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Sunday, April 17, 2011

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Restoration Robotics, Inc., MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, a medical device company, has on 14th March 2011 announced that they have received 510K clearance from (FDA) for a ROBOT  for harvesting hair follicles from the scalp in men diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss) with black or brown straight hair.  The name of the Robot for this technology is ARTAS™ System.

ARTAS™ is a physician-controlled, state-of-the-art, interactive, computer-assisted system that enables harvesting of hair follicles during hair restoration procedures. It combines several features including a video image-guided robotic arm, special imaging technologies, small dermal punches, force sensor, robotic arm,and a computer interface. The ARTAS™ System is capable of identifying and harvesting individual follicular units to implement the follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique. The software that runs the instrument helps the surgeon target follicular units for extraction and also uses stereoscopic video images to guide the needle mechanism and robotic arm.


The robotic harvesting technique resembles that of follicular unit extraction ( FUE). The donor area, as in FUE is cropped to short length to enable the stereo camera system to visualize hair follicles. The imaging algorithms are capable of identifying follicular unit, determining their type (1 hair FU, 2 hair FU, 3 hair FU etc.) and calculating the angle, orientation & location of each follicular unit on the scalp surface. Using this position  & location data, the imaging system semi autonomously guides the robotic arm & mechanism to core & extract follicular units one at a time; The punch size is 1mm in ID. The coring of the follicular units is enabled by a proprietary punch designed that aims to minimize transaction rate. The system, using a feature called visual servoing, continuously tracks & adjusts to patient movement so that harvesting of targeted follicular units is precise. Based on inputs by the user, the degree of automation can be adjusted, e.g. the system may be configured to harvest 10-20 grafts sequentially. The harvested follicular unit may then be automatically transported to a vial where it is kept moist and cool. It may be possible to achieve harvest speed of up to 1000 grafts in an hour.


The Benefits
There is growing interest in FUE because of its many patient benefits, such as less discomfort and a quicker return to normal activities. The ARTAS™ System solves many of the technical challenges experienced by physicians currently attempting the FUE procedure which gives physicians and patients new choice. Rapid healing and lack of a linear scar, which makes this procedure different from the strip method.

Limitations:
The Robot is approved for only straight back and brown hairs and for those with curly , gray or blond hair may have to wait for some later date.

On a personal communication it was mentioned that the system may harvest up to 1000 grafts in an hour with Transaction rate under 6%.

For more :    www.restorationrobotics.com.

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