In the last half decade, there have been many improvements in hair restoration technology. Modern day advancements have made techniques popular in the 1970s, such as hair plugs, seem completely counter-intuitive. Today we have such technology such as the ARTAS Robotic Hair Restoration System that far outshines the traditional Strip Scar FUT Method. However, To truly appreciate the technological progress of today, it’s important to understand where it started…
Originating in Japan, the concept of a hair transplant surgery was intended to restore hair for burn victims and people with scalp injuries. This type of hair loss is known as traumatic alopecia. It was not until the 1950s that this idea hit the western world in New York.
A dermatologist by the name of Dr. Norman Orentreich. He began to experiment with the idea of relocating or transplanting the hair on the back and sides of the head to the balding areas. He had shown that hair transplanted from the back of the head and side would still retain its growth ability regardless of it being transplanted to other areas. This is known as “Donor Dominance”, and became a key factor in the progression of the practice.
Throughout the 1960s through 1980s saw major improvements in hair restoration techniques. A focus on natural-looking results began to show, specifically in the frontal hairline area. It was not until 1995 that Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) had been created. This technique became the gold standard by the year 2000.
Despite the technological improvements, FUT still had its list of drawbacks, its signature negative being an unsightly linear scar left in the back of the scalp post-op. This itself caused a whole other list of negative symptoms for the patient.
To combat all the issues that were present with the FUT procedure, Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) was introduced to the medical literature in 2002. In FUE, an instrument is used to make a small, circular incision in the skin around a follicular unit, separating it from the surrounding tissue. The follicular unit is then pulled, or extracted, from the scalp, leaving a tiny hole (which heals in a few days). This process is repeated until a sufficient number of follicles are obtained. This technique has since further progressed and is still heavily used today thanks to many advances in technology to further make the process more efficient. Feel free to ask us about our FUE services if this interests you!
Fast forward to 2011, and we see the introduction of a new age in modern hair transplants. The ARTAS Robotic Hair Restoration System, the most advanced technology in hair restoration, aids the physician in the extraction of grafts and the creation of recipient sites with precision and consistency that surpasses manual techniques. Here at Maxim Medical, we take pride in adapting to the newest methods that best benefit our patients. In this article we will go over the biggest advantages the ARTAS iX Robotic Hair Restoration has over the traditional FUT method.
1. Minimally Invasive
As opposed to the traditional FUT procedure that requires removing a long, linear strip of the patient’s scalp in order to harvest follicular units, the ARTAS iX Robotic Hair Restoration System is very minimally invasive. The Strip (FUT) method is much more invasive than the FUE method used by the ARTAS system. Due to its invasive nature, the Strip (FUT) method often leaves patients with permanent scars, visible stitches and a longer recovery period. The FUT method requires a high degree of precision and a skilled surgeon, yet even then there is a risk of human error. The ARTAS system operates a Follicular-Unit Excision (FUE), which allows the ARTAS system to take hair follicles from the patient’s donor area without needing to make any incisions. This eliminates the risk of scar lines and there is no need for stitches
2. Shorter Recovery Time
Due to the minimally-invasive nature of the ARTAS system, there is a shorter recovery time that the patient has to go through. In the FUE technique, there are no stitches involved, whereas in the FUT technique, the surgeon must stitch the donor area of the scalp back together. This is what results in the linear scar on the back of the head of patients who have had a FUT procedure. In turn, the patient must have proper recovery time, compared to a procedure with ARTAS where they would be able to go back to their usual activities after a day or two.
3. Virtually Painless Procedure
As one can imagine, when comparing a procedure that is more invasive than the other, it’s safe to assume that the more invasive one would also have more pain involved. You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that in this case either. Due to the fact that the FUT procedure leaves you with a linear scar, this is supplemented with a couple other issues. These symptoms include lingering pain, tightness of the scalp, difficulty sleeping, weeks of restricted activity, potential nerve damage, tingling, and numbness just to name a few. The use of pain medicine is usually needed when it comes to this technique. Contrary to the FUT method, the ARTAS method is on the opposite spectrum (again). Patients rarely require any use of pain medicine even right after this procedure.
4. No Sign of a Hair Transplant
Not that it has to be reiterated, but a key sign of a FUT procedure is the linear scar on the back of the patient’s scalp. This can present itself as a problem if the patient chooses to wear their hair short as the scar will be easily seen. Aside from the list of uncomfortable symptoms and linear scar that characterize the procedure, it also has a higher risk of general scarring of the hair follicles. This can cause a higher risk of trauma to the hair follicles as the method of harvesting is more harsh than it is in the FUE method.
5. No Long-Term Negative Side Effects
As far as the Strip Scar FUT method, long term side effects can include a decrease in the laxity of the scalp. This could be impacted after a hair transplant procedure, due to the trauma your head is put through during the surgery. This is most common after the FUT procedure. Typically, the scalp will regain the majority of its laxity within the first six-eight months after the procedure, but it will continue to loosen after this. If the patient had a loose scalp to begin with then the scalp is more likely to return to full laxity, while a tighter scalp prior to the surgery will see a more noticeable change. Scarring would also be characterized as a long-term symptom of both methods, however more so for the FUT approach. With the stitchless FUE method, you do not have to expect apparent scars. The visibility of scars, however, will also depend on how well the wounds can heal, if the scalp is loose or tight and how densely the surgeon implants the grafts.
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