Hair transplant cost figures are staggering for most people. And since technology generally helps bring prices down, will this make hair restoration surgery more affordable? Many individuals who suffer from baldness or thinning eagerly await the answer to this question. However, there are deeper issues to consider, besides a simple yes or no. For example, hair transplant surgeons require a great deal of education and experience to not only extract follicles but also recreate natural looking hair growth. This contributes to the high price.
Dr. Umar, FUE hair transplant expert and developer of uGraft technology, believes that innovations should aim to improve quality of a patient’s results instead of speeding up procedures to reduce cost, or compensate for experience.
Robotic Technology and Automated Follicular Unit Extraction
As scientists try to develop new treatments, hair transplantation remains as the most reliable way to achieve desired results.
Grafts are now extremely small and natural looking. And with Follicular Unit Extraction, which does not leave a linear scar more people are choosing to undergo this form of hair transplant surgery.
Attempts to meet the rising demand for hair transplants have been made through two forms of technology:
(2) automated, suction driven devices
Identifying the right direction and orientation of hair follicles is important for positioning the punch. Errors will lead to damaged and unusable grafts if the punch severs any part of the follicular unit.
Robotic FUE technology uses algorithms to ascertain important information needed for the safe removal of the follicles. This can be helpful for doctors who have less experience.
Suction driven tools have been developed to help increase the speed of hair transplant procedures. The grafts are immediately pulled by the vacuum mechanics into a temporary holding container. Normally, the follicles are manually retrieved with forceps.
Neither of these technologies are able to offer the type of factory efficient, low cost hair transplantation that some people hope for.
These technologies also have limitations to consider. Robotics can only be used on the back of the head in dark haired patients. Suction driven extraction technology poses the risk of air drying, or dessication which is the leading cause of graft death.
UGraft is a follicle extraction technology developed by hair restoration surgeon, Dr. Sanusi Umar
While uGraft does not affect hair transplant cost, or address the rising demand for these types of procedures, it offers a much safer alternative to robotics and suction devices. It offers a greater level of safety for the hair follicles and prevents them from drying out. UGraft features make it possible to remove many types of follicles (including those from the body) for large volume procedures. And a water assisted mechanism gently transports the grafts to a holding receptacle.
Hair Cloning Technology- Will They Lower Cost?
What is known as hair cloning is actually a form of cellular induction. Derma papilla cells at the base of the follicle have inductive properties which can cause epithelial cells to differentiate into follicles.
As far as cost is concerned, hair cloning has yet to become refined enough to be offered to the public as an official procedure. Dr. Umar points out that there are many issues to test before this happens:
(1) how the human immune system will react to cloned hair follicles
(2) how to control the texture, growth angles, directions and orientations of the new hair
Results from such studies have yet to be available. Therefore, hair transplantation procedures remain as the best way to recover from hair loss.
Cost and Hair Transplant Doctors
The high cost of hair transplant procedures is due to the enormous level of detail that is required.
Dr. Umar often explains that the harvesting of follicles is just one phase of a hair restoration procedure. The storage, handling and insertions matter for growth and achieving a natural looking appearance. And these aspects cannot be replaced by technology.
Dr. Sanusi Umar is a pioneer in hair transplant surgery and is widely published and recognized in his field. Dr. Umar is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and the founder of DermHair Clinic in Los Angeles, CA.