The ARTAS System is a robotic surgical hair transplantation system for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia, or male pattern baldness, made by the American company Restoration Robotics, Inc. The device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 for use in harvesting follicular units from brown-haired and black-haired men. The ARTAS System is designed to facilitate hair restoration using the follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique.
The ARTAS System was developed by Restoration Robotics, Inc., a privately held medical device company founded in 2002. ARTAS was introduced at the annual meeting of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ISHRS) in 2008, and clinical trials were begun to develop and validate the system. A 510(k) clearance for safety and efficacy from the FDA was granted to Restoration Robotics in April 2011. In 2013, the ARTAS System won the Gold Edison Award in Medicine.
Restoration Robotics announced the shipment of its 100th ARTAS System on October 7, 2014.
The ARTAS System utilizes the follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique. Hair in the donor area, an area of permanent hair in the posterior scalp, is trimmed to make the follicles easier to identify and extract. The scalp is numbed using local anesthesia. The patient is seated in a semi prone position, and a skin tensioner is placed on the scalp to improve precision of the dissection depths.
Multiple cameras capture video images of the patient's donor area. Through its image processing software algorithms, the ARTAS System identifies different properties of the follicular units such as exit angles, orientations and density. Using this information, the robotic arm maneuvers the small dermal punches to perform the follicular unit dissection. The cameras monitor the location of the hair follicles and recalculate hair position every 20 milliseconds. The physician and technician make adjustments to fine-tune the dissection as required. The follicular units are then manually transplanted into the patient's recipient area.
Benefits and disadvantages
The ARTAS System allows physicians to complete the FUE procedure up to 50% faster than if performed manually, and it lets less experienced physicians use the machine to handle the graft extraction process. Patients receiving the ARTAS procedure can return to normal activities in one to two days, compared to weeks or months following strip harvesting procedures. However, ARTAS can only be used on patients with straight, dark hair, and is limited to follicle extraction from the back and sides of the head. Patients with lighter colored hair or with limited hair in the donor area are not suitable candidates. Graft transection (damage) rates are typically 3-5% in a manual FUE procedure performed by an experienced surgeon, while transection rates using the ARTAS robot are around 8-10%.
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