Can you tell me about the Neograft technology. Is it better that what is out there?
Automation of the hair transplant process has been a goal of doctors from the earliest part of their career because of the tedious manual processes used today. In particular, with the large sessions, fatigue becomes a problem and the skill sets required of the staff take years to acquire proficiency.
I have been a pioneer of many of these devices, receiving patents on some of them. Included was the Carousel, and a series of follicular unit extraction (FUE) techniques devised for faster extraction. The NeoGraft machine is just one of the newer devices, but unfortunately it has its problems.
NeoGraft uses a vacuum system to assist in the removal of grafts that are first partially dissected with a sharp punch. The grafts that are “sucked” out of the scalp are collected in a chamber. The grafts are then removed from the chamber and drawn up, again by suction, into a needle and then injected into pre-made recipient sites using air pressure. The NeoGraft seems to eliminate some of the risks of mechanical injury to grafts in traditional FUE by not requiring forceps to remove grafts from the donor site or insert the grafts into the recipient area and, in theory, may save time by eliminating the need to extract grafts manually. A concern expressed by those who have seen the system in action is that the suction removal has a tendency to strip the surrounding tissue from the lower portion of the grafts or pull out just the upper part of the graft. Because the grafts are exposed to a great deal of air movement, the continuous flow of the vacuum adds to the risk of graft drying, a problem well known to be a major cause of poor graft survival. To our knowledge no independent studies have been performed to show that grafts are not harmed by this vacuum technique and it is our concern that the drying action of the air on the exposed grafts may limit their growth. As many of the grafts are stripped from their fat, the risks to the grafts are theoretically significant.
Restoration Robotics (RR) has a better way to do this with a robot, but it is not yet on the market and it will most probably be very expensive. RR have been successful at doing FUE, although slowly, but they have yet to demonstrate an ability to place grafts mechanically.
There is no substitute to learning and mastering the manual skills that are used in the best hair transplant clinics around the world. So without a good automation instrument, many of the doctors who use an unproven method for hair transplantation just makes the risks to the hair transplant procedure greater and the work by the doctors who use them possibly second class. Would you buy grafts from a second class surgical team and pay the consequences of poor growth?