New technology in hair transplant

If you're looking to restore your hair, now there's another new technology out there to add to your current choices. But whether it's going to be the option suitable for you or not, it's best to first identify the cause of your hair loss, discuss with your doctor the results you're expecting and weigh your options.

What were the previously available hair restoration options? In many cases, hair growth resumes without the need for any treatment. If that's not happening to you, quite a few treatment options can help promote hair growth. You can begin with protein-based vitamins and serums. Hair loss serums are high in concentrations of botanical extracts, natural antioxidants, natural vitamins and enzymes, which help improve the appearance of the hair and stimulate hair growth making it thicker and fuller.

If that does not work then topical medication like minoxidil lotion may help to slow down the hair fall rate, or a more effective hair restoration technique called Meso-therapy. This procedure involves injecting growth factors and poly-vitamins directly under the scalp. It only takes about 30 minutes per sitting but you may require getting it done once a week for about six to seven times, followed by maintenance treatments but the results are quite prominent.

There's also the option of cell therapy in which we remove about 20ml of blood, then put it into a centrifuge and spin for a few minutes. The stem cells go to the bottom of the test tube and are collected. Then an activation solution made up of natural proteins is added to turn on the stem cells. This solution is then rinsed off so that only the stem cells remain to be used to directly inject into the dermis of the scalp, near the hair follicle and supporting tissue. This method is believed to stimulate hair growth but there is no solid medical evidence to support it.

If none of the above works for you, then you can opt for a surgical option and get a hair transplant.

How's a hair transplant performed?

Before the Robotic hair transplant recently got an FDA approval, a traditional hair transplant was done. In a hair transplant, follicle units or groups of one or four hairs from one part of the body are removed under local anaesthesia with tiny punches of between 0.6mm and 1.25mm in diameter or by taking out the whole strip from the back and stitching them back up. These follicles are then reinserted back into the scalp in the thinning or bald area using a micro blade. This procedure can dense back thinning areas with as many as 40 to 60 follicular unit grafts per square centimetre.

How's the new technology, Robotic hair transplant, any better?

When performing a follicle unit extraction, which is the type of transplant I explained above, removing units of hair has always proved to be the toughest part of this method. It could take several hours or even multiple sessions to punch out the tiny follicle units needed for a natural looking hair transplant. The machine can help speed up the process in a more accurate manner.

Another problem is that it's very difficult to correctly place the follicular unit graft in the recipient area to give a natural appearance. The robot changes that. It has an arm that is able to insert the follicular unit onto a scalp more accurately using better quality of hair. This gives us doctors a better quality of hair to work with, result in a more natural growth of implant unit. However how the transplant will ultimately look still depends on your doctor's expertise.

The other advantages of this new technology are that it is the least invasive of its kind, meaning there are no scalpel incisions, sutures or linear scars, making it a surgery with less pain and fastest recovery time. You can go back to work the very next day. Also, since no scars are involved, you do not need to worry about the tightening and pain on the scar area.

Dr Nantapat Supapanachart is an American Board Certified dermatologist and laser surgery.

About the author

Writer: Dr Nantapat Supapannachart
Position: Writer