Self-driving cars, artificially intelligent home assistant devices and autonomous facial recognition scanners. We live in an age that idolizes technology. Yet all too often human talent and manual labor is able to outperform the latest and greatest technological device. This has been the case for hair transplantation, as our practice could not see the advantage of using them.
It’s the natural tendency of prospective hair transplant patients to want to know about the capabilities of the latest robotic technology, and whether it can improve results. At Modena Hair Institute, we announce candidly and impartially that our medical records demonstrate a long history of patients who needed repairs for damaged or low-density procedures done by clinics who have used these devices.
Follicular unit extraction, or FUE, has come to be seen as the gold standard for hair restoration due to its matchless precision, nearly invisible scarring and remarkable aesthetic accuracy.
Yet these incredible benefits are strictly dependent, more than anything else, on the skill of the operating surgeon. The extensive knowledge and technical skill required to perform a first-rate follicular unit extraction is tremendous. No machine or artificial program (yet developed) can mimic the artistic awareness and flawless design of the hand of an expert hair restoration specialist.
Even as many come to understand that high tech machines and surgical devices are simply neutral tools which provide no guarantee of even half-way decent results, many hair clinics continue to market FUE machines like the NeoGraft and Artas as immediate routes to excellence and success. Yet usually the opposite is true, based on our experience. Any hair restoration practice that markets a machine more than a surgeon is cause for suspicion and concern, as only a highly competent and skilled surgeon can use a robotic instrument successfully – and even then there are no guarantees or special advantages to using a machine.
Surgical Devices and Risky Outcomes
On average, based on the repair clients we have received and deep knowledge of the technical advancements in hair restoration over the last decade, hair follicle/transection damage can be higher when using robotic devices as opposed to manual extraction by an experienced surgeon. Other comparable disadvantages include:
- Smaller incisions when done manually, due to small diameter punches
- Smaller scars when done manually
- Larger incisions and deeper punches when done robotically, which can mean larger scars
- The vacuum suction of certain robotic machines can damage the follicle and dry out the graft
- Larger grafts require larger recipient site incisions which can mean lower density and unnatural appearance
Surgical Devices and Unskilled Technicians
We’ve discussed the disadvantages associated with the method and application of robotic devices, but there exists another great area of concern: such devices are operated – many of the time – by poorly trained and outsourced technicians who are often performing the surgery without a doctor present.
Why would manufacturers of state-of-the-art robotic devices market their product to doctors and clinics with little to no hair restoration experience? The answer: to gain a bigger return on their investment.
It has been reported that since the NeoGraft company markets primarily to physicians with no prior hair restoration experience that the physicians can hire teams of hair transplant technicians who often perform the entire procedure for the physician. The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) has issued a consumer alert regarding this practice.
Many hair transplant surgeons simply found no need or advantage in purchasing such surgical devices, and so these companies began to advertise and sell to doctors with little to no hair restoration experience.
The Bottom Line
Our message to you, the prospective hair transplant patient, is to concern yourself first and foremost with the skill, experience and results of the doctor. Only after you have thoroughly examined the talent, ability and results of the doctor should you go on to inquire about the machine and technology he or she uses.
At Modena Hair Institute, Dr. Amir Yazdan limits himself to one surgery per day so as to have total oversight and command of the hair transplant. He is committed to manual extractions using the smallest possible punch, which allows for maximum versatility, adjustment and natural-looking design.
Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.