Hair Transplant Robot Gets Green Light From FDA

Although it may lack the same bedside manner as your doctor, the FDA has approved a new robotic hair transplant device that will make the entire hair transplant procedure faster and easier for both the patient and the doctor.

Follicular unit extraction (FUE) is a tedious and time-consuming process, in which the doctor has to harvest and remove follicles from hairy parts of the head and body, then punch out the tiny hair follicles needed for the transplant. The process also involves having to guess where the follicle lives-slicing the wrong location can lose the follicle forever. Because of these issues, some doctors prefer the older strip technique, which involves removing a strip of hair and separating it into smaller units for the transplant. The drawback to this method is that it can sometimes leave a scar on the back of the head and it usually requires more recovery time.

The Artas System, an image-guided robotic arm from Restoration Robotics, Inc., will help doctors by speeding up and improving the accuracy of the FUE procedure. The Artas System contains special imaging technologies for guiding follicle unit removal, small dermal punches and a computer interface. The device also corrects for slight patient movements. Right now, there is one small problem with the unit-those with blonde or curly hair won't be able to benefit from this new technology. Tests that led to FDA-approval only included those with straight black or brown hair.

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