Robot-Assisted Hair Transplants: Are They the Future or a Fad?

  • 16th April 2024
  • 9 min read

Recent advancements in technology and artificial technology have opened new avenues of innovation for many industries, and hair restoration is no different. Robot-assisted hair transplants are being hailed as a new technique that will make procedures easier and quicker, but is that really the case?  

In this guide, we'll explore how automated hair transplants work and how they compare to the trusted manual techniques we offer. We've also asked Arran Isherwood, Trichological Specialist at FUE Clinics, to find out if he thinks robotic hair transplants are the future.


What is a robot-assisted hair transplant?

A robot-assisted hair transplant is a procedure that involves a surgeon using computer-guided robotic systems to aid in the hair transplant process. Unlike traditional methods, where a surgeon manually extracts hair follicles, the automated system handles the process with a surgeon overseeing it. 

Robots are not currently equipped to harvest or implant the follicles, so the surgeon still plays a crucial role in this phase.


How do robot-assisted hair transplants work?

The main type of robotic hair transplantation method in the UK is ARTAS. It’s the world's most widely recognised hair restoration robot system, launched in the UK in 2013. The ARTAS system has a robotic arm that assists with extraction and a digital screen for the surgeon to oversee the procedure in detail.

Here’s how the ARTAS method works: 

  1. Consultation — As with any transplant procedure, the initial consultation is crucial. During this session, the surgeon will assess your scalp and discuss your hair transplant goals. Together, you'll delve into specifics like the desired shape and positioning of your hairline.
  2. Preparation — On the day of surgery, the surgeon will shave your head and apply a local anaesthetic to numb it. 
  3. Scanning — The robotic arm is then positioned and automatically scans the scalp to search for healthy donor hairs using its digital cameras.
  4. Extraction — Under the supervision of the surgeon, the robot will then extract these hairs.
  5. Storage — After extraction, the surgeon will store the grafts in a sterile solution to ensure they stay at the ideal level of hydration, temperature and humidity before being implanted.
  6. Harvesting the grafts — The surgeon will examine and categorise the hair follicles to prepare them for implantation.
  7. Incisions — The surgeon makes micro incisions in the recipient area using a specialised tool in areas where they intend to implant the hairs.
  8. Implantation — The surgeon manually implants the harvested hair, mirroring the traditional method's approach.

Like any transplant, special care is needed after a robot-assisted hair restoration. This involves following specific cleaning routines for the scalp, avoiding strenuous activities and adhering to any medications or treatments prescribed by the surgeon. Read our guide on hair transplant aftercare to learn more.

In 2018, ARTAS introduced an updated version of their hair transplant robot with the capability to both harvest and implant hair follicles. However, this advanced version isn't currently widely available in the UK.


Benefits of robot-assisted hair transplants

1. Faster procedure time 

When using robot-assisted techniques, steps such as follicle extraction, graft selection, and implantation can be streamlined. This could potentially make the translation procedure quicker.

2. Continuous learning and improvement 

Robotic systems have the advantage of being updated with the latest techniques and technologies, allowing for ongoing refinements and improvements in the procedure.

3. Makes surgery less laborious 

Performing a hair transplant is meticulous and can be taxing on the surgeon. With robotic assistance handling repetitive tasks, the surgeon can focus on the critical aspects of the procedure, like preparation and aftercare.


Limitations of robot-assisted hair transplants 

1. High cost

Robotic systems are expensive to purchase, maintain, and upgrade. These costs may be passed on to the patient, making robot-assisted hair transplants potentially more pricey than traditional methods.

2. Loss of personal touch

The personal touch of a human surgeon is something robots can't replicate. While they bring precision, many patients still value and prefer the human connection and understanding during medical procedures. The nuances, empathy, and individualised care a human offers are aspects that robots are yet to match.

At FUE Clinics, our expert surgeons guide you every step of the way during the hair transplantation process. Recognising that every patient is unique, we ensure a bespoke experience tailored to your individual needs. To learn more, read our guide on everything you need to know about hair transplant surgeries.

3. Limited hair type suitability

Robotic hair transplants have their limitations in terms of patient suitability. ARTAS, for example, can only be performed on those with dark, straight hair. In contrast, traditional hair transplants offer flexibility, catering to a diverse range of hair textures, including Afro-Caribbean hair types.

4. Large punch concerns

Robotic systems use punches (tools to extract hair follicles) that are larger in diameter than what you'd find with manual restoration methods. This may cause a higher chance of complications during recovery and accidentally damaging nearby hair follicles.

5. Training is time-consuming

Robotic systems require surgeons to invest time to master them. Transitioning from their usual hands-on methods to collaborating with a robot isn't just about pressing buttons. It's about blending their expertise with the nuances of new tech, demanding both time and practice.

6. Dependence on technology

Relying on robotic systems means there's always a chance of tech issues popping up. If there's a glitch before or even during a procedure, it can lead to interruptions. This could potentially affect the outcome or make the whole thing take longer than expected. 

7. Robots can’t do it all

Robots can't yet handle the entire hair restoration process on their own. The knowledge and expertise of human surgeons remain invaluable, especially when it comes to aftercare and ongoing patient support. Post-operative care requires monitoring, tailored advice, and sometimes adjustments based on individual recovery. In complex cases, robots might fall short of replicating the level of judgment a human can offer.


How long does a robot-assisted hair transplant last?

Just like traditional FUE and FUT methods, robot-assisted hair transplants offer a permanent solution to hair loss. Once the hair follicles are successfully transplanted and have settled in their new location, they continue to grow naturally.

To learn more, read our guide on how long a hair transplant lasts.


How much does a robot-assisted hair transplant cost?

The cost of a robotic hair transplant can differ based on several factors. The location of the clinic, the specific machinery used, and the number of grafts you need all play a role in determining the price. 

The machinery itself carries a hefty price tag, which in turn influences the overall cost of the surgery. Plus, as this technology is still emerging and not widely available, it often comes with a premium price. 


Are robotic hair transplants the future?

"Robotic hair transplants show potential in speeding up the extraction process," says Arran Isherwood. "That being said, these systems are still relatively new to the market and not widely adopted. Like with any new technology, there are risks involved that you don't get with time-tested methods like FUE and FUT."

"Even with their advanced technology, robots still can't replicate the years of hands-on experience and emotional intelligence surgeons have. Surgeons excel at adapting surgical techniques to meet individual needs and provide a level of personalised care that goes beyond what robots can offer. This human touch fosters trust and confidence in patients, a crucial aspect of the hair transplant journey."

"Robotic hair transplants also tend to come with a higher price tag compared to traditional methods. So they may not be accessible to everyone."

"Because of this, it's unclear whether they'll become the go-to method for the future of hair restoration, and humans will certainly still need to be involved."


Choose FUE Clinics for your hair transplant

If hair loss is persistent, or you have a condition like male-pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia), a hair transplant could be a permanent solution to restore your hair.

At FUE Clinics, we offer both FUE and FUT hair transplant techniques, similar to what you'd get with an ARTAS robotic system. However, our skilled surgeons apply their deep knowledge and years of hands-on experience throughout the entire process. We take pride in giving each patient a tailored journey, from the first consultation through to surgery and aftercare

Read our guide on what to expect from your hair transplant to learn more.

Get in touch today to speak to our team of hair transplant specialists or book a free online consultation. Or, head over to our FAQs to discover more information.

Contact Us Today

This is a great opportunity to discover your hair restoration options. Simply fill in the form below to arrange an appointment.

Live Chat

Chat to an expert

Get a Quotation

You can get an instant quote for a hair transplant 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Book a Consultation

You can book a free consultation instantly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call us on:
0330 363 0001
or WhatsApp:
WhatsApp 0330 363 0001

Submit Enquiry
/* */