Artas Robotic Hair Transplant, as an aesthetic procedure, is creating quite a buzz. Salon India speaks with Dr Gaurang Krishna, Specialist Hair Transplant Surgeon & Consultant Dermatologist, Director, MedLinks, to understand the process and technology used
About: Hair Transplant is a surgical way to treat baldness, and involves taking out roots from the back of the scalp or the beard or body, and planting them over the bald areas. These roots sprout natural hair that grow. Artas is a semi-robotic way to execute some of the steps of hair transplant. It is a clinically proven and FDA cleared procedure that gives permanent and natural-looking results without leaving any scars.
Process and technology: Artas is an automated way to extract hair roots. It has a robotic arm, which punches circular incisions around the hair follicles, which are then picked up. It works on the basis of optics. The computer measures the angle of the hair growth and adjusts its arm accordingly and punches incisions at regular fixed intervals. The device basically uses a computer algorithm to determine the hair growth pattern, and then uses mechanics to punch holes around the hair. This releases the root from the skin. The doctor or nurse then simply picks up these roots to be used over the bald areas. The patient is seated head down on a head rest. Once the required number of follicles are harvested, the patient is made to lie down on the back and the follicles are inserted in the bald areas. This step is manual.
USP: It is primarily used to treat patterned baldness, medically known as Androgenic Alopecia. It is the common baldness that men suffer from. It affects the crown, front and vertex areas, of the scalp. The hairline recedes and the hair become progressively thinner, eventually leading to baldness. This type of hair loss is the ideal indication for hair transplant. Sometimes it is also used to cover hair loss patches due to accidents, burns, to name a few.
Teamed with other procedures: It can be combined with medical treatment for hair loss like Finasteride, Minoxidil, Biotin and PRP to get a better outcome. Hair transplant gives us new hair, but it does not help in preventing the loss of existing hair. Medical treatment is useful there, as otherwise the patient will be left with only transplanted hair and may need another hair transplant.
Time take for the procedures: Five to seven hours.
Sessions required: Usually one is enough to see the result. However, if the bald area is large and more than 7,500 hair follicles are needed, then two sessions are done.
Side effects: It is a minimally invasive procedure, so, side effects are few. Minor swelling and pain are expected in the first week. However, one can continue with normal activities after a few days of the procedure.
Pre-treatment measures: There are no specific measures to be kept in mind before the procedure.
Post-treatment measures: Antibiotics, anti-swelling and pain reliever medicines are prescribed for a week to deal with the minor side effects.
Challenges: Hair Transplant is a common procedure. Artas, per se, is relatively new and we do not recommend it prima facie. As of now, the equipment is not very precise. The punch size is relatively bigger and the transaction rate appears higher than a skilled hand. Human hair changes angles frequently and thus, skilled hands are more equipped in tackling such situations. Also, the harvested follicles should be immediately inserted back in the bald skin for proper survival, but it is not possible with the Artas Robotic System. Cost is a limiting factor, as the consumables are high. So as of now, in my opinion it is not justified.
Client education: We share all the details of the procedure with the client and show them videos of the surgery being performed, before after photographs and also talk about the pros and cons. This is important in order to prepare the client. We rely heavily on visual material for information, as it gives a clearer picture to the clients and helps them decide if this is the right procedure for them or not.
Future: Artas is relatively new, as compared to other hair transplant procedures. Its cost is a limiting factor, and as the machine does not provide any extra benefit to justify the inflated cost, its use is limited. The technology needs to evolve as in our opinion. It may hold relevance when experienced hands are not available to perform the surgery. However, with more refinement of technology, the Artas may find use in India. It definitely has some promise as it reduces human fatigue and a doctor may do more than one surgery simultaneously. So, if it helps in reducing the cost to the patient, ease to the doctor and better results, then surely it will find more takers in India.