The success of human surgeries significantly depends on the expertise of the performing surgeon. But what happens when a surgeon’s human weaknesses threaten to impact a surgery? What could go wrong if surgeons grew older, became less efficient, or started to pay less attention to their procedures?
This is the point where robotics got introduced in theaters. They were built to help curtail the negative impacts of a surgeon’s natural weaknesses on surgeries. Nevertheless, surgeons initially assumed medical robots had been introduced to take them off the stage. But that wasn’t the case because they soon realised that robots had come to complement their skills, and also make up for their shortcomings.
One of such robots is the Da Vinci surgical apparatus developed by Restoration Robotics for a host of surgical procedures. It features thin, flexible arms that help surgeons perform efficient and accurate surgeries. However, this apparatus only works when it is operated and controlled by a knowledgeable surgeon, thereby ensuring that a surgeon is not replaced during a surgical procedure.
Restoration Robotics also developed ARTAS, the first human-operated hair transplant robot. Its name symbolises art and science, as the combination is needed for successful hair restoration. But this robot requires a greater degree of human supervision than the Da Vinci system. This is because hair transplant, unlike other surgical procedures, requires creative observation, in addition to surgical precision.
So far, the team has been upgrading the efficiency and speed of the ARTAS robot to make it better suited for successful hair graft extraction. This upgrade began from the earliest models, generation 3X up to 9X, and now the latest model, ARTAS iX.
In addition to precise, and replicable hair graft harvesting, this model also performs accurate implantation. It features a 44-micron state-of-the-art stereoscopic vision via a multi-camera system that analyzes each hair follicle for appropriate implantation. The apparatus can accurately assess a donor site for graft extraction, and also observe the most suitable recipient site for the implantation.
Transection Rate Still Too High for a Robot-assisted Procedure
The efficiency of ARTAS remains debatable because it still accommodates a transection rate that is pretty high for a robot-assisted procedure. This rate (around 30%) has been found to reduce only when the system is operated by an experienced surgeon.
Poor Graft Handling
ARTAS claims to significantly eliminate manual input during hair transplant. However, grafts still need to be manually pulled from the donor site using forceps and then transferred to the machine’s cartridge for implantation. This manual inclusion can jeopardise the graft, and reduce its survival rate. This is why it’s so important to have an experienced surgeon overlooking the procedure to ensure the best results.
ARTAS may be able to eliminate the effects of human deficiencies on hair transplant procedures, but it is quite an expensive apparatus. Going for about $450,000 this can often lead to the overall transplant being more expensive than surgeons who may not use this equipment.
A Surgeon’s Skill
Despite its speed and sophisticated features, this robot remains useless without the input of an experienced hair transplant surgeon. It cannot make independent decisions on punch size, treatment procedure, hairline pattern and accurate implant dimensions. Consequently, without a surgeon’s effort, it may not be able to produce the kind of results patients require from hair transplant procedures.
It’s always important to remember that a clinic can have all the best equipment available but the standard of care and results really comes down to the staff who are there and who are operating the equipment. This is why it’s so important that when you are considering getting a hair transplant don’t just buy into the clinic but buy into the surgeon too.
Ensure you feel confident that they will be able to deliver the best results possible for you. This is why it’s always good to meet your surgeon face to face before you agree to a treatment. This allows you to get a feel for their experience and the type of equipment that they might use.
When getting a hair transplant go with what you feel comfortable with. If it doesn’t feel right or you’re unsure about something then don’t go through with it. Always make sure you are 100% confident and comfortable with your surgeon and clinic of choice.
If you’re interested in learning more about what a hair transplant entails, please feel free to get in touch today and book in for a consultation.