I’m interested in Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant surgery, and frequently hear the term “robotic FUE” while researching the procedure. I’m curious: What is “robotic Follicular Unit Extraction?”
“Robotic” Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) is a generalized term, normally used to reference one of the following: FUE performed with a motorized, robotic-assisted device; or FUE performed with an automated device. Though similar to standard motorized FUE devices, robotic-assisted and automated FUE devices differ in the fact that they are more mechanical and play a larger role in the graft extraction process (therefore minimizing the physician’s role and input). As of now, only two devices fall into this “robotic” category: The NeoGraft Hair Transplant Machine and the ARTAS Hair Restoration System.
The NeoGraft machine is truly more of a “robotic-assisted FUE” device as it still requires the operating practitioner to select the grafts for extraction and operate the extraction head. However, it does possess the capability to automatically extract the selected grafts (via motorized rotation and vacuum suction) and implant the grafts in the recipient region. The ARTAS is a true “automated” device, as it possesses the ability to map the donor region, select appropriate grafts (via a software program and apparatus attached to the patient’s donor region), and remove said grafts without any assistance from the operating physician.
It is important to keep in mind that both devices are still tools used to perform FUE hair transplant surgery. Though both are advanced tools, most believe the outcome of a hair transplant procedure still lies within the skill and attention of the physician and his team; not the tools he/she uses to achieve this end. However, in the right hands, “robotic FUE” can lead to quality results.
Blake Bloxham – formerly “Future_HT_Doc”