Whats New in Hair Transplantation?

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Whats new in hair transplantion?
Automation…
 
Hair transplantation is taking ones own hair, from one area of the body and placing it, in another part of the body. It started by harvesting and placing plugs of hair, which gave a dolls hair look. Later, strips of skin and hair were removed, which left a large scar from the donor area (usually the back of the scalp) and the hairs were dissected away from the skin in groups of one, two, three and four hairs. This would give a more natural appearance than the plugs, however the donor site scar would not allow patients from wearing their hair short, since it was rather unsightly. Hence came the follicular unit extraction, where a small punch was used to take the healthiest hairs in a random pattern from a diffuse area and transplant the 1, 2, 3, or 4 hair grafts to the bald area. The bald area might be the front of the scalp and hairline, eyebrows, beard, scar. In this quest to find the ideal harvesting tool, a few candidates come to the front:
 
1.     Manual punching of grafts: Here, the physician takes a small round punch blade and cores out the hairs from the donor area to the depth of 5 mm. The cored hair graft is then plucked gently. This is a tedious process and for over 600 hair grafts, the back of the scalp needs to be trimmed down very close.
2.     Mechanical punching of grafts: This is a faster procedure in which the punch blade is motorized and makes the coring of the grafts faster. The final FUE are similar to other techniques, however this is very operator dependent. Check your surgeon out and ask questions.
3.     Robotic hair transplantation: The title is misleading. A devise by the name of Artas® uses a robotic system to identify hairs and punch them with the punch blade. However, a human hand must then pluck the hairs and trim them and place them into the bald area. I feel this technology is not yet ready and almost makes the process more cumbersome. I feel the human eye can detect hairs better than the robot. I personally had the robot procedure and found it took hairs too close to each other, leaving me with more peripheral trauma and scabbing.
4.     Automated hair transplantation: With the NeoGraft™ Automated FUE Hair Transplant device, the FUE method has been automated.  First, the NeoGraft™ device uses a motorized punch that gently rotates around each individual graft (slowly rotates approximately 2 times) in a perfectly cylindrical shapes. Second, the NeoGraft™ device uses a controlled pneumatic pressure (suction) to slide out the follicles smoothly and uniformly, so there is no pulling and twisting as with forceps which puts the follicle at risk for damage. The benefits of the automated FUE method to the patient are the same as manual FUE; minimal discomfort, no scalpel incision, no sutures, no linear scar, little to no risk of complications, quick recovery time, fewer activity limitations and a more natural looking result than traditional strip methods. Then, a pneumatic head allows the grafts to be picked up and implanted in pre-formed slits. 
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Chicago Dermatologic Surgeon