Hair loss is a problem that affects well over half the male population. Most cases fall into the type known as androgenic alopecia, or male pattern baldness. There are certain medical remedies that have been shown to be effective at stopping or reversing hair loss. However, not all men respond to these medications. For them, hair transplantation is the only viable alternative. With advances in technology, many begin to wonder, “Is a robotic hair transplant in your future?”.
In the past, hair transplant surgeons have harvested a strip of hair from the back of the head and separated this into individual follicles for insertion into the bald areas. A new procedure known as follicular unit extraction has begun to gain in popularity because it does not leave a scar the way strip harvesting does.
In this procedure, the surgeon extracts single follicle units that contain from two to six hairs individually and transplants them to the bald areas. The problem with this procedure is that it is so time consuming that it generally requires several surgical sessions before it is completed. Here is where robotics might be able to help.
The FDA has just approved a robotic device that is designed to work with straight haired individuals to harvest these follicular units much more quickly than the surgeon could do so himself. In addition, the device can also implant the harvested follicles at another location automatically. It uses imaging technology to locate the follicles to be harvested and a double punch system to extract them.
The advantages of this robotic system are many. The machine is more accurate at removal of the follicular units than human hands, increasing the chance of the grafts surviving by reducing the number of follicles that are resected, damaged upon removal. The machine is much faster than a human at removing the units and transplanting them elsewhere. This means that the procedure can be completed in much less time. These benefits should lead to the cost of the procedure being lower in the future than it is now.
If you are losing your hair and medications have not had the results you desire. It is very possible that a robot hair transplant lies in your future. The good news is that the recovery time, time needed for the procedure, number of surgical sessions needed, and cost of the procedure are likely to be much less than surgeons have traditionally charged to perform this operation manually.