Aside from the cost, pain is perhaps the most common concern among men contemplating hair transplant surgery.
Will it hurt? Exactly how much pain can I expect? How long will I be in pain and can I handle it? If the fear of agonizing pain is the reason you haven’t explored this option, here is some information to help you make a final decision.
Read on for honest, realistic answers which will hopefully allay your fears.
Is Hair Transplant Surgery Painful?
The truth is that, yes, hair transplant surgery does come with a level of discomfort and pain. Anyone who tells you that it is totally painless is not being honest with you. It is difficult to say exactly how much because different people have varying thresholds.
What is worth noting is when patients experience discomfort.
The procedure is relatively painless
Hair transplantation is an invasive surgical procedure so it is understandable if you expect some pain just like you would with any other surgery. However, this kind of surgery is done under local anesthesia similar to what dentists use for procedures such as tooth extractions.
This is why many men who have had hair transplants say that they felt no pain during the procedure. As long as the anesthesia is administered correctly, the most one feels is a tingling or tugging sensation.
The only pain or discomfort at this point is the injection given to administer the anesthesia. After that your entire scalp is numb so you don’t feel any pain as the surgeon implants the hundreds of grafts on the recipient site.
With anesthesia administration being the only painful part of the procedure, many hair transplant surgeons go a step further to minimize pain by using a modern kind of needle known as ‘The Wand’ to inject the numbing agent. This is a specialized needle, originally designed for dentistry, which enables very slow, accurate, computer-controlled delivery.
According to Dr.Gray of the Hair Transplant and Restoration Center, the rapid expansion of surrounding tissue as the drug is injected is what causes pain. The Wand senses the state of the scalp tissue being injected and controls the rate of delivery, therefore, making injection slow enough to prevent pain.
After the Procedure
Now, this is when pain could set in. After the effect of the anesthesia begins to wear off and your scalp tissues wake up to the trauma of hundreds of incisions. Surgeons prescribe painkillers like ibuprofen to help manage pain and also recommend the use of ice packs to relieve swelling and redness.
Alternatively, the surgeon could administer more anesthesia at the end of the procedure. This gives you about three hours to get home, get settled, and take some of the prescribed pain medication. With that, you can avoid discomfort by having pain medication in your system by the time the numbness wears off.
FUT is more painful
Another point to note where the pain is concerned is the type of procedure you choose. Of the two main types of hair transplants, FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant) and FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction), FUT is generally more painful because it involves cutting a strip of skin from the back or side of the head. In this case, the donor site requires more time to recover and could be painful when touched or pressed for as long as 3 weeks after the procedure.
Yes, hair transplant surgery does hurt, but not nearly as much as you would expect. It’s nothing close to the excruciating experience so many men have in mind.
As long as you are under the care of a professional practitioner, the surgery itself should be painless because your scalp is numbed. Pain typically sets in after the surgery and can be managed such that you only endure temporary discomfort.
That said, we can conclude that the benefits of hair transplant surgery far outweigh potential pain. With painkillers and an ice pack, it is quite manageable.