Follicular Unit Extraction & The Future of Hair Restoration

LOS ANGELES, CA – 23 July, 2016 – A humble man with a charming smile and a lab coat proudly displayed a prototype of his new invention. The man was biotech mogul and founder of modern hair restoration, Dr. William Rassman of the New Hair Institute Medical Group (NHI). The device he held in his hand was the future of the hair restoration industry and latest addition to his library of inventions which allow for a more intuitive follicular unit extraction (FUE) surgical procedure.

Developed by Dr. Rassman in 1996, FUE is a minimally invasive hair transplantation procedure which allows for individual follicular units to be transplanted from the back and sides of the head to areas affected by genetic balding. The first patients to undergo the less invasive FUE hair transplant did so on an experimental basis. This procedure provided all the benefits of a hair transplant without leaving the linear scars often associated with alternative procedures, such as follicular unit transplantation (FUT). By using a handheld instrument, another one of Dr. Rassman’s inventions, surgeons can transplant individual follicles. When these individual follicles are transplanted, they bring with them their healthy genetic code which tells them not to die. This allows them to continue growing for the rest of the patient’s life. In areas of the scalp where balding occurs, the follicles are affected by cellular death, or “cellular suicide”, as Dr. Rassman puts it.

In 2002, Dr. Rassman published the first article on FUE; Follicular Unit Extraction: A Minimally Invasive Surgery For Hair Transplants. It was in this article he coined the term Follicular Unit Extraction. He then presented this new procedure to over 600 doctors in Chicago at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgeons (ISHRS), accompanied by an instructional DVD. By the following week, FUE had become a popularized worldwide and continues to set the standard for hair restoration procedures. Dr. Rassman did not stop there, by teaming up with Dr. Jae Pak, his long time partner and medical director of NHI. Together, they engineered and patented technologies which allowed for the development of robotically performed FUE. These technologies came to market in 2010 and now comprise the ARTAS Robotic System.    

As for what’s next for FUE and hair restoration, Dr. Rassman believes the procedure has come a long way. We can look forward to seeing some drastic improvements in the future. As technology advances, most hair transplants performed will be FUE procedures. “Dr. Pak and I have developed and patented another new technology which will be on the market in a few months.”

Their new invention allows surgeons to transplant grafts with far less trauma to hair follicles in comparison to manual forceps, which are commonly used today. It also allows procedures to be performed at a much faster rate. The chances of a successful transplant will be far greater than ever before. If exposed to air for too long, a graft will die, which leaves a high margin for error. The new implanter technology estimates an exponentially higher success rate with a single pass in comparison to the standard devices used today. Commercial instrumentation used during a standard procedure today is sanitized and reused- one of the perks of this technology is that the instrument is a consumable. This means that it comes sterilized and is then discarded after a single use. It cannot be reused, so there is no risk of contamination. The doctors of New Hair Institute have been using this technology for some time now. Until it becomes commercially accessible, it’s only available to their patients.

To learn more about the future of hair restoration, visit the New Hair Institute online.

If you would like to stay up to date with Dr. Rassman’s work, you can follow him on Twitter @doctorrassman

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