TAMPA (FOX 13) - By age 35, two-thirds of men will have begun to notice some hair loss, including receding hairlines or finer, thinner hair.
Their changing appearance can result in lower self-esteem -- even withdrawal from social engagements. Millions turn to topical treatments, pills, or even surgery to fix the problem.
Now, there is a high-tech way to turn back the clock. It's a robotic system named ARTAS.
"It's the same kind of technology used for assembling an automobile, so it's very strong. It could punch a hole in the wall," explained Dr. James Slusher, a hair restoration specialist at the Bassin Center in Tampa.
Slusher demonstrated how the robotic arm instead delicately punches out hair follicular units, the hair shaft, and the root system that helps them grow.
The computerized ARTAS system uses multiple cameras to analyze and target hair in the donor region -- the part of the head that still has healthy hair.
Slusher showed us how the machine, using a tiny, cookie-cutter-like blade, "in a split second...scores the outside, the outer perimeter of the hair shaft." Then a deeper, blunt punch is made so that the hair follicle can be gently removed with forceps.
The robot uses its 3-D capability to build a map, automatically removing other healthy hairs within a grid.
Dr. Slusher says while the robot also has capabilities to implant the follicles on the top portion of the head, patients who undergo transplants on their crown must depend on humans to place and position their new hair.
The cost of the procedure depends on how many follicular units are extracted and transplanted. Dr. Slusher says an average cost is about $10,000 to $15,000.