Ziering Medical Grows Reputation in Hair Restoration with Technology and Innovation

by HCE Exchange on July 7, 2015

Ziering-thumbDr. Craig Ziering, Founder and Medical Director, Ziering Medical

Previously regarded as an industry filled with gimmicks and overly priced potions that rarely delivered, hair restoration procedures have made huge advances in science and technology to become reputable, trusted options that offer quality results.

Ziering Medical, based in Beverly Hills, Calif., but with offices throughout the United States, is a leader in hair-loss treatments and surgical hair restoration.

Pioneering new techniques

Dr. Craig Ziering, founder and medical director, has been committed to advancing technology in hair transplant surgery for over 20 years.

“When surgery really evolved and people could see the results, this industry gained credibility,” Ziering said. “We have come much farther now with robotic surgery, laser therapy, and medication. If you want to truly offer your patients the best in what is available, you have to be an early adopter of new technology and nonsurgical treatments.”

Ziering Medical was the second transplant practice in the United States to offer the option of robotic surgery for Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). Ziering’s Beverly Hills office also became a research and development site for Restoration Robotics, creator of the ARTAS Robotic System.

“Launching robotic hair transplant surgery is one of the most exciting things we’ve done,” Ziering said. “We took a risk, but now we are the most experienced practice with this technology, and we have had the privilege of refining it.”

Utilizing the ARTAS Robotic System for FUE procedures, Ziering was the first hair transplant surgeon to break the 2,000 and 3,000 graft barriers for a single procedure. Three years ago when the practice first implemented the ARTAS Robotic System, all parameters had to be adjusted by hand, but it’s much more automated now thanks in part to work done by Ziering and his experienced team of technicians.

Initially, Ziering said, the robotic device was used to harvest follicular units or hair grafts, one at a time, from the donor area back of the head. The grafts are then divided and carefully placed into the recipient sites, according to the surgeon’s design and judgment on what will achieve the most natural-looking results.

The next innovation in the works is to use a tablet to develop a 3D model of the patient’s head and map out the procedure, including hairline, hair pattern, follicles to transplant, and recipient-site creation. The model will then be transferred to the robot to line up markings on the head, and recipient sites can be made on the scalp.

“We are getting better and quicker with the robot, with the goal of combining the robot’s precision and repetition with the surgeon’s artistry and aesthetic skill,” Ziering said.

Ziering is never content with the status quo and is constantly pushing the technology to see what can be accomplished. The robotic procedure has opened up more options for patients as well. Previously, women had been told they were not good candidates for the robotic procedure. Ignoring conventional wisdom, Ziering became the first hair transplant surgeon to perform a robotic FUE procedure with a female patient.

In continuing to promote the science of hair restoration, Ziering Medical is participating in clinical trials using stem cell therapy to stimulate hair growth. For this procedure, fat is extracted and then injected back into the scalp to stimulate hair growth and thickening. Ziering said the initial results hold promise for early intervention in hair loss for patients with a strong family history.

Working closely with patients for a natural look

The key to Ziering’s success is not found in his adoption of technology alone, but also in his dedication to patients.

“In everything we do, we ask ourselves, ‘Will this be good for our patients? Does it offer them an alternative solution to their hair loss? Does it help them achieve their aesthetic goals? Will it have a positive impact on their lives and their hair-restoration journey?” he said.

Ziering works closely with patients to understand these aesthetic goals, to educate them on the procedure, and to help set realistic expectations.

“It is important to have a dialogue with patients and to listen to them,” he said. “It is the surgeon’s responsibility to consider what goes into the procedure–skill set, technology, limitations such as weak hair all over or too much loss as it relates to available donor hair–and use that to inform a discussion with the patient about expectations. We look to what we can do with small amounts of hair to create the impression of having a lot more.”

Ziering developed a hair-pattern classification system and surgical-restoration technique for identifying growth patterns on the back of the head called the Ziering Whorl.

Together, the system and technique help restore bald spots in a measured, scientific manner by recreating the patient’s natural hair pattern, giving patients natural-looking results with the fewest grafts possible. For patients with limited donor hair, this is great news.

Making the process work for patients and staff

Adapting to technology and pushing the envelope is challenging, particularly in a medical field where people tend to be creatures of habit and repetition. Ziering has developed a staff that is open to change and innovation. In turn, Ziering Medical has invested heavily in educating them.

“We have a strong educational component for our nurses, surgeons, patient advisors, and receptionists,” he said. “We need to make sure everyone is speaking the same language and giving the same information.”

Ziering also strives to educate patients through the organization’s website, advertising, educational materials, and testimonials. Going forward, he’s focused on discovering new ways of enhancing the patient experience by participating in research and exploring groundbreaking opportunities for hair restoration.

“I get a lot of satisfaction when a patient comes in and says they have been following our ads for years and are ready for a consultation,” he said. “We have many patients who are conscientious, gather their information in advance, and look to us as a credible source for answers.”

by Patricia Chaney

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