1-3 using a punch tool to create tiny circular incisions. This method is designed to minimize any discomfort or pain associated with traditional hair transplant methods, as no scalpels or incisions are involved.
Once all of the hairs are extracted, the follicles are inserted into the patient's intended location - usually near the top or front of the head and ensuring that they are placed at the correct angle and spacing for optimal growth. The robot's advanced imaging system allows for real-time monitoring of the transplantation process, which helps to ensure that the hair follicles are placed with a high degree of accuracy and precision. This advanced technology results in a more natural-looking hairline, reduced discomfort, faster recovery time, and improved cosmetic results, making it a highly sought-after hair transplant method.
Traditional hair transplant methods often rely heavily on the manual skills and experience of the surgeon, which can lead to unpredictable results and an increased risk of human error. With robotic hair transplantation, the robot's precision and advanced imaging systems eliminate the need for manual extraction. They can reduce the intervention time of a transplant by 50%, leading to a more consistent and accurate procedure. With manual hair transplants, patients can only truly know what their final look will look like after the final procedure is complete. But with this robotic technology, you can see a preview of different hair graft/follicle counts, hair lines, and hair distributions before the surgery using 3D hairline planning technology to narrow down your desired look.
Another factor to consider is the size and scale of the hair transplant. Traditional hair transplant methods can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, making it challenging to perform larger transplants or multiple sessions. In contrast, the robot's efficiency and speed allow for larger transplants to be completed in a shorter amount of time, reducing the overall time commitment for the patient.
Overall, while traditional hair transplant methods have been used successfully for many years, the advent of robotic hair transplantation represents a significant step forward in the field. In 2022, robotic-assisted hair extractions made up only 5.3 percent of all Follicular Unit Excisions worldwide. The increased precision, reduced discomfort, and improved cosmetic results offered by this technology make it an attractive option for those seeking to restore their hairline or improve their hair density.
Factors that Affect the Success of Robotic Hair Transplantation
Factors such as age, overall health, and lifestyle choices can also impact the procedure's success. The patient's ability to follow post-operative instructions, including the proper care of the transplanted hair and the use of prescribed medications, can also play a role in the success of the transplant. Some patients have noted how their scalps felt sore after the initial procedure. That's why doctors may give patients antibiotics to reduce their risk of infections, anti-inflammatory meds to keep swelling down, and hair growth medication like Propecia to help prevent future hair loss.
It's normal for transplanted hair to begin to fall out 2 to 3 weeks after the initial procedure. This initial hair fall will help make way for new growth, as patients can expect longer follicles within 8 to 12 months after surgery. Those who underwent this surgery may expect their new hair to be of a different texture and density than what they're used to. This depends on the hair quality, the thickness of the follicles, and the hair curl of the follicles used from one's donor area. That is why one should always communicate appropriately with their surgeon and follow their instructions to ensure the best possible outcome after the operation.
Hair transplant procedures aren't a good option for those with widespread hair loss patterns, thick scarring, or people who face hair loss from medications. Typically, at least 90% of hair transplant surgeries use and transfer between 2,000 to 3,000 follicles. That’s why the ideal candidate for this procedure should have enough hair on the side or back of their head so that enough follicles be harvested for the transfer. The use of the latest technologies and techniques can also impact the success of the transplant, so it is essential to choose a surgeon who is well-versed in the latest advancements and research in robotic hair transplantations.
Risks and Complications of Robotic Hair Transplantation
As with any surgical procedure, the method has potential risks and complications. This can include scarring, infection, and an unsuccessful growth of transplanted hair. To minimize these risks, it's essential to choose a qualified and experienced hair transplant surgeon and follow their post-operative instructions closely. It should also be noted that hair follicles should be harvested from the sides of the patient's head and can't be extracted from other areas like the neck and face. Additionally, the procedure isn't suited for people with fine or frizzy hair.
Cost of Robotic Hair Transplantation
The cost of robotic hair transplantation can vary depending on the patient's individual needs and the size of the transplant. The average price of a robotic hair transplant in the US can be between $6000 to $12000 for 2500 hair grafts. This amount is higher than traditional hair transplant methods due to the advanced technology involved. However, many insurance plans do not cover hair transplant procedures, so patients should discuss their financing options with their surgeons.
Robotic hair transplantation offers numerous benefits over traditional hair transplant methods, including increased precision, reduced discomfort, faster recovery time, and improved cosmetic results. With the latest advancements in technology, it is an excellent option for those seeking a solution for hair loss. However, it is important to choose a qualified and experienced hair transplant surgeon and to be aware of the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure.