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Hair Transplant Abroad - FUE Hair Transplant

ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant

ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant
ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant

As one of the first ever hair transplant surgeons in Spain to specialize in the FUE technique, I was also probably the first to investigate the ARTAS hair transplant robot.

However after investigating the system thoroughly some time ago, I decided not to use it. The reason is very simple – while the robot offers significant advantages to novice FUE doctors who are not very good at the technique, it has very few advantages for the patient and some important disadvantages.

If you are a surgeon who finds FUE difficult, or even someone who has never done it before, it may seem very tempting to just set the robot to extract 2000 follicles for you.

Indeed we can see that nearly all the clinics who have bought the robot are doctors who had little prior experience of FUE. But what does the robot do for the patient? Below I explain the main problems with the ARTAS robot from the patient’s point of view.

First of all, the main problem with the ARTAS is the size of punch (circular scalpel) used to extract the follicles. Skilled FUE surgeons usually use a punch which measures less than 1mm in diameter. This minimizes the risk of visible scarring, which after all is one of the main reasons people choose the FUE technique. The robot is reported to use a much bigger 1.65mm punch which is almost guaranteed to leave visible scarring.

A bigger punch also means a bigger wound which also increases the possibility of complications or other undesirable effects. The use of bigger punches in any FUE surgery also increases the chance of damaging the adjacent hair follicles. This may cause the complication that can sometimes accompany FUE hair transplants, called the "halo" effect. This is a large circular area of loss from the removed grafts and surrounding hair that is damaged by the reach of a large punch.

                                                 Click to see photos larger
Visible scars caused by use of a large punch. In the second photo a strip surgery scar is also visible.

The next problem with the system is that once the follicles have been extracted they have to be re-implanted by hand as with a traditional hair transplant. A very high level of skill is required to create natural looking angles and orientations and design an artistic hairline. No-one will have mastered this skill better than a surgeon who has spent years refining their manual skills.
 
A further problem is that due the huge punch size used by the ARTAS robot the follicles are much bigger once extracted as they have more tissue surrounding them. This makes it impossible for them to be placed as close together as follicles extracted manually with a small punch. Hence it is difficult to achieve a very dense and natural look with a robotic hair transplant.
 
Replicating nature requires the natural touch of a doctor and an artist, this is something no machine can execute on behalf of a surgeon. With time the robot system will undoubtedly develop further but until then I advise patients not to be guinea pigs for the system. For the moment the best option remains a highly skilled human hand for your hair transplant.

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