No bald spots here: Drs. Craig Ziering and Jose Crisanto III with Anthony Semerad (right)

A robot can give you your best hair ever
GLOSS THE RECORD - Marbbie Tagabucba (The Philippine Star) - September 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

What if you could get it all back, like nothing happened — like, even better than before?

I’m talking about hair: on your hairline, on your crown, on your brows, on your mustache and beard. Well, you can: you can walk into A Institute to get a procedure and walk out with your hair or your brows flourishing like Caitlyn Jenner — if that’s the look you choose — for the rest of your life.

“It can look natural,” Jenner’s hair magician Craig Ziering, also dubbed the best hair transplant surgeon in the world based in LA, dispels any misconceptions. “Hair restoration, in the right hands, if you go to the right doctors, you’ll get great results. My best work goes unnoticed. In LA, it’s funny how I see patients who come in and they want to have hair transplants look like these celebrities while half of them were my patients and no one knows.” (I would rattle off the rest of his A-list clientele of entertainment and sports celebs and royalty, but their identities cannot be disclosed.)

Just last week, he was in town exclusively for The A Institute to meet up with resident hair restoration specialist Jose Crisanto III and his team and exchange techniques and practices. Both Ziering and Crisanto have decades of highly specialized expertise in top facilities in the US treating patients from all over the world. The robotic surgical hair transplantation system ARTAS, designed to facilitate hair restoration using the follicular unit extraction (FUE) technique — precisely, painlessly and instantly — is a godsend.

The way it works is by enabling surgeons to identify all the healthy and thicker hairs from the back of your head. “This hair is genetically programmed to never be lost. Genetically, we lose the hair on the top of our head. When we move hairs from the back, they’ll continue to grow here,” Ziering explains. ARTAS then plucks the hair while giving enough space in between so the back of your head still looks dense. It is then transplanted, punched into tiny incisions, and planted into areas where you could use more hair.

To manually do this repetitively is very fatiguing for the surgeon. ARTAS has managed to not only automate the repetitive process, but does so with consistency in the quality of hair they harvest. “The result that we get with the patient is only as good as the tissue that we use to move. The weakest link in the process is going to bring down the entire surgery. The better the harvest — which is what the robot enables us to do, to give us the raw materials to do a planting — the better the results,” says Ziering. “I can thank ARTAS for making me look good.”

It’s a far cry from the old school strip method, probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think of hair surgery.

“When you do strip procedure, you’re tightening the scalp. There’s going to be tension and discomfort and it takes a longer time to heal. With the robotic FUE, the little dots — the incisions we make — close quickly, and within a week, we can style the hair with a new haircut and you can’t see that we’ve harvested anything at all,” notes Ziering.

Crisanto recalls, “You can have stitches and a linear scar from the strip method. Using ARTAS, there is none of that. The very fine pinpoint scars fade after a few days. One of the big things we like about it is that it’s painless,” he assures. Only A Institute has it in Manila — “in the most beautiful theater!” Ziering compliments — and YStyle has an exclusive interview with the two.

What causes hair loss, and how ARTAS helps

“There are other causes like thyroid disease, anemia, scarring and inflammatory disease that cause hair to fall out. The main reason is genetics,” says Ziering. “Statistically, we believe men have more hair loss but we have more women now that are more prevalent with hair loss. It’s equal now. We used to believe women held onto their hairline and thinned behind but it’s only 50 percent of the patients. A lot of female patients lose them in the corners.”

The caveat for female candidates who want to try out ARTAS is that you have to shave the back of the head. “Most women don’t want that,” says Ziering, which is why women choose to suffer through the strip method. “But if you have long hair, you can just comb it up and shave underneath. But in general, men have more dense hair at the back of the head and women, sometimes, it’s a little more spread out. They may be better candidates to have the strip procedure.”

The ARTAS is instrumental in creating natural results with very little downtime because it spaces out the procedure appropriately. Since it was released in 2011, it has been used to thicken and lengthen eyebrows on male and female patients, as well as grow full beards on men.

The role of a skilled surgeon is determining what angle the hair will grow from bulbs underneath the surface of the skin. Treating patients of different ethnicities from all over the world with different types of hairlines and hair characteristics, Ziering shares, “Most Asian patients have groupings of ones and twos and they have longer hair follicles than Caucasian patients. There are differences in densities and quality. You have to be smart enough and skilled enough to understand these differences to treat it. With the robot, with Asian hair you have to go a little deeper because the hair follicles are longer. With African-American hair, the patient’s hair is gonna be curly so it’s a different technique.”

Hair loss can happen at any age

The youngest patient Ziering has ever treated was 16 years old. “It’s very unusual. He was the son of two doctors and he had extensive hair loss early on. It was biopsy-proven male pattern alopecia. We did the procedure because psychologically it was taking its toll on him. He looked way older than he was. He didn’t wanna go to school, he didn’t wanna do social activities. By doing this, I feel like we changed his life. That’s what we enjoy doing. I like to say we make every day a good hair day.”

Crisanto has worked on patients from “18 to 80 years old,” he says. He worked on model/basketball player Anthony Semerad’s hairline just last year when Semerad was all of 25, but it was already starting on the sides of his hairline.

“I tried Minoxidil, potions and shampoos and all that. I would use a product for six months but nothing worked,” he says.

He went into the A Institute to do something about it without knowing that ARTAS, which he had read about in all the hair loss research he was doing, was already in the country. He had conditioned himself for blood and pain, to deal with veneer scars from the strip method that usually involve cutting five inches off the scalp in the back of your head. With the ARTAS technique, he was pleasantly surprised.

“I thought it was going to be painful but it was virtually pain free,” he says of the procedure. “Dr. Third kept talking to me, checking if I was comfortable, and I was just watching movies on my phone, on Facebook; I was relaxing. We even had a lunch break. I felt no pain.

“I heard this is permanent. Once you get it done, it’s not gonna fall out because the DHT testosterone that causes hair loss affects the hair in the front, not the hair on the back and this hair from the back doesn’t even know it’s been transplanted to the front so you won’t have any more hair loss in the front,” Semerad says. He got a regular, natural-looking hairline, not a straight, lined-up one, that will still look good as he ages.

The athlete was able to go back to work two days after. “You just have to wear a cap to cover the back (where the hair is shaved) but other than that, no one can tell,” he says. The most maintenance he had to do was to not shower the transplanted area directly but just pour water on it for a week.

As for the one-month growing period, Semerad explains that this is different for everybody. “I read that the planted hair will fall out over the months and a new strengthened strands will grow again. But with mine, what they planted in pretty much stayed. Nothing fell out and it grew longer and longer and I didn’t experience that. They said after three to five months you can see results, strands like stubble, and after a year, it’s full growth.”

In a barbershop in his Australian hometown, Semerad was able to put his new hairline to the test. “My hairdresser was like, ‘Do you want me to shave the front?’ cause he thought it was all baby hairs. And I said, ‘No, no! Just leave it! It’s growing,’” Semerad shares, now with his hairline brushed up into a lush pompadour, able to have fun with his hair again.

* * *

In the Philippines, ARTAS System is exclusively at The A Institute, 3/F Burgos Park Building, Forbestown Road, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For inquiries or to set an appointment, call 0917-7283838 or 573-1420 or email

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