Before we jump into what the Robotic surgeons manufacturer Restoration Robotics has done this time, let’s talk a bit about the company. It started off in 2002 and the first-generation product was given clearance by Food and Drug Administration in 2011. In October, the company based in San Jose revealed that it has sold the 100th ARTAS Robotic System ($200,000 each) and also operated on its 10 millionth hair follicle. For the sake of comparison, it takes about 1200-1600 follicles per patient, which implies that about 7000 or more patients have had the robotic surgery.
This month, the company announced that their backers have thrown in a couple of million dollars more into the company totaling the complete investment at more than $70 million. The latest round of funding shall be executed for the second-generation robot creation and marketing. The backers are not making a foolish bet; the cure for baldness industry has a potential for $3.5 billion per year and that too, only in US.
The ARTAS robot makes use of the camera located onboard along with the analysis software to scrutinize the high-resolution images of the patient’s scalp and then decides on which follicles to extract. The doctor monitors the whole process via a monitor screen that may or may not be located in the same room. Using a needle, the robot tears the skin followed by punching the follicle out with a hollow needle. Then the follicles are inserted manually into the bald areas for hair to grow.
The average time for a single procedure is about 6-10 hours. Now that is a long time for the patient to remain in the chair but it is still faster than the time it would take a doctor to do it. Surgeons who do this procedure without robotic help usually take off strips instead of individual follicles. Restoration Robots, on the other hand, claim to be less scarring and are capable of producing a more natural look. Check out the video below for more details: