Michael B. Wolfeld, M.D., a board certified plastic surgeon, presented recent advances and best practices in robotic hair transplant procedures to an audience of over one hundred plastic surgeons in their annual Plastic Surgery “The Meeting,” the largest international conference in the field.
The 88th annual conference was held in Chicago, Illinois from October 10-14th, 2014.
Dr. Wolfeld discussed the ARTAS® Robotic Hair Transplant system’s capabilities, such as follicular unit isolation during the graft harvest stage and the recently developed ability to create recipient sites.
He also discussed ARTAS Hair Studio™, a new software suite that allows physician and patient to collaborate on a hair restoration treatment plan and then upload that plan into the robot for implementation.
Together, these advances represent the state-of-the-art in surgical hair restoration and the integration of the two most critical phases of a hair transplant, the design and planning phase and the performance of the surgical procedure.
Featured in Dr. Wolfeld’s presentation was the new capability of the ARTAS robot to create recipient sites, small incisions in the patient’s scalp into which grafts of naturally-occurring groups of 1-4 hairs, called follicular units, are inserted.
Dr. Wolfeld outlined how the robot performs this phase of the procedure with greater precision and consistency than a surgeon using manual instrumentation.
His presentation showed how the physician can specify characteristics of recipient sites including the direction, angle, and depth of the incisions; the total number and density in the scalp of the incisions; and the diameter of existing hairs that the robot should use its image-guided technology to avoid.
The distribution and style of recipient sites that the robot creates can be made to complement the distribution and growth of existing hairs. As a result of these innovations, the transplant results will appear more natural.
Dr. Wolfeld described how ARTAS Hair Studio, software that was developed by Restoration Robotics, Inc. to interface with the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant system, will allow the physician to create a three-dimensional model of the patient’s head and then design and manipulate a hair restoration plan that factors in the patient’s actual hair loss pattern.
The physician can then digitally add hair to the 3-D model so patients can have a preview of how the hair transplant should look. This interactive tool will foster a collaborative environment in which the patient will feel more personally involved in their hair restoration experience.
It will also help the patient align their expectations with a realistic outcome that takes into account the limited number of grafts that can be extracted from the back and sides of their scalp, or what is known as the donor area.
Dr. Wolfeld explained some of the best practices in procedures performed at Bernstein Medical and detailed two case studies of patients who had robotic hair transplants at the state-of-the-art Bernstein Medical facility in New York City. One of the best practices he described is a modification of the sequence of the Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) procedure.
By “pre-making” recipient sites, or creating recipient sites before follicular unit grafts are harvested, the physician, Dr. Wolfeld explained, can shorten the time the grafts are outside of the scalp, thereby increasing the chance that grafts will survive the transplant.
The case studies included one patient who had a transplant with 1500 follicular unit grafts over the course of one day and one patient who had a transplant of 2600 grafts split over two days. In both cases, recipient sites were created by the ARTAS robot before the grafts were extracted.
About Dr. Michael B. Wolfeld
Michael B. Wolfeld, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon and an attending physician at Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City. Dr. Wolfeld is an associate at Bernstein Medical where he performs hair transplants using the newest technologies including the ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant system.
He is nationally published and has given numerous lectures on topics in aesthetic surgery. Dr. Wolfeld was accepted into the highly competitive specialty of plastic and reconstructive surgery and has completed a six year training program in this specialty at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. He served as Chief Resident at Mount Sinai Medical Center and pursued an aesthetic fellowship at Lenox Hill Hospital and the prestigious Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital. Dr. Wolfeld received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and earned his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical School.
About Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration
Bernstein Medical – Center for Hair Restoration; founded by Robert M. Bernstein, M.D., F.A.A.D. in 2005; is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of hair loss in men and women using the most advanced technologies.
The state-of-the-art facility; located in midtown Manhattan, New York City; treats patients from around the globe. In 2011, Bernstein Medical became one of the first practices in the world to offer Robotic Hair Transplant procedures using the image-guided, computer-driven technology of the ARTAS Robotic System. Bernstein Medical is a beta-testing site of the robot’s new capabilities, including the creation of recipient sites.