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Denver physician patents minimally invasive technology for hairtransplantation surgery


James A. Harris, M.D., of the Hair Sciences Center of Colorado has invented and patented a new minimally invasive technology which will revolutionize the field of hair transplantation surgery. The new system utilizes an instrument called the Harris SAFE Scribe -- a small, self-contained device -- to isolate, extract and transplant single follicular units of hair without the trauma associated with other types of hair transplantation surgery.

According to Dr. Harris, a head and neck/facial plastic surgeon whose practice is limited solely to medical and surgical hair restoration, this breakthrough technology will benefit both transplant surgeons and patients.The Harris SAFE (Surgically Advanced Follicular Extraction) System will dramatically improve the field of hair restoration, making the surgery more accessible, more efficient and more affordable for the millions of men and women who are candidates for hair transplantation surgery. A less invasive surgical option, the Harris SAFE System also minimizes the pain, healing time and scarring associated with hair transplantation while leaving patients with the most natural results possible.

According to Dr. Harris, most hair transplant surgeons perform an invasive surgical procedure that requires the surgeon to surgically remove strips of scalp from the sides or back of the head, resulting in a linear scar and a lengthy healing time. A newer, less invasive technique called Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) uses a small instrument to remove single follicular units of hair. Although much less invasive than traditional donor harvesting, FUE can be time consuming, potentially damaging to hair follicles, expensive and is only appropriate for a small percentage of patients.

"With traditional FUE, I found that only about 30 to 40 percent of patients were candidates," explained Dr. Harris. "While the procedure was not effective for most patients, especially African-Americans or gray-haired patients, the Harris SAFE System improves upon traditional FUE, working for virtually 100 percent of patients."

In addition to allowing virtually all patients the option of hair transplantation, the Harris SAFE System is extremely efficient. According to Dr. Harris, surgeons who use the Harris SAFE System can transplant up to several thousand grafts a day, compared to 300 to 400 per day using traditional FUE. "Because the Harris SAFE System is so efficient, eventually the price of hair transplantation should become more affordable," explained Dr. Harris.

"While the Harris SAFE System is labor intensive for the physician, it does not require a large surgical team or lots of expensive medical equipment. Early trials show the Harris SAFE Scribe is very easy to use."

According to Dr. Harris, while traditional FUE costs about 50 percent more than a normal transplant, the efficiency of the Harris SAFE System should drive this cost down, making the cost comparable to that of a standard transplant.

"Studies show that the SAFE System is very effective," explained Dr. Harris. "I have tested the SAFE System on 37 patients and have found that transection rates (the damage to hair follicles) average 5.6 percent. This is equal to or better than transection rates for traditional hair transplant surgery which average less than eight percent and transection rates for FUE, which in my experience can be up to 20 percent. "

Tammy Funk | EurekAlert!
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