Joseph Brown from VERO HAIR on Hair Restoration

Recently I got to catch up with Joseph Brown, the Global Vice President of Vero Hair on his favourite topic – Hair Restoration.
Are you interested in hair restoration solutions? There’s no denying that the hair restoration market has surged in recent years and is on track to see even greater substantial growth in the next decade as more consumers explore their options. VERO Hair™ offers the latest cutting-edge technologies to fully support your practice and patient needs.
“I ended up having a procedure and it really changed my life, it changed the way I felt, it just gave me renewed confidence. It made me comfortable that I was not going to lose my hair, that I had found a way to battle it, right. And so I wanted to help other people feel that way.” – Joey Brown
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@venusconceptaustralia @verohairrestoration @joeyb_83 @trishyhammond @anybodi_aesthetics @anybodi_industry

Transcript- Joseph Brown from VERO HAIR on Hair Restoration

Trish

Hello, listeners. It’s Trish Hammond here again from Aesthetics Uncensored podcast. And today I’m joined by Joey Brown. Now Joey is actually the Vice President of VERO Hair™, which is based in Toronto, Canada and today we’re going to have a chat about an exciting segment of medicine, which is all about hair restoration. So welcome, Joey.

Joey

Thank you very much. It’s such a pleasure to be here and I’m really excited to talk about our amazing technologies.

Trish

Fantastic. Yeah, it’s really good to see you again. So this is our take two so hopefully this time, I don’t mess it up. But he might say, so tell us, so you’ve been in VERO Hair™ for how long?

Joey 

So VERO Hair™ is a segment of Venus Concept that we created, just to serve our hair restoration services, I sort of created it by combining our robotic platform ARTAS®

 as the world’s only robotic hair restoration device, with NeoGraft, which is our other top tier, automated FUE device and I’ll go into details about both of them. But we combined those two devices and then we added some end sort of layered on if you will practise development management aspects to the program, clinical training and clinical preceptorship. So we really have created the world’s only comprehensive business solution for anyone who wants to get into hair restoration and we’ve actually had this program for three years now. We acquired Venus Concept’s NeoGraft in 2018 and then we acquired ARTAS® by merging with restoration robotics, and acquiring the technology in 2019. So it’s been three years and we have absolutely revolutionised the way hair restoration is being done globally, in that in that short period of time.

Trish 

Amazing. I know. It’s just it’s kind of like just filtering through like wildfire at the moment, the industry, there’s no doubt about it. But tell us because you actually built the Gillette man, where he liked the company so much that he bought it. So tell us your story about how you actually started in the hair restoration market.

Joey 

Yeah, so uh, like a lot of people, you know, I’m a patient. And I became very, very passionate about it, I had a fairly lucrative career in the entertainment world, in my 20s. And I started to develop a receding hairline and that wasn’t really good for my self esteem or for business. And so I started sort of looking into my own solution, right, doing my due diligence to figure out like, what do you do to battle hair loss, right? And what do you do about the hair you’ve already lost? How do you get that back, right? And so through that, I ended up having a procedure and it really changed my life, it changed the way I felt it just it gave me a renewed confidence. It made me comfortable that I was not going to lose my hair, that I had found a way to battle it, right. And so I wanted to help other people feel that way. And so I switched careers and maybe having a receding hairline in my late 20s was a blessing in disguise. Because it put me into a business that I truly love. It’s fun, it’s lucrative, I travel the world, we put positions into the hair restoration business in a seamless way, and allow them to help more and more and more people feel better about themselves. I couldn’t be happier with what I do.

Trish 

Yeah, that’s fantastic. And one thing I’ve noticed, this was like you said, you help Physicians to all increase their business and also help patients at the same time, which is great. But what I’m noticing is there’s more and more people that are getting these devices that are actually not overqualified. That’s a really bad thing to say, but I would have just thought, like, I’ll use an example. So Plastic Surgeons are actually buying this device to offer to their patients, because they know that that’s what patients want. Can you tell us a little bit about how that kind of all came about?

Joey 

Yeah, I would gladly. So hair restoration, historically, is a very labour intensive process and procedure. So today, the average hair transplant requires about the transfer of around 2000 grafts. So an average case would be 2000 grafts, right? So I mean, that’s a lot. What we’re talking about doing is removing from the donor area, the back of the scalp, 2000 individual follicular units or follicles and then transferring or transplanting them to the front, we use that hair to fill in where the hair has been lost and so it’s very labour intensive. So if you think about doing that by hand, you can imagine how tiring and how cumbersome it would be. You can also imagine that like doing anything that’s highly repetitive. The more you do it, the less accurate you’re becoming at it. You know, sort of the example I give and I think we discussed it yesterday. You know, if I asked someone to sign their name, right, they could probably do the first time very well even with my horrible penmanship. I can get it right one time, right. But then think about signing your name 2000 times. Will the number 2000 look like number two? Well, it won’t, right? The more you do it, the less accurate, the more sloppy, if you will, your signature will become right? Well, robotics is perfect for something that’s highly repetitive motion, like, which that’s what hair restoration is so that’s why robotics is so great for this particular procedure and it’s revolutionised it. You know, if I taught the robot, not me, but if our engineers trained the robot programmed an algorithm to sign your name, if you signed your name, and then we took that signature and programmed it into the robot and taught the robot to do it, it could do it 2000 times, and signature number 2000 would be an exact overlay of signature to write because the robot does not suffer human fatigue. Now, what that means for the patient is the best quality graft, we’re trying not to transect or damage the graft as we take it out, right. And so the robot is micron accurate when it harvests the hair and it can do it over and over and over again, without damaging the follicles. That’s important because what goes in the front is really only as good as what comes out of the back and we have to take the hairs out without by protecting them, without damaging them and so I think patients, they get that they inherently understand that millennials, particularly, you know, gravitate to robotics, because most of them grew up with computers in their pockets, right in their cell phone and so I think that technology is what’s driving the industry, no one wants to lose their hair and if they are, they want it back. But they now understand, hey, there’s the technology, combined with the skill set of a Plastic Surgeon, right? And when you put those two together, it’s the perfect marriage. Patients love it, and they seek it out in droves.

Trish 

Having said that, as well, though, it’s not just Plastic Surgeons that can actually use the device, is it? Because everyone’s trained, but so you have to be a Physician, don’t you? Can you tell us about what qualifications you need to have to be able to use the NeoGraft and the ARTAS®?

Joey 

Sure, absolutely. And you’re spot on correct, you do not have to be a Plastic Surgeon, but Plastic Surgeons as a whole. They like the devices and the procedures because obviously hair restoration is an aesthetic procedure, right? But we have many Dermatologists, many General Practitioners who just want to maybe get into a different segment of medicine, you know, and help more people in a different way. So it is a Physician oversight procedure, right. And so you do have to be a Physician to acquire the devices and to treat patients with them. But you do not have to be specifically a Plastic Surgeon, we may we mainly cater to Plastic Surgeons derms, at General Practitioners who are looking for maybe a new revenue stream and in sort of a different outlet to help people. We offer comprehensive training, we have preceptorships around the world with some of the top hair restoration Surgeons in the world. So and that’s great, because unlike most device companies where they will teach you what I call the buttonology of the device, like where’s the power button? Where’s on-off? How do you move the device? Right? So we certainly do that with our clinical training staff but we offer a preceptorship. It’s the nuances of the procedure. It’s procedure training, not device training, right. So if you would come to one of our preceptors, anyone who purchased our device is invited to one of our preceptorship’s beautiful destination locations around the world. And then they can understand exactly the fundamentals and even down to the nuances of the procedure itself. We want to make them experts in hair restoration and then give them the absolute best tools to get the absolute best outcome for their patient.

Trish 

And tell us because hair restoration has come a long way because I’ve got an uncle who actually had done hair transplant in court in those days, he had something that he had these things in his head that look like plugs and then eventually he lost a bit more hair so he actually and I don’t know what else they did. They did something to a scalp but he actually looks like he’s been in a bit of an accident. Can you tell us a bit about like, where it was then and where it is now because I’ve seen how it’s done now and it’s actually quite mind blowing because it’s actually really minimally invasive. Like there’s no cuts or nothing. It’s just pulling the hair out from one spot and actually sticking out. That’s how I understand it so can you give us that rundown of how it’s where it was and where it is now?

Joey 

I gladly and happily listened, I think that your description of it is exactly what it is if any layperson who watched it would describe it exactly the way you just did you know that is spot on. When hair restoration started, I mean, and just a quick sort of a biology lesson. Most of your listeners probably have noticed that even severely balding men always maintain that sort of fringe hair on the sides in the back of their scalp. I call it sort of the friar tuck hair. It’s called the skirt. Okay, this skirt, so that skirt is permanent that hair is permanent, because it is simply immune to the hormone that causes hair loss, right? So the hormone dihydrotestosterone that affected the hair that was lost did not affect the hair in the skirt. Right? So then basically, with a hair transplant surgery, what we’re doing is we’re essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul, right? We’re taking the surplus hair in the skirt, and we’re relocating it to the area where they’ve lost their hair, right? The hair will continue to grow there, because keep in mind, it’s unaffected by the hormone, right? So we’re just relocating it, when they first started doing this, they used quite large biopsy punches, and they would move 10 or 12, or 15 hairs in a circular plug, right? And so they would extract it that way, and then implant it that way and then it looked very unnatural, because your hair does not grow in circular clusters of 10 or 12 hairs.

Trish 

Sorry, so you’re telling me that every time they put like a plug in or whatever, it was, like 10 hairs in one spot?

Joey 

Correct! 

Trish 

Oh, my God. 

Joey 

Correct! Yeah, that is correct. And so the results, and we’ve all seen it, you know, it looks like a you know, a bit of a toothbrush, right? 

Trish 

A poplin, a poplin.

Joey 

Yeah, that’s it, that’s exactly what it looks like. And so they were successful in that the transfer of the hair took in, the hair grew so they were able to grow hair in the recipient area. But if the goal was to give an aesthetically pleasing, more youthful result, they failed miserably in accomplishing that, right? So then, and this is decades ago, right? So the industry and that procedure had to evolve and so what it evolved into was what’s known as the strip surgery or the strip procedure, where they would lift up the hair in the in the skirt, they would shave a strip of hair, about a half of an inch wide anaesthetise that, and surgically excised that strip of tissue. So it was a very invasive procedure, they would close the wounded area back together and suture it, and then they take the strip of skin, and then they would dissect it into just single and double and triple follicles because that’s how your hair naturally grows in groupings of ones twos and threes randomly, as opposed to circular plugs, right cylinder like circles, circles of plugs, right? And so that procedure gave a far more pleasing aesthetic result. But it came at the cost of an invasive surgery that left scarring under the skirt, right? So then you would have to wear your hair longer to hide that and now you’re maybe forced into a hairstyle that you otherwise would not choose. So what we’re trying to do is to give the optimal outcome with the most minimally invasive procedure, right, because we want this to be easy for the patient and easy for the doctor palatable, right. So what the robot does, the robot is a binary ocular stereoscopic image guided robot. That’s a mouthful but basically what it means is that the robot has a patented vision system that allows it to look at each and every hair in the skirt in the donor area and it will track the angle at which that hair leaves the skin, it tracks it 60 times per second, it follows the trajectory of that shaft of hair sub terminally, all the way to the hair follicle so that when the robot fires the needle, and it’s a tiny little needle, and it goes over the shaft of hair and makes a pinprick into the skin and incision, and it collects the follicle intact with micron accuracy. So to your point, when we just pull out one hair, that’s exactly what we’re doing and that’s how it does it. And then that hair is then inserted into a tiny little needle size opening in the recipient area. And then all of the hairs are populated that way into that area, resulting in a perfectly randomised, natural, just sort of almost God given result. And patients, they just love it, they just absolutely love it. Today, it’s undetectable that a person has had a hair transplant and there’s minimal scarring in the donor area so that you can wear your hair any any style you want. So all of the inherent problems that we’ve suffered through history with hair restoration, and trying to solve those problems, we have effectively solved them with our robotic technology.

Trish 

Fantastic. I have to admit I’m a little bit obsessed by it because I have always thought to myself that I’ve got really quite fine hair, I blame it on my first husband actually I was married at 18 and I noticed within a very short time that I was thinning around the top and I’ve never actually got it back and I did go to actually someone, a Trichologist just to see if I could get it sorted but there was no solution. So and the reason I’m alluding to this is it’s not just men, is it because a lot of lot of women that I speak to as well they think I just want a little bit more here they don’t need like a what you think be a full transplant but they just want a little bit fuller kind of here on the top or whatever so the procedure is not just for guys, it’s a real grind procedure for women as well, hey,

Joey

Absolutely 100%. I mean, it’s for anyone who suffers from hair loss and obviously is emotionally bothered by it, right? That’s how I got here so I understand the plight, right? And so yes, it is for anyone and the NeoGraft is also an amazing technology for doing smaller procedures. Primarily for females, just exactly what you’re describing and yes, you can, we can do small areas, we can do large areas, we often do eyebrow transplantation. I know, we talked about that a little bit yesterday, there’s a phenomenon where people over pluck their eyebrows to extinction, right? And then they, your options, then are tattooing right or to have your own natural hair and a lot of people would rather have their own natural hair so we can simply remove some donor hair from the skirt area that you’ve taught me, and then use that to recreate the eyebrow, it looks perfectly natural. So yes, anybody who suffers from hair loss would have to come in, have a consultation with a Physician make sure that they are a good candidate, most people are, and that hair transplantation is easier and more affordable than ever before. I mean, I say that because there’s financing options available for it. So, you know, today I say hair loss is a choice, right? A lot of people have hair loss, and they shave their head and they may maybe feel better and look better that way. I have friends that do that. But if you’re losing your hair, and you don’t want to and you want more hair, then hair restoration might be the perfect option for those people.

Trish  

Yeah, totally. And just on the eyebrow thing. When you put the new hair into the, at the donor site, the recipient areas sorry, receiving the hair, of course, I got it round the wrong way. So with your eyebrows, does that mean your eyebrow hair would still grow?

Joey

It would. So it is scalp hair that is being used to replace the eyebrow, it looks perfectly natural, again, undetectable that that was done in most cases, but the hair is scalp hair so it is growing. So you would have to trim the eyebrow, which you know, it’s fine and most people are happy to do that to have their eyebrows back. You know, we also do beard transplants routinely, you know, a lot of people have an odd shape or misshapen or missing area. In their beard, there’s a lot of cultures where beards are prominent, and maybe even expected. And so to those people having a beard transplant is a good idea. You know, just back to women for a second, to say that, men are maybe depressed over hair loss, women are far more bothered by it, generally speaking, just distraught over it maybe even debilitated. And so helping people feel better about themselves, restore their hair, restore their confidence, give them a more youthful appearance, I can’t think of anything in life that’s better to do for humanity and so that is the driving force and Venus Concept is the driving force behind VERO Hair™. It’s the driving force in my heart and so we are going to continue to develop our technologies to the betterment of anyone who wants and needs more hair.

Trish  

I love that because that way, we’ve got, we can get sorted now and we’ve got something to look forward to as well, because because I know that you guys are on the leading edge of technology so it’s really good. And I know there’s probably more things coming out as well so I look forward to seeing that. But I want to ask you another quick question. If you don’t mind, before we go, I wanted to ask you so if someone was getting 2000 hairs done, can you tell us how long it would take what would be the process and if there’s any before, during, an aftercare that would need to be need to happen and how long before the hair grows back?

Joey 

Great questions, all fantastic questions. The process of transplanting 2000 grafts would probably take four to six hours. It’s still somewhat labour intensive, even though it’s being done robotically and the robot does not suffer human fatigue, but there is a time in the process and so you know that the patient is awake during the process, they can stand up stretch their legs go to the restroom, they’re usually watching television, playing on their iPad, even eat a sandwich, or lunch while we’re doing the procedure. It’s all done under local anaesthesia and so they’re quite comfortable. It’s virtually a pain free procedure, according to most people who have had it including myself so the process, we would harvest the donor hair from the back and then we would basically implant it into the front. It requires trimming the area of the hair, we would have to trim that very short to do the process. It takes three to six months before the new hair begins to grow. Because your hair is cyclical. It grows through cycles. Every hair on your head goes through the anagen catagen and telogen effluvium phases, which means that it grows and then sheds and then regrows and once the hair sheds the follicle that was producing that hair becomes dormant for 90 to 120 days before it grows another hair. So that phenomenon continues where we implant the hair, right that’s just the nature of the terminal hair. So I said all that to say that you will begin to see the hair grow in about three months, three to four months, most people’s hair grows a half an inch a month, so six to nine months, you will start to notice, you know, have noticeable, you know, changes, and that we would say the full result would be expected in one year, at that point, the hair would have grown out to what we would consider maturity.

Trish  

Okay, so you can pretty much be confident that within like, six to 12 months it looks, what could you say six months that you would like? Actually, what I’m trying to ask is how long before you can actually go out? Like, am I stuck at home for a month or so?

Joey 

No, not at all. Not at all that so and I meant I should have spoken to it, the healing process. So we think about downtime in two ways. So social downtime, right, and physical downtime. So this is a minimally invasive dermatological procedure, right? So it’s literally a needle that’s extracting the hair, right. So most of our patients are sort of physically healed in a matter of days and then there’s some redness and a little bit of scabbing, where we’ve planted the hair, and that tends to fade away within a week, sometimes 10 days, depending on their skin type and complexity and tone. Most people are able to return to work in days, and they’re able to return to basically any social event within a week to 10 days, you’ll feel fine, but there may be some detectability that you’ve had something done and it could look a little bit like, maybe a sunburn a little, a little redness in the area that we’ve treated just as an example.

Trish  

I guess you could wear a hat anyway, it’s not like,

Joey 

Absolutely could wear a hat, you have to be very careful how you shampoo and how you shower and there’s a little bit of limitations on how we want our patients don’t wash their hair following a transplant for the first seven to ten days. Beyond that you resume most normal activities.

Trish 

Amazing. Look, I gotta say, thank you so much. I can’t even think of any other question that I would actually even ask if I was having it done, except we’re gonna go get done.

Joey   

So there are several providers in Australia, and more and more people are looking to get into it. It’s a phenomenal technology. We are truly helping people. If you suffer from hair loss, you can go to our website at Venus Concept. You can go to our website at either ARTAS or NeoGraft and you can find a provider near you.

Trish 

Yeah, fantastic. And you know what, if all else fails, just drop me an email to [email protected]. That’s anybodi with an “i” and I’ll put you in touch with someone as well that it’s close by you so thank you so much for joining us today.

Joey   

Thank you so much Trish. I really enjoyed it and it’s just a pleasure to be here. I love your country.

Trish 

Thank you so much. Bye bye

You can find out more about VERO Hair™ here https://www.venusconcept.com/en-gl/vero-hair.htm 

Check out for any practitioners who do this hair restoration here in Australia https://anybodi.com.au/members/ 

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Well, like all good quickies it's time to dust off and get back to our day jobs! If you liked the podcast please rate us because we need the validation for our fragile hearts. If you have a story to share or have a burning question you would like us to cover please slide into our DM’s on Instagram at @transformingbodiespodcast. Stay positive, keep your boobs and chins high until we chat again xoxo Trish