AUTOMATIC TRANSPLANTATION: WHAT IS THE ROBOT’S PLACE IN HAIR TRANSPLANTATION?
Robots have been invading our daily lives for several decades. They are invited to many fields of activity, especially medicine. Therefore, hair transplantation is not an exception to the trend. Certain transactions are carried out automatically. So, what does this new clinical protocol involving the use of robots in hair transplantation consist of? What are the advantages and disadvantages of an automatic transplant? Can the machine one day replace human beings?
Automatic transplantation: how?
Automatic hair transplant, as the name suggests, requires a robot that removes and implants hair follicles. Several types of machines are used by surgeons today, each with its own function:
- Safer® and NeoGraft® (French) Allows hair follicles to be removed using an automatic punch. This small drill with rotating head is also equipped with a vacuum cleaner. Its operation is completely pre-programmed, which makes it possible to change the rotation speed and suction power. The machine removes the donor hair and takes it into a storage room while waiting for replanting.
- Artas® (American) , it is another robot equipped with a camera that makes it possible to analyze and map different hairs from the scalp. The system analyzes the direction, angle, depth and density of the hair.
What are the advantages of automatic transplant?
In theory, automatic hair transplantation reduces the time and costs of the operation. Contrary to popular belief, automated transplantation does not replace the surgeon’s irreplaceable expertise.
What are the limits of this process?
However, automated transplantation has some limitations:
- The removal process of the Artas robot tends to leave more rounded marks in the donor area while promoting trans-sections. Indeed, the penetration angle of the rotating hand of the machine takes into account the axis of the hair coming out of the scalp. However, the axis of the subcutaneous follicle is not always the same. In addition, the extraction punches of the Artas® robot usually have a larger diameter than when the graft is made manually.
- When incisions are made with a machine, it is not ideal for controlling the direction of hair growth and the angle to the scalp. An automatic transplant usually implants the hair at an angle between 80 and 90 °. However, naturally, the angle according to different parts of the scalp is between 10 and 45 °.
- Artas® software also encounters certain limitations as it only scans the outer part of the scalp. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the true orientation of the follicles under the skin.
- Finally, the robot has a much more difficult time removing hair follicles from around the skull. Generally, Artas robotic technique is usually completed by human hand.
While machines can sometimes perfectly complement a practitioner’s expertise, they are no substitute for manual dexterity and a surgeon’s experience. Hair transplantation is an intervention that requires care and attention. Besides its purely medical aspects, it is based above all on a certain aesthetic and artistic meaning that arises from an irreplaceable human analysis.
Also remember that the psychological aspect has a very important effect during an intervention. The patient often feels the need to talk to the practitioner. The human aspect is therefore important. However, here again, contact and change are elements that cannot be delegated to a machine. Unfortunately, the robot may appear by some clinics with little experience with hair transplantation as a marketing promotion tool suggesting that the results will be better. However, it is not so. A good transplant by an experienced healthcare team is better than a bad transplant by a robot