Robot solves problems with traditional hair transplants
"What I want you to do is put your face down in there," Dr. Mark Bishara instructed.
Doug Mummy sat down in a chair and buried his face in a face pad, as if he was about to get a back massage. But, Mummy was finally facing his fear of going bald, and doing something about it.
A robot armed with a needle removed healthy hair follicles from the back of Mummy's head. Those follicles will be transplanted to the front and top.
"Probably as I got into my mid-thirties, I noticed a balding spot in the crown area," Mummy said.
He tried taking Propecia pills to spur hair growth. He did it for 10 years, but it didn't make a noticeable difference.
"All of a sudden, my grandmother would see me and say, 'Doug, you've got a bald spot now!'" Mummy said. "And I'm thinking, 'Thanks grandma - you're making me feel better,' you know."
Now he's relieved there is a robot to the rescue. The high-tech solution is called the ARTAS System, and involves computer-assisted technology. It is just one of five machines in the world.
Bishara, a doctor in Mansfield, looked at a computer screen, which guides him by showing a digital map of functioning follicular units. Each unit can have one to four hairs.
The tedious task of extracting them by the thousands used to be done by hand, which was tedious and could cause human error.
"The robot allows for a higher amount of precision," Bashira said.
And, less downtime.
We caught up with the Mummy, a little league coach, playing catch with his son, Chandler, just two days after the procedure.
The traditional hair-transplant surgery involves cutting out a strip of the scalp and sewing it back up. But Mummy shys away from that one - the traditional transplant leaves huge scars and a longer and painful recovery time.
Not so with the ARTAS System.
"This was a piece of cake!" Mummy said. "I mean, going to the dentist sometimes results in more pain than this did."
The trail of red dots on Mummy's scalp show where the needle punctured holes.
It looked painful, but Mummy insists he only felt pressure. However, not nearly as much pressure as he put on himself to finally do something about his receding hairline.
"I think I'm going to feel like a new man," he said. "I think I'm going to feel like I'm 30. Ten-to-fifteen years younger, to be honest with you."
The 45 year old looks forward to wearing a visor and getting no sunburn on the bald spots.
Bashira said Mummy's hair will grow substantially thicker in six months. Bishara, a leading cosmetic surgeon in hair restoration, said the ARTAS System is groundbreaking.
"I think it's going to revolutionize the way we look at hair transplant surgery," the doctor said. "There's no doubt in my mind that robotics are the future."
The procedure costs $6,000-$8,000.
Well worth it to Doug Mummy, who researched other options, but hopes the robot is a hair above the rest.
Wayne Rooney hair transplant June 2011