Over the past almost 20 years of performing thousands of hair transplants, I have come to appreciate the challenges of achieving natural appearing results, for which there is no “technologic” substitute to the artistic ability and proper planting steps of the surgeon and his team.
Several automated hair transplant deviceshave been introduced in the past few years by different manufacturers, in partdesigned to make it easier for inexperienced doctors to start performing hair transplants, and in other cases to help doctors who lack trained assistants critical for graft dissection and/or planting to overcome the hurdleofassembling such a team. What these proprietary deviceshave in common is that they perform the removal of hair grafts through the same technique – follicular unit extraction (FUE) – which removes the grafts one by one using tiny punches. This makes FUEan excellentalternative to the follicular grafting (FUG) technique, which obtains the grafts from a single donor site strip.
The FUE technique, which I have been regularly performing since 2009, has rapidly grown in popularity due to itsprimary advantage that it avoids altogether a linear donor site incision scar. Not only does this sound less invasive to patients, it also permits most patients to cut their hair very short or even shave their heads completely without a visible linear donor site scar. This aspect of FUE is of tremendous appeal to many prospective patients and contributes to the increased demand for the procedure – a demand that these proprietary devices are designed to meet.
One of these devices fully automates the graft extraction process, relying on sophisticated computer technology to remove each graft without the surgeon touching the patient. Another is more reliant on the surgeon, facilitating the removal of each graft,but in many cases where the doctor is inexperienced in hair transplantation, manufacturer-approved technicians can be sent to the clinic to do the graft extractions and oversee the making of the recipient sites.
It is important to distinguish excitement from reality with these devices. One of their benefits is that theyhave the potential for making the graft removal process more efficient, providing suitable grafts that have a good chance of regrowth.Another benefit is that they avoid alinear donor site incision.That being said, these devices cannot assure an aesthetic result. Like any other plastic surgery procedure, hair transplantation requires the artistic judgment and execution of the surgeon to createeach recipient site so that the transplanted hairs can grow in a natural direction, pattern, and distribution. The surgeon’s plan can thenonly be carried out by a team of experienced assisting technicians who are able to properly plant single hair grafts along the hairline and perform the other steps expected of them to make sure the patient’s desired results are achieved.
I like these devices, and in fact I even use a device to assist in the extraction process. However, I personally perform each aesthetic step of the hair transplant process, knowing that there is no replacement for a surgeon’s commitment to excellence and aesthetic expertise.
Contact Dr. Jeffrey Epstein via email or call 305-666-1774 or 212-759-3484 to learn more.