What you need to know about NHI, FUE, Long Haired FUE, Neograft and The ARTAS® Robotic System
History of FUE
- We have been doing FUE longer than any medical group in the world, as we invented it, starting the initial work in 1995.
- We invented the two most significant components of the Artas® Robot long before the Artas® in 1998, and received two U.S. patents on it in 2006
- The Keys to a successful FUE are:
- Accurate coring of the grafts. This is well performed by the Artas® Robot or an experienced surgeon with the manual FUE process who has lots of experience such as Drs. Rassman and Pak
- The team working with the surgeon on the grafts is as important as the FUE instruments as they must be experienced in the process of handling the graft to be sure that they are kept healthy once they have been removed from the donor area
- The FUE sites should be small matched to the hair caliber of the follicular unit
- The team must be skilled at placing the grafts quickly after the FUE grafts have been removed from the donor area. We have been doing FUE since 1995
- Rassman published the first article on FUE in 2002, and we published it in a prestigious peer reviewed medical journal and presented it at the largest medical hair transplant meeting in the world at the same time.
- Ask about the doctors results from FUE. We have performed FUE on thousands of patients with successful outcomes and would be happy to introduce you to some of them at one of our monthly Open House Events.
- Ask to see an FUE/Artas® in process while it is being done. Bring your family and friends with you to meet our patients and see why NHI’s reputation stands out as the leading FUE referral source for physicians themselves.
The Robotic Artas® System For FUE
Our Follicular Unit Extraction Surgeries (FUE) offerings include: (1) The Artas® Hair Restoration Robot, (2) the Manual FUE, and (3) the Long Hair FUE (LH-FUE), done with our own specialized instruments (we have generally limited LH-FUE to about 500 grafts at a time and (4) our offer lunch-time FUE where between 200-400 FUE grafts can be done in 3 hours over your lunch period without shaving your head).
A little bit of FUE technology history.
Before he became a doctor, Dr. Pak was an engineer who help me evolve FUE instrumentation in 1995. Shortly after that, Drs. Rassman and Pak invented the concept of a robot (1998) and we actually built a crude version of a robot at that time. We used a special optical sighting system to align the hairs exiting the scalp for an automated and efficient Follicular Unit Extraction System. At the time we came up with this technology, Dr. Rassman was using Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) with manual instruments of his own design for a few years on select patients. Drs. Rassman and Pak submitted patents for two appropriate technologies, one would address the siting system U.S. Patent # 6,572,625 critical for aligning the extraction instrument with a hair graft so as not to damage it during the coring process, and the second would facilitate stabilization of the scalp with a tension apparatus Patent #US 10/235,563 to facilitate quality graft extraction (see diagram below). Both of these inventions are now used in the Robotic Artas® System. We also submitted patents for some future steps in automation which included graft implantation techniques (US Patent #5,817,120) which had cartridge storage for holding a large number of grafts and used in a graft placement apparatus which we built and tried to commercialize without success. The following is a diagram used to secure our Robotic FUE patents.
Figure taken from U.S. Patent # 6,572,625
Figure taken from: U.S. Patent #US 10/235,563
We are problem solvers and we recognized that although we performed the FUE well, after pioneering it in the mid-1990s and writing the first scientific FUE article in 2002 (Follicular Unit Extraction: Minimally Invasive Surgery for Hair Transplantation), doctors in the hair transplant field initially failed to perform the FUE procedure with consistency, efficiency and with minimal transection damage to the grafts. Results in the hands of new doctors were generally poor despite proclamations by many doctors to the contrary. The market demand for FUE started to rise and more and more doctors wanted to offer the FUE technique, but failures plagued the field. What was needed at the time was the robotic technology we envisioned in 1998 (like the Artas®), but that would be a very expensive engineering project, so most doctors tried to master the manual techniques with a wide variety of instruments they developed. Many patients became victims of the failures which were very common. In 2006, Restoration Robotics, Inc. was formed with a mission to build a robot for hair transplantation and financed the effort with millions of dollars. They purchased our two core patents from us in 2006. Finally, in 2010 (just 8 years after we published our breakthrough article on FUE and four years after the engineering project was started), the Artas® robot was produced.
The following are important facts about us, the FUE and the Robot
- We are very efficient at doing FUE (without the robot) as we have been doing the FUE surgery longer than any medical group in the world (since the mid-1990s) with a focus on perfecting the procedure and developing instrument iterations which we pioneered along the way (16 issued patent to-date),
- We are fast in doing FUE, much faster than the robot, and faster than most doctors world-wide because we have been doing FUE for 19 years. Only a small handful of doctors can match our overall speed, quality, and efficiency with manual instruments.
- The Robot delivers unquestionable quality and consistency. As the Robot’s capabilities extends into placing grafts, the robot could become more efficient.
- It solved two problems associated with manual FUE,
- by eliminating the eye strain and the physical fatigue for the surgeon when performing the repetitive motions for FUE. Eye fatigue, a real known problem previously identified by Dr. Rassman in lectures and publications. The problem is worse for any surgeon approaching the age of 50 (e.g. Dr. Rassman); however, with good optics the problem can easily be solved. Dr. Pak is 45 years old and has none of these eye changes yet)
- repetitive hand motions with manual FUE stress the surgeon’s hand and wrist and can produce health problems like carpel-tunnel syndrome. Good ergonomics solves this problem.
Are there other hair transplant robots?
There are no other robotic system on the market other than the ARTAS robot