Increasing interest in follicular unit extraction (FUE) hair transplantation has led to the development and refinement of a range of manual punches, motorized devices and automated surgical tools. One such tool is the Powered SAFE Scribe. Developed by world-class hair restoration physician Dr. James Harris, this FUE tool represents years of research and innovation that began with its non-motorized predecessor.
The first "SAFE" system was invented by Dr. Harris in an attempt to reduce high transection rates associated with sharp manual punch tools. The solution, which Dr. Harris called the Surgically Advanced Follicular Extraction ("SAFE") tool, was a blunt manual punch. While the blunt punch was effective, it required a three step technique where the skin was superficially scored with a sharp punch, dissected deeper with a blunt punch (to avoid transection) and, finally, the follicular unit was removed with forceps. For a more comprehensive discussion about sharp versus blunt punches, punch size and the two and three step technique, visit "Sharp versus Blunt Punches Used for Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)".
In order to overcome the multiple step process and increase the number of grafts extracted per hour, Dr. Harris applied the blunt tip to a rotation/oscillating punch and called it the powered SAFE scribe. Below, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Powered SAFE Scribe compared to other popular FUE extraction tools.
Advantages of the Powered SAFE Scribe
FUE hair transplantation has traditionally been a slow and tedious procedure. Due to the time it takes to safely harvest individual follicular units from the donor area, some clinics limit FUE sessions to one thousand grafts or fewer per day. However, a skilled and experienced hair transplant surgeon using the Powered SAFE Scribe may be able to harvest up to 500-700 grafts per hour with reduced follicle damage. This could potentially enable hair transplant surgeons to perform much larger sessions exceeding 2000 grafts per day. These larger FUE procedures are commonly referred to as FUE megasessions.
Harvesting comparison with SAFE Scribe
In addition to increasing the number of FUE extractions per hour, the Powered SAFE Scribe is said to be minimally invasive, resulting in less tissue trauma during extraction and reducing transection of the follicular units to an estimated 2%. As with other FUE tools, the extractions result in virtually no visible scarring and faster healing time over the follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS), also called the strip harvesting technique. For a more comprehensive discussion of strip harvesting versus follicular unit excision which includes a video, visit "FUT strip harvesting vs FUE for donor extractions".
Dr. Harris states that nearly 100% of his patients who are also good candidates for strip harvesting would make good candidates for FUE using the Powered SAFE Scribe. Moreover, the Powered SAFE Scribe has also been considered a particularly useful extraction device for individuals with gray hair and African American patients.
Disadvantages of the Powered SAFE Scribe
While using a motorized or "powered" FUE extraction device may minimize fatigue hair restoration physicians typically experience during an FUE hair transplant procedure and produce cleaner cuts with less friction, some hair transplant surgeons feel that manual punches provide more tactile feedback and are easier to control.
Lastly, the blunt tip of the Powered SAFE Scribe means more oscillations/rotations are required to penetrate the scalp and reach the appropriate depth during extraction. Some experts believe this creates excessive heat, tension, friction, and torsion on the grafts and surrounding tissue. For a more comprehensive discussion about the benefits and limitations of both manual tools and motorized devices, visit "FUE Hair Transplant: Manual Versus Motorized Extraction Devices".
The Powered SAFE Scribe developed by Dr. James Harris is highly popular due to its ability to harvest viable grafts for transplanting more quickly while reducing fatigue for the operating surgeon. Thus, it has been adopted by several leading hair transplant surgeons worldwide, including Coalition physicians Dr. H. Rahal, Dr. Ron Shapiro, and Dr. Robert Bernstein.
Use of the Powered SAFE Scribe has the potential to expedite FUE procedures, speed healing and improve hair growth. However, hair transplant patients should remember that the skill of the hair restoration physician is more important than the tools they prefer and, in the right hands, a variety of manual, powered and automated FUE tools can and have produced outstanding results.