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Robotic hair transplant system between truth and commercial promotion!

Hair transplant dates back to the 1950s where the first hair transplant was in 1952 and since then, there were continuous developments in hair transplant methods and techniques. However, recently we heard about “Robotic hair transplant” and many companies have used this title as commercial tool to attract people who are looking for a solution to baldness, so we will give you some information about this technology away from commercial marketing goals.

How does Robotic hair transplant system works?

 It applies small rectangular screen to the back of the scalp after the patient sit in the robotic chair. Before starting the hair transplant, the donor area will be scanned by robot and take 3D photos for this region to determine which duty picking them follicles should be extracted. Automatically, the robotic arm positions itself above donor area. The robot identifies follicular units and begins the extraction.

Most robotic hair transplant systems just extract hair follicles from the donor area, and the medical staff completes the rest steps of hair transplant. The main role of robot is to overcome on the lack of experience in follicles extraction step to keep them alive and protect the donor area from scars. In another words, to balance between safety of follicles and working speed and maintain the donor area, while these things do not represent a problem for trained medical staffs and well qualified experts as in Turkey. 

1. Determine the frontal hair line: frontal hair line is determined in robotic hair transplant system through an interactive program that determines the number of harvested grafts and the frontal hair line and its shape, so it will be an alternative to the human hand which is the basis for cosmetic procedures. As we know, beauty needs a human touch to obtain natural results, while in robotic hair transplant, this beauty is made by machine so it will not be normal as the natural one. drawing the frontal hair line needs to know where are the facial muscles and needs a communication between the doctor and patient involves touching the frontal area and define muscles’ place to have a natural and more aesthetic  Result .

2. Follicles extraction: this step considered as the main phase of hair transplant steps because it requires very good experience to determine the angle and depth of picking to extract alive hair follicles and to prevent their degradation to ensure that they will give new hair after transplantation. In this technique, expert human hand has been replaced with robotic arm to extract hair follicles, and as we mentioned, robot is a dumb machine and can’t perform this operation alone, but under the supervision of an experienced person because:

  • Robot can't know the punches’ sizes should be used in each case ( which is determined according to patient’s follicles (  because some follicles are thick and other fine and each type requires a special punch to extract and robotic hair transplant system needs an expert to tell it the right instructions .
  • Robot can’t decide donor area extent where the follicles should be taken to prevent over-harvesting. In fact, it doesn't have the skill to go to all parts of the donor area to extract hair follicles even with latest updates.

3. Opening channels: as we mentioned above, robot’s role ends after extracting the follicles, so the medical stuff should complete the other steps of hair transplant. Opening channels stage is very important because the angel and depth of the opened channels play essential role in hair transplant succession. Mistakes that are done during channels opening very harmful, for example, unqualified medical stuff may cause in infections in scalp and maybe develop to necrosis which ends in follicles death and real bad appearance! So choosing the right clinic to do hair transplant operation is very important, and this clinic should have a very qualified stuff, not only last updated machine!As we know, hair transplant operation is cosmetic operation like Rhinoplasty, so if the solution with robots, we would have seen robots doing rhinoplasty for example, but there is nothing like that! Human sense is the basic in plastic surgery to give people natural looking.

4. Follicles implantation: this step is the easiest stage of hair transplant and includes grafts implantation of extracted follicles in the opened channels in the recipient area.

  • Depending on all these information , we can say that robot task is just to extract grafts from the donor area , so it will replace the medical team in this step – because of Lack of experience and to shorten the time needed to complete hair transplant and to keep grafts alive – but the medical team will complete the remaining steps . as we talked , in case of clinics with highly qualified stuff like in turkey ,there is no need for this technique , and human sense will give an Aesthetic & normal appearance , which robot can’t give it   .
  • Robotic hair transplant system is a promising new technology and can give good results, but- like the other things – has advantages and disadvantages.

There are some advantages of Robotic hair transplant:

  • The degree of precision in harvesting and implanting hair is higher
  • As with other classic methods, it doesn’t require stitching
  • Being a procedure that doesn't leave scars and doesn't require stitching, recovery time is short

What are the disadvantages of robotic hair transplant system? 

  1. Robot is a dumb machine and can’t work without high qualified doctor, and it can’t give an aesthetic results like the human sense which is the basic in plastic surgery, but if there is no human experience robot will be good solution. As a simple example, there are many printers that can produce amazing paintings but manual graphics are more beautiful and preferable for all the people (such as Mona Lisa).
  2. Robotic hair transplant system is not suitable for all patients:  a study in dermatology at Cornell Weill Medical Center, New York posted on NCBI National Center for biotechnology information said, the robotic hair transplant system is not suitable for the patients who have blond or Red or gray hair because it will be difficult to determine and extract the grafts and may be Dye hair to solve this problem. However, robotic hair transplant is more appropriate for patients with dark hair (black and Brown). Also, this method is not suitable for patients with curly hair and therefore this method is not suitable for all patients.
  3. Robot cannot determine and draw the frontal hair line accurately, there must be an experienced doctor who should examine the muscle layers place for the patient which varies depending on the age. After that determine shape and place of this line to keep muscle layers healthy and achieve Aesthetic patient's desire.
  4. Robot can't know the punches’ sizes should be used in each case ( which is determined according to patient’s follicles (  because some follicles are thick and other fine and each type requires a special punch to extract   and robotic hair transplant system needs an expert to tell it  the right  instructions.
  5. Robot can’t decide donor area extent where the follicles should be taken to prevent over-harvesting. In fact, it doesn't have the skill to go to all parts of the donor area to extract hair follicles even with latest updates.

In other words, Robotic hair transplant can be realise if:

  • Is assisted of a specialist in hair transplant during the procedure
  • You have 7 –8 hours for this procedure
  • Not everyone can benefits through this method:
    - men with blonde, grey or ginger hair 
    - men with curly hair, with afro hair
  • You have to color your hair to help the machine to find the grafts
  • You have this money, the cost of a hair implant through this procedure is starting somewhere from £ 5,000 (about 6,000 €) in UK.

Conclusion: 

Clinicana’s doctors declared that it is important to know that doctor who will determine hair transplant results, not tools he will use. Even the most sophisticated tools can lead to bad results with unqualified physicians. Robotic hair transplant system is a promising new technique for hair transplant which can give good results, but the secret behind these results is not the robot itself but the medical staff, we have to remember people who invent these tools, so whatever the performance of this tool was good, it cannot match the performance of its inventor! Don't choose a doctor depending on the tools he uses, but choose your doctor depending on patient’s results.