Concerns About NeoGraft

NeoGraftJust after I published a post about the NeoGraft tool, a phenomenon began occurring in the community. I’ve been seeing an increasing number of press releases that get brought to my attention from readers and from Google Alerts, announcing that some doctor with no experience in the art of hair restoration is now the first in his area to offer hair transplant surgery using this new NeoGraft tool. It could just be due to the marketing efforts of the makers of NeoGraft or it could be doctors following other doctors in issuing these press releases (and also the machine being shown on the Rachael Ray show)… but some of these physicians often have no real training, and this machine offers them another source of revenue with the ability to do what we have been doing manually.

Michael Oakes, president of NeoGraft Resource Group (makers of NeoGraft), even brags about the ability to sell the tool to doctors that have no prior experience performing hair transplants. In his Plaxo.com public profile, Oakes writes that the NeoGraft machine “opens up opportunity for non transplant physicains [sic] to add to there [sic] exsisting [sic] practice.” This is quite alarming to me!

I am writing this as a warning for those who are considering a NeoGraft transplant. Some additional comments that Dr. Robert Bernstein made on his site about the risks of the NeoGraft tool suggest real problems that will, almost certainly, produce failures of the transplant. I have seen one such failure recently from an experienced surgeon who used it. If you’re still considering having surgery with this tool, just be sure to check out the technology and the doctor who is performing it. Ask about the physician’s training and also ask to meet some patients who have had successful hair transplants with this tool. The proof is in the pudding.

Tags: neograft, concern, risk, hairloss, hair loss, fue, hair transplant, hair restoration

3 thoughts on “Concerns About NeoGraft

  1. Dr. Rassman,
    I am affiliated with NeoGraft.
    As I mentioned earlier on another blog, the NeoGraft device was shown at the Live Surgery Workshop in Florida last week. The follicles that were harvested, were done so in the presence of over 100 doctors that attended. These same doctors were able to see the grafts harvested by NeoGraft under the microscope and many of them took the opportunity to do so. I think you will find that there is agreement the grafts were in good condition, moist and plump and with a good amount of tissue. NeoGraft technology allows moisture to be drawn in to the tube and to the receptacle which keeps the grafts moist. Most important, there was a very low transaction rate with NeoGraft at the Live Surgery Show, as there is with the doctors who use the NeoGraft device with their patients.
    As I pointed out in another page on your blog, there is a split in the medical community between doctors who do the STRIP technique and those that do FUE hair transplants. Those doctors who do the STRIP technique claim that there is not enough protective tissue around the graft when the FUE procedure is used. Doctors doing STRIP are the ones who are writing about this, trying to make this a problem when it is not. Those who do FUE, many of whom were STRIP surgeons before they switched to FUE are not the ones claiming that this is a problem. In fact, it seems to me that once a doctor switches to doing FUE, he seldom reverts back to the STRIP technique unless the patient has a small donor area. FUE has been done for many years now by quite a few doctors in the U.S. and in Europe and there is not one bit of evidence to prove that FUE transplants are not as successful as STRIP transplants. As I stated on another page , if one believes in the before and after pictures on the sites of Hair Transplant doctors, then FUE transplants are as successful as STRIP transplants. I myself have personally seen many excellent FUE transplants that were done several years ago by a very skilled FUE hair transplant doctor. If doctors who do FUE did not get good before and after results why would they continue to offer this procedure? When done manually, it is more time consuming, tedious and more difficult than the STRIP procedure. Done manually, FUE is definitely not more financially advantageous to the doctor. Why would they endure these problems unless they believed in the FUE procedure?
    Another point is that more and more doctors are realizing that patients are looking for an FUE procedure because there are many advantages to the FUE procedure for the patient such as no elongated scars, less pain, less downtime, less complications. More doctors would have liked to offer FUE, but the problem has always been that the procedure takes too long, is too costly and the transaction rates are high. It is also a difficult procedure to master manually. NeoGraft has overcome these difficulties as it speeds up the process, reduces costs and greatly reduces the transaction rate. There are advantages also to FUE grafts, especially when harvested with NeoGraft. First they are uniform, rather than being all different sizes. This makes it easier to do more dense packing (taking care for the blood supply to be sufficient) and also easier to implant the grafts because all the recipient sites are the same size and the grafts fit the sites. Furthermore, with NeoGraft, there is no using tweezers for harvesting and implanting which could damage the grafts. As I mentioned on another page, if a doctor was willing to measure the uneven grafts cut by technicians from a strip of scalp and those harvested by the FUE method, my guess is that many of the uneven grafts from the strip of scalp would be the same size, with a similar amount of tissue as those grafts harvested by the FUE method. And if these grafts survive then there is no reason that FUE grafts will not survive just as well, and they do.
    Furthermore, one could write about issues with STRIP harvesting. Think of the hours the strip of scalp is kept in the hands of technicians under strong hot lights, which are drying, while the strip of scalp is being separated into follicles. Next, there is always a chance the follicles will be transected during this process. Many follicles are transected when the STRIP itself is excised. Furthermore, no follicle is uniform as with the FUE method. Hence placement is more complicated because the recipient sites are all the same size but the follicles are not. Some are fatter, others skinnier and so the placement is more difficult with the risk of damaging grafts. Often follicles have to be trimmed causing them to be handled which is not ideal.
    Finally, I want to address the following comment you made:
    “ Michael Oakes, president of NeoGraft Resource Group (makers of NeoGraft), even brags about the ability to sell the tool to doctors that have no prior experience performing hair transplants. In his Plaxo.com public profile, Oakes writes that the NeoGraft machine “opens up opportunity for non transplant physicains [sic] to add to there [sic] exsisting [sic] practice.”
    First, I would like to point out that Michael Oakes is not “bragging.” What Mr. Oakes is referring to is that NeoGraft technology greatly simplifies the FUE procedure for the doctor and makes it much easier for the doctor to learn how to do this procedure in a much shorter time than it would take to learn a manual FUE procedure. Furthermore, NeoGraft technology greatly reduces the chance for transecting follicles. This is what technology does. It is up to the doctor, once trained on the NeoGraft machine and the FUE technique to reach the highest standard possible. NeoGraft offers ways for the doctor to do this. It is also up to the doctor to familiarize himself with whatever other medical information and knowledge he requires which refers to hair transplantation. We provide access to this information and encourage doctors to avail themselves of whatever continuing educating is available in hair restoration. NeoGraft goes well beyond just training the doctor on our device because we care about the patients. The simple fact is, NeoGraft greatly shortens the learning curve for the doctor to do FUE. This is what technology does. As I mentioned in the other blog I addressed on your site, NeoGraft does live demonstration around the U.S. four times a month and every doctor can come and see for themselves the quality of grafts NeoGraft harvests. You can call NeoGraft to get dates and locations.
    Finally, I want to address your comment about a transplant failure. We are in contact with all the doctors who are using NeoGraft and we know of no doctor using NeoGraft who has had a transplant failure. I think it is however, important for you to remind your readers that there are many hair transplant doctor, both doing STRIP and FUE, in the country who have had transplant failures and some of these failures may be due to the doctor and others are due to some inherent quality of the patient. Finally, I think it is important to remember that NeoGraft is a tool and as such cannot have a transplant failure! If there is a failure ever, and we do not know of any at this point, it will be the doctor’s failure for not using the tool properly, or it will be a failure in the patient that has something to do with his own biology. NeoGraft is a tool and if used properly by the doctor, and if no inherent issues exist with the patient, the chances for success are excellent. No device can offer more than that.

  2. desirehair,
    Awesome, awesome retort. Thanks for providing that, it really eased my mind tremendously. I am planning to have NeoGraft 2/3/2011. Would you mind if I asked you a few quick questions before my procedure? Please email me at herscht@afgimail.com
    Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.
    -Tommy

  3. Folks,
    If you are a sales rep for Neograft, just STOP posting. People are not stupid. I beleive in Neograft, but you are really causing yourself problems trying to fight mediocrity. Re. the docs againts Neograft, they are “hired guns” for Neograft`s competition – just look at their past activities.

    For the public, check it out: experienced hair restoration docs have incorporated Neograft in their practices. It is safe and it works. Ta ta for now.

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