Sara Wasserbauer, M.D., is leading a research study involving robotic hair transplant technology. One of only two sites, Dr. Wasserbauer is conducting the final phase for FDA approval of this new technology that uses an interactive image-guided robotic system to remove and implant hair grafts on a scalp.
The Restoration Robotics™ ARTAS System is an interactive, computer assisted technique utilizing image-guided robotics to enhance the quality of hair follicle harvesting. Operated under the direction of a physician, ARTAS has the potential to solve most of the technical challenges inherent in the manual follicular unit extraction (FUE) techniques.
During the two-year study, Dr. Wasserbauer has been collecting data on the effectiveness of the ARTAS technology by itself and compared to manual hair transplantation techniques. Entering the final stage of the research, Dr. Wasserbauer will be examining the rate of hair growth in patients nine months after having their ARTAS System hair transplant.
“It’s quite amazing to think how far technology has come,” said Dr. Wasserbauer. “The use of robotics is already used in many fields of medicine – especially in surgical procedures. I’ve been very excited about this particular study and am enjoying being part of the research team to determine the pros and cons of using robotics in hair restoration.”
So far, Wasserbauer has found several benefits of using the robotics technology for follicular unit extraction, including:
• Shorter healing times due to minimal wound size with each graft
• Less invasive surgery
• Hair transplant completed in five hours, compared to eight to ten manual hours
• Less labor intensive for the surgeon
The ARTAS System combines several features including an interactive, image-guided robotic arm, special imaging technologies, small dermal punches and a computer interface. After the System is positioned over the patient’s donor area of the scalp, ARTAS is capable of identifying and harvesting individual follicular units. The follicular units are stored until they are implanted into the patient’s recipient area using the latest manual techniques.
The Restoration Robotics study will end this year in August, when Dr. Wasserbauer will report her findings and plans to present the study results at the annual meeting of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery.