A hair transplant requires three main qualities to ensure a successful result and a happy patient; medical ability, understanding of the hair and scalp anatomy, and very importantly a great degree of artistic ability for design and distribution.
Using computer or robotic based technology is the latest development in Follicular Unit Extraction, or the FUE Technique.
The FUE technique has become more and more popular in recent years, and has undergone various developments, blunt and sharp punch tools; motorised hand held punches and now the ARTAS® being one of the latest forms of FUE.
One advantage of ARTAS® is that it has greatly speeded up the extraction process, by employing computer technology to direct the device in the extraction of each individual follicular unit/graft; allowing for larger sessions to be treated in a shorter time.
This new technique still utilises many traditional requirements of FUE; the donor area still needs to be examined and mapped out the Doctor, the hair in the area still needs to be shaved for the safe extraction of the grafts, and the scalp is cleaned and numbed with local anaesthesia.
From this moment the extraction process changes with ARTAS®; cameras capture images around the donor area; this is to identify hair orientation and hair density. The robotic arm then moves around the donor making the punches. This needs to be overseen by the Doctor or technician operating the robot as at any time the pattern of extraction may need to be altered, for example, compensation if the patient moves.
The pattern of extraction or harvesting pattern is also pre-set by the Doctor, and they work to balance the harvesting pattern, and not over harvested any specific area.
The grafts, using suction and vacuum are removed and held in a holding solution before the recipient sites are made and the grafts placed.
ARTAS® using high quality digital imaging, once programmed by the Doctor can map out the recipient area for the making of the recipient sites and graft placement.
Similar high resolution digital technology has been used for taking images and diagnosis from the hair and scalp for some time; the ARTAS® takes this a step further by combining with robotics to extract and make the recipient sites.
A hair transplant is still essentially performed by the Doctor or technician, the robot relies in every aspect of the procedure on being programmed; so skills and understanding of the person programming. Aspects such as design, hair line placement, general aesthetics, and the artistic execution of the procedure.
Manual extraction and placement is much slower, but at any time can take into account changes in depth of the hair, hair orientation, and nothing beats the artistic nature that a skilled human hand can bring; it´s personal.
FUE is a technically demanding procedure with many areas that can damage the grafts; a good manual transection can be around 5% when performed to a high standard. The process is slower, but allows for the checking of each graft, ensuring quality at every point of contact.
It could be likened to a bespoke handmade suit opposed to one bought off the peg, or a computer generated image of the Mona Lisa, can never have the same personal feel that the human touch can bring.