Tools of the Trade for Hair Transplant Surgeons

A wide range of tools, instruments and devices are used during a hair transplant. These instruments can include punches, robotic devices, suction-assisted devices and implanters.

Punches have been used in hair transplants since the 1930s. These instruments allow hair follicles to be released from their surrounding tissues. Punches can have a wide range of characteristics (e.g., shape, sharpness and size) that can influence their capabilities. Sharp punches, for example, can be inserted along the hair follicle, cutting the connecting tissues that hold the follicle in place. Unsharpened punches can help prevent trauma or deformation of surrounding follicles during harvesting1. Excessive laxity (looseness) and the need for specific angles (e.g., curly hair) can increase the difficulty of punch extraction2.

Robotic devices can also be used in hair transplant procedures. These devices contain sharp punches that cut around the follicle, making graft removal easy and fast3. Using robotic technology-specific characteristics (e.g., follicle density, hair angle etc.) can be controlled by the physician4. This can help create high-quality grafts and limit the time required for harvesting4. The ARTAS system is an example of such a device and is in use all over the world.

Suction-assisted devices can also assist a surgeon during a transplant. These devices are commonly used during follicular unit extraction (FUE) to partially or fully remove a hair follicle. Suction-assisted devices give physicians better control during harvesting, allowing punch penetration to be deep without increasing the risk of hair follicle injury5.

Implanters are also used during hair transplants. As the name suggests they are used to help implant harvested grafts. Sharp or dull implanters can be used in hair restoration procedures such as eyebrow and scalp restorations6.

If you have any questions about what type of instruments will be used during your procedure ask your hair transplant surgeon during your consultation.

Article by: Sarah Versteeg MSc, Mediprobe Research Inc. 

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