The 19th Annual Meeting of The International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS)
The 19th Annual ISHRS meeting for 2011 was held in Anchorage, Alaska. It was my first trip to Alaska and I was looking forward to seeing the beauties of the largest state in America. Being very busy with many different activities, it made my time for sightseeing nearly impossible. I was required to be available one day prior to the opening day of the conference to get prepared for the many different events which were to come.
Hair Transplant Workshop
I was one of the faculties for the surgical workshop. There were many new hair transplant surgeons who came from around the world to this annual scientific meeting to learn more about the art and science of hair restoration. The workshops included topics such as hair line design, cutting, placing, anesthesia, and donor harvesting and I was there to teach the latter course. There was great interaction between the faculties and students as they got the chance to learn the hands on techniques of surgical hair restoration.
Latest techniques of Hair Transplantation
The main thrust of the conference was the lecture series which gave a forum to many lecturers covering multiple topics regarding the many different areas of hair restoration. Since hair transplant surgery is still a relatively new field in the medical world, the greatest emphasis was on new technologies in hair transplantation, the latest techniques of hair transplant surgeries, devices, tools and methods of diagnosis and the treatment of hair loss.
This year I was the moderator for the Giga-Session Hair Transplantation Panel. The panel included 2011 Golden Follicle Award winner Dr. Jerry Wong and Doctors Sharon Keene, Arthur Tykocinski, and Akaki Tsilosane. The discussions included properly choosing the best candidates for large number of grafts hair transplant surgeries (Giga Session Hair Transplants), planning for surgeries, as well as the full spectrum of Giga-Session Hair Restoration.
The Laxometer II was one of the newest innovative technology devices presented by me. The Laxometer was developed as a response to the need within the hair restoration industry for a measuring device for calculating the scalp laxity or skin mobility before hair transplantation surgeries. The Laxometer precisely measures the mobility of the scalp giving greater accuracy for larger surgeries or if a patient has a tight scalp. This device was introduced to the market for increasing the safety, precision, and efficiency of the hair transplantation.
Another device presented at the 19th Annual ISHRS Scientific Meeting was the upgraded Restoration Robotics, now called ARTAS System. This machine is now FDA approved for use in the United States and several lectures were presented about this new hair transplant technology. ARTAS was developed to help meet the need for increased precision and speed for scoring the follicular grafts in Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplants. This is considered a very new technique in hair transplantation, but the robot currently only assists in one step of hair restoration. That is scoring the follicular grafts. We still do not have a perfect automated system to extract and transplant the hair grafts. This device will need more time for testing and post-operation, long-term patient results.
Other New Technologies for Hair Restoration
In last few years, we have witnessed emergence of several new tools in hair transplantation that carried the claim to be the latest technologies and ground breaking tools for the field. A lot of devices claimed they could change the way hair transplantation was done. However, many of those new tools did not deliver on their promise. This has been a trend which has continued to be repeated for several years now. One of these devices was the NeoGraft that was sold to many non-hair transplant doctors with the promise of the simplicity of use and the minimal need for a surgeon’s involvement. The company has stated that the technicians can run the machine for the most part. One major issue the NeoGraft company forget to point out to these new costumers is the fact that hair transplant surgery requires experience and proper training in order to deliver great result. No machine, especially in the wrong hands, can substitute for lack of experience and expertise.
There were a number of lectures presented regarding the problems involved in hair multiplication, auto-cloning, hair stem cell research, and others important topics. Like years previous, there were several debates about Strip FUT vs. FUE, manual FUE vs. automated FUE, also sharp vs. blunt punches for Follicular Unit Extractions.
Controversies in Hair Restoration
This year we had many controversial lectures such as lasers for hair restoration and growth factors, as well as mesotherapy and PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma). The ISHRS allows for an open forum for hair transplant surgeons to share their innovative ideas, work, and theories that they can be giving constructive criticism and analysis by other experts in the field. This has been effective in keeping members of the society updated with new ideas and methods for hair restoration. It is unanimously agreed by members of ISHRS that hair restoration surgery is a progressing science and art which is rapidly growing into more advanced technologies and cellular level manipulations. It is well accepted that greater research is needed in order to thrust the industry forward in these new innovative areas for the art and science of hair restoration