October 19, 2013

Guest Post | How to Replace Your Roots and Get a Full Head of Hair Again

Andrew King is a hair expert. He loves to help people get the hair they love by writing on hair and fashion blogs.
(image: Pinterest)

The traditional strip hair transplant method (technically called follicular unit grafting) that’s been in use for more than 10 years now, is an effective treatment option for male pattern baldness.

When you make an appointment for a strip hair transplant treatment, the surgeon administers a local anesthetic and performs a procedure to remove a 6-inch strip of hair-bearing skin from the back of your head. Once the donor portion of the skin is sewn up, the doctor sections up the harvested hair-bearing skin into more than 1000 little pieces, makes little incisions all over bald parts of the head and then grafts the pieces into them one by one. The entire procedure can take 10 hours or more. Many doctors liken the process to what a gardener does when he cuts out a piece of turf and lays it down elsewhere.

Problems exist with the strip method

The strip hair transplant method is problematic in a few ways. To begin, you need to accept the scarring on the back of your head where the strip of skin is harvested. Since the strip method only plants hair sections at 1000 or so points over the scalp, the results can look slightly unnatural, too.

A different method offers great improvement

A recent advance in hair transplant technology uses a slightly different method. Instead of transplanting sections of skin with hair on it, this method involves the transplant of individual hair roots or follicles. The follicular unit extraction method, as this is known, started out as a manual procedure. A doctor skilled in follicular transplant would extract hair follicles one by one from the back of a patient’s head and implant them in follicle sockets all over the balding parts.

Enter – robotic hair transplant

Robotic hair transplant is performed by a computerized device that is equipped with three-dimensional cameras and imaging software. The robot used is a modified version of the device that computer factories use to precisely place integrated circuits on circuit boards at high speed. In place of a microchip handling arm, hair transplant robots have fine hollow needles equipped with high-powered vacuum suction.

The robot uses its imaging systems to locate healthy hair follicles at the back of the head, sinks a needle precisely into a follicle socket, extracts the hair follicle using vacuum suction and then replants it in a receiving hair socket on a bald part of the patient’s head. Using technologies borrowed from surgical robots that perform procedures on beating hearts, the robotic hair transplant system is able to compensate for any movement that a patient might make during a procedure.

The robot comes of age

Early models of robotic follicular unit extraction devices often didn’t achieve results that were as aesthetically pleasing overall as manual procedures performed by skilled doctors. Investment in hair transplant robot design rose considerably after the FDA’s approval of this transplant method, though. Recent models are able to produce results that are indistinguishable from what experienced doctors achieve.

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