A robot to crown your glory

ARTAS hair transplant SystemA robot will soon be replanting hair for those who have lost their crowning glory in their march to baldness.

The first such kind of machine to be introduced in Dubai, experts say, will reduce pain and increase precision in the way the hair is implanted, something which cannot be done manually.

“It’s a no pain and a no scarring procedure done in three steps,” said Thamer Wali, CEO and president of Imdad, the UAE-based company that will be distributing the Artas robotic system to clinics here.

 

Currently, only 130 robots in the world are used for hair transplants. In the region, at least 800,000 procedures are carried out annually.

Tamer a. Wali during the Press conference to announce the artas robotic system at Dubai World Trade Centre on Tuesday. — KT photo by Shihab

“The robot plants healthy, intact grafts,” said Thamer, speaking on the sidelines of Dubai Derma, a conference and exhibition on Dermatology held annually.

Hair loss in the UAE and the Middle East in general is very prominent. In this region, one in every three men suffers from hair loss while one in every five women suffers from hair loss and hair thinning, said Anisa Vrabac, Head of Hair Transplant Department at Dubai Cosmetic Surgery clinic and the Resident Aesthetics and Anti-aging consultant at the clinic.

“Of our hair transplant patients, 85 per cent are men, and 15 per cent are women. This means men suffer more hair loss and hair thinning than women do,” she said.

“The lifestyle industry is booming in the UAE… it’s no longer considered a luxury. Hair transplant is considered a lifestyle choice for most,” said Thamer.

In the US alone, 35 million men are said to be suffering from hair loss. Also, on an average, there are more than 150,000 hair follicles on a human scalp, and can shed 50 to 100 hair strands per day.

“The machine punches and extracts the hair grafts along with the bulb — sometimes up to 3,000 times — from the area with the most hair growth on the head,” he explained. “But before this is transplanted into the scalp, the patient is shown on a computer how he will look after the transplant. Once this is done, the details are fed into the robot which then does the job,” said Thamer.

The procedure can take between six to eight hours. Up to 1,500 grafts can cost up to Dh30,000. Depending on the number of grafts the cost can rise up to Dh50,000.

If done manually, the procedure costs anything between Dh10,000 and Dh15,000.

However, according to Dr Dimitrios Ziakas, of Direct Hair Implantation Clinic in Dubai, manual extraction is still the best method to take the hair follicles out.

“It helps us ensure the follicles are viable and we transplant them properly,” he said.

“The robotics could be something big in the future but the models till now are not satisfactorily constructed. Either the trans-section rate of the extraction is higher due to inability to perform fine maneouvres — which means the hair is wasted, especially curly hair or the follicle is dehydrated leaving it unviable,” he said.

“Maybe in the future they will be better but till now human hand is a better solution to perform detailed job in hair transplant.”

The industry is growing nevertheless. “Over the years we have seen a huge increase in the number of people seeking the procedure at DSC,” said Anisa.

According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) statistics, Middle East and North Africa saw an increase of 740 per cent between 2004 and 2012 in the number of procedures performed.

“On a monthly basis, we have approximately 85 to 90 individual procedures, out of which 85 to 90 per cent are males while 10 to 15 per cent are females,” said Anisa.

“About 50 per cent of our clients come from the neighbouring countries, while 20-25 per cent come from Australia, USA, Canada and the UK mostly during winter and summer seasons.”

More than 500 people visited Direct Hair Implantation (DHI) clinic in Dubai last year looking for treatments, including hair transplants to stop hair loss.

Why the hair loss?

* The leading cause of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia which is caused by genetics. This affects about 90 per cent of all hair loss cases.

* Most men who suffer from this type of hair loss start losing the hair from their late teens and early 20s

* Women suffer from female pattern baldness also caused mostly by hormones.

Other causes of hair loss include: Over processing the hair with chemicals among women, heat, climate, stress, diet and drugs.

Every three men suffers from hair loss while one in every five women suffers from hair loss and hair thinning, said Anisa Vrabac, Head of Hair Transplant Department at Dubai Cosmetic Surgery clinic and the Resident Aesthetics and Anti-aging consultant at the clinic.

“Of our hair transplant patients, 85 per cent are men, and 15 per cent are women. This means men suffer more hair loss and hair thinning than women do,” she said. “The lifestyle industry is booming in the UAE… it’s no longer considered a luxury. Hair transplant is considered a lifestyle choice for most,” said Thamer.

In the US alone, 35 million men are said to be suffering from hair loss. Also, on an average, there are more than 150,000 hair follicles on a human scalp, and can shed 50 to 100 hair strands per day.

“The machine punches and extracts the hair grafts along with the bulb — sometimes up to 3,000 times — from the area with the most hair growth on the head,” he explained. “But before this is transplanted into the scalp, the patient is shown on a computer how he will look after the transplant. Once this is done, the details are fed into the robot which then does the job,” said Thamer.

The procedure can take between six to eight hours. Up to 1,500 grafts can cost up to Dh30,000. Depending on the number of grafts the cost can rise up to Dh50,000.

If done manually, the procedure costs anything between Dh10,000 and Dh15,000.

However, according to Dr Dimitrios Ziakas, of Direct Hair Implantation Clinic in Dubai, manual extraction is still the best method to take the hair follicles out.

“It helps us ensure the follicles are viable and we transplant them properly,” he said. “The robotics could be something big in the future but the models till now are not satisfactorily constructed. Either the trans-section rate of the extraction is higher due to inability to perform fine maneouvres — which means the hair is wasted, especially curly hair or the follicle is dehydrated leaving it unviable,” he said.

“Maybe in the future they will be better but till now human hand is a better solution to perform detailed job in hair transplant.”

The industry is growing nevertheless. “Over the years we have seen a huge increase in the number of people seeking the procedure at DSC,” said Anisa.

According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) statistics, Middle East and North Africa saw an increase of 740 per cent between 2004 and 2012 in the number of procedures performed.

“On a monthly basis, we have approximately 85 to 90 individual procedures, out of which 85 to 90 per cent are males while 10 to 15 per cent are females,” said Anisa.

“About 50 per cent of our clients come from the neighbouring countries, while 20-25 per cent come from Australia, USA, Canada and the UK mostly during winter and summer seasons.”

More than 500 people visited Direct Hair Implantation (DHI) clinic in Dubai last year looking for treatments, including hair transplants to stop hair loss.

 

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