Hair Transplantation – A Growing Business With The Help Of New Technology

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For years, most plastic surgeons, dermatologists and cosmetic physicians have shied away from offering hair transplantation in their practice simply because it didn’t offer a good enough revenue stream for how much time and effort was involved. The average charge to a patient for a 2000 graft procedure is anywhere between $10,000 to $18,000. This would be great, but once you back out the cost to pay multiple technicians who are assisting, as well as the time that was involved which is usually a full day, the physician’s net revenue dramatically decreases. Because of this, most of the core aesthetic physicians have stuck to offering the standard “high revenue, minimal time” menu of procedures including: liposuction, breast augmentation and tummy tucks. Unfortunately, the aesthetic and cosmetic surgery industry is mostly a “cash” based business so when the economy takes a hit, so too do the physicians who offer these services. Many have been forced to re-invent their practices by adding and promoting the less expensive “non-surgical” treatments just to keep their patients appearances maintained without breaking their wallets.

As the economy starts to creep back, cosmetic physicians are taking advantage by exploring even more ways to differentiate themselves from the pack and adding new procedures that will appeal to a more expanded patient base. Despite the past perception, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual statistics, hair transplantation was one of only four of the twenty plus cosmetic surgery procedures that actually showed an “increase” in 2009. Worldwide, hair transplantation grew by more than 12% last year. Many will speculate as to the reasons for the growth and some have suggested that it may be tied to the job market. Job openings in every industry are limited so anything a candidate can do to give themselves an edge might be worth it to them. This includes investing in their appearance and increasing their confidence with hair restoration surgery.

As with many cosmetic procedures, the introduction of new  technology  can facilitate a positive change in perception for both the physician and their patients. A new FDA cleared device called “NeoGraft” now allows physicians the ability to offer “No Linear Scar,” hair transplantation to their patients via a semi-automated, no touch process which is more than twice as fast compared to previous methods. NeoGraft uses an automated hand tool to gently harvest individual grafts or FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) from the donor area, which are then transported into a small collection canister where they are continuously misted while they await transplantation. Because of the automation, the extracted FUE grafts are for the most part pristine and transplant ready with no additional cutting or preparation needed. NeoGraft also utilizes a secondary implanter hand piece which individually loads single FUE grafts into a micro cannula via gentle negative pressure and then they are injected into the standard recipient site by reversing the pressure. The process for the most part is a “no touch” procedure which improves graft viability to those handled by forceps.

The traditional, no strip harvest, FUE method has been around for awhile, but very few physicians even do it because it is so time consuming. Additionally, for those who even know about it, the FUE method is actually more appealing to patients mainly because of the “no scar” aspect of it, but up until now it has been financially out of reach for them as it is considered a premium procedure. NeoGraft now allows physicians to offer the more desirable, less traumatic FUE method and because of increased speed using automation, cost to the patient can be reduced.

Another key benefit of NeoGraft’s automation is that now, the need for multiple, “expensive” technicians has been dramatically decreased or eliminated. Physicians performing just one FUE hair transplantation case per month with NeoGraft and charging $10,000 on the extreme low end, equates to $120,000 a year in new revenue. Now just think if you were performing five, ten or even more cases per month using NeoGraft? With these very realistic numbers, NeoGraft offers without question the number one return on investment out of any other aesthetic  technology  and has the potential to pay for itself in less than a month.

As with many new  technologies , NeoGraft has had its share of critics, most of whom are veteran hair transplant physicians who see it appealing to other physicians wishing to expand their scope of practice, thereby decreasing the pool of patients. The reality is that NeoGraft will most likely play a lead role in expanding the patient pool by creating awareness about a new, less invasive way to perform hair transplantation surgery. This would appeal to candidates who maybe considered hair transplant surgery before, but were reluctant to have a large part of their scalp removed on the back of their head.

It goes without saying that any physician who wishes to expand their scope of practice will do so in a responsible manner, taking the necessary steps to ensure that they and their staff are properly trained. Although NeoGraft offers many training options, physicians may also choose to take advantage of a utilizing highly skilled, certified, per diem technicians available through their affiliate, US Neotechs. This offers the physician what amounts to a turnkey solution for adding NeoGraft to their practice and maintaining a high standard of care for their patients.

“The NeoGraft automated hair restoration device will become the new delegated aesthetic procedure of this decade for forward thinking aesthetic practices. Neograft will become the Botox and soft tissue filler for the most successful full service medical aesthetic practices.” – Dr. Steve Mulholland, Toronto, Canada, Founder of SpaMedica International, Dual certification in Plastic Surgery and Head and Neck Surgical Oncology

Source by David Bays

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