Patients have asked me this question lately. Answer: NO!
No. The answer is a clear “no”. Robotic Hair Transplant is SIMPLY a mechanical way to perform FUE, or follicular unit extraction. One can perform FUE manually or power-assisted. Neograft has emerged as a great tool allowing 2k-3k FUE extractions to be done in a one 4-hour session, for instance. That’s faster then any manual FUE device, power-assisted on not, and the grafts yielded are picture-perfect, with a very low rate of transection. In our hands, the transection rate is <1%, and the take is very high, close to 99%.
Robotic Hair transplant is probably the last resort in marketing. How to impress people and attract new clients to our office? So, lets use the “Robotic” marketing. Maybe so, or not. Certainly never with us.
The truth is that there are no long-term decent studies to prove the efficacy of Robotic-assisted hair transplantation anywhere in the world, and the rate of transection is reportedly as high as 10%, or higher.
Unbiased studies are needed. I repeat: unbiased studies; case-controlled, prospective, randomized, double-blinded trials are needed to prove anything in Medicine. Unless, one wants to power-muscle advertise it, and create a demand or brand. It’s not fair to tell patients that this is a better technology! Prove it!
Now, to purchase those robots, take a look at the cash for it: it sells for about $200K, plus yearly maintenance fees, plus repairs, plus any disposables employed in the hair transplantation procedure, etc.
And then one has to create a demand for it, AKA advertise heavily!
So hopefully other Drs. will buy the device as they fear of losing “marketing market share”; next, every Dr. that purchased the robot is advertising it. That is good branding for the companies that sell any medical device, is it not?
I’m not saying this is an empty promise, but Robotic hair transplant is NO better then regular or power-assisted FUE, and not even comparable in view of the current literature. Maybe it’s worse, maybe it’s better – how about if you be the judge?
Again, medical literature must be written by unbiased, non-sponsored research facilities or Drs.
Some device makers sponsor certain reputable Drs. to conduct some studies, which may give bias to the research, or not, for those unaware of this kind of practice.
That’s why studies conducted by individuals that neither own a robot, nor have any interest in its marketing, are needed. This is a simple concept, and widely used in the Medical field in the USA and worldwide.
To illustrate it further, the same applies to other areas. For instance, the use of Stem Cells in Hair Transplantation: it sounds fancy and sophisticated, but it is also a technology that is in its beginning, and thorough studies are needed, as above: no more, no less.
I hope this helped clarify some questions or concerns about the above.
For more information, please come visit us at Providence Hair Restoration.
Luciano Sztulman, MD, FACS