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Originally published September 30 2011

Is that a robot on your head? Robotic surgeon does hair transplants

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) Robotics is used in surgical procedures, now even for cosmetic dermatology. Concerned about balding? Hair transplant procedures have been revolutionized to take less time, less medical staff, less cost, and without stitching or sutures. Now all you need to do is trust a robot for your hair transplant procedure. Oh the price of vanity!

The device

The Artas System robotic device for hair transplanting was introduced in 2009. The FDA approved this system in April of 2011. This device is meant to replace the old method of removing a strip of scalp to harvest follicles for implanting, which requires more medical attention with sutures and bandaging.

A doctor interacts with the device, which uses imaging technology that can be programmed to guide the robot arm during its automatic procedure of harvesting the follicles.

The surgical robot arm sits on top of a console containing the hardware and software that controls it. An attached chair holds the patient's head still, and the chair is automatically moved according to the robot's needs.

Not to worry. The attending physician controls the programming for the robot arm's surgical performance.

The procedure

After the area for follicle harvesting is determined, that hair is cut to only one millimeter length. Talk about a "buzz cut." Maybe the military will use Artas in boot camps instead of barbers.

TV cameras enable depth perception of one's scalp. The physician works with the robot to determine which of around 2000 follicles will be extracted.

Then Artas takes over with punching tiny holes, "small dermal punches," to extract those follicles. This is done at at a rate of around 1000 punches per hour. If the managing physician and/or robot don't mess up, no sutures or bandages are needed. The follicles are preserved for planting manually at a later date.

This is done in half the time of normal follicle harvesting procedures, which involve over twice as many medical attendants as two humans. No fuss, no muss (hopefully) and less expense. But the time for those transplanted follicles to sprout hair is not any less. That takes a few months.

The long term future of hair transplanting is uncertain. Observing current trends in our younger generation, hair vanity issues may not be so strong in the future. Buzz cuts and shaved heads are common today. Maybe Artas can be adapted for tattooing, or tattoo removal.

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