ARTAS® Robot, Manual FUE, and Long Haired FUE

What you need to know about FUE, Long Haired FUE, and The ARTAS® Robotic System

Artas robot close up

 

History of FUE

  • We have been doing FUE longer than any other 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® was invented in 1998, and received two U.S. patents on it in 2006.

The Keys to a successful FUE are:

    1. 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.
    2. The team working with the surgeon on the grafts is as important as the FUE instruments since 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.
    3. The FUE sites should be small, matched to the hair caliber of the follicular unit.
    4. 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.
    5. Dr. Rassman published the first article on FUE in 2002 in a prestigious, peer-reviewed medical journal, and presented it at the largest medical hair transplant meeting in the world at that time.

    Ask about the doctors’ results from FUE. We have performed FUE on thousands of patients with successful outcomes, and we would be happy to introduce you to some of these patients at one of our monthly Open House Events.

    The Robotic Artas® System For FUE

    Our Follicular Unit Extraction Surgeries (FUE) offerings include: (1) the Manual FUE, and (2) 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 (3) our special offer lunch-time FUE, where between 200-400 FUE grafts can be done in 3 hours over your lunch period without shaving your head. We no longer use the Artas® system because we feel it is more efficient to perform a manual FUE, thereby saving time and possibly increasing the number of successfully transferred follicular units. The shorter time a follicular unit spends outside of the scalp, the better.

    A Little Bit of Fue Technology History

    Before he became a doctor, Dr. Pak was an engineer who helped Dr. Rassman evolve FUE instrumentation in 1995. Shortly after that, Drs. Rassman and Pak invented the concept of an FUE robot (1998). They built a crude version of a robot at that time, which 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 they 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. They also submitted patents for some future steps in automation, which included graft implantation techniques (US Patent #5,817,120). This had cartridge storage for holding a large number of grafts and is used in a graft placement apparatus, which they built and tried to commercialize (unfortunately without success).  The following is a diagram used to secure our Robotic FUE patents.

    robot-artas-patient-300x209

    Figure taken from U.S. Patent # 6,572,625

    tension-300x180

    Figure taken from: U.S. Patent #US 10/235,563

    They are problem solvers, and they recognized that, although they had performed the FUE well after pioneering it in the mid-1990s and writing the first scientific FUE article in 2002, 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 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 Drs. Rassman and Pak 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 two core patents from Drs. Rassman and Pak in 2006. Finally, in 2010 (just 8 years after Rassman and Pak published their 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 patents to date).
    • We are fast in doing FUE, much faster than the robot, and faster than most doctors worldwide, because we have been doing FUE for over 20 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 extend into placing grafts, the robot could become more efficient.

    Are there other hair transplant robots?

    There are no other robotic systems on the market other than the ARTAS robot.