I was looking at Dr. James Harris’s website and noticed some research he has done with new instrumentation for his SAFE System. I e-mailed him and asked if he planned to try to get this published and I have not heard back from him. Is there any data on the industry average of transection rates? Here is some of what his research stated according to his website:
“In the study by Rassman, Bernstein, et al, 20% of patients were “not” good candidates for FUE due to the high rates of follicle damage. Dr. Harris’ Safe System is being used by many doctors as a tool for FUE. It uses blunt dissection. It was this technology, that was adopted by the Artas® system and incorporated into their FUE protocol.
“Discussion/Results: Over 40 patients have been subjects of this new methodology and instrumentation. The range of grafts extracted in this series has been between 50 and 1400 grafts. Transection rates of hair follicles have ranged from 0% to 8% thus far. All patients so far would be considered candidates for FUE using the SAFE System, as the follicle damage rate is less than 20%. The rate of follicle extraction has been as high as 300 grafts per hour. A test case on the extraction of 20 grafts each on an African American patient and a gray haired patient revealed a 0% transection rate.”
Conclusion: The SAFE System has the capability to expand patient candidacy for FUE to virtually 100% of patients, including African Americans and those with gray hair.
Dr Harris is my friend and he is a great surgeon. He has devised a powered blunt punch technique which seems to solve the transection problems in the hands of many doctors. There is no data on the industry average of FUE transection rate. My publication with Dr. Bernstein is the only publication I know of and in my opinion the true industry average for transection is probably more than 10%. It’s just that nobody will ever admit to it since it will kill their business. In my practice with Dr. Pak (in which he performs most of the FUE procedures), our transection rates range from 3 to 10% (depending on the individual patient’s hair/scalp characteristics). In the past, we have disqualified patients who were poor candidates (produced transections above 10%) as we test them prior to the scheduled FUE surgery.
In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as 100% success or 0% transection rate. Only thing 100% in this world is death and taxes. Transection rate is not necessarily the golden standard, as damage to the hair grafts occur when they are removed and probably cause more damage than a transection rate of 10%.