Is a hair transplant painful?

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Sternberg Written by Joana on 3 Apr 2023

A hair transplant is generally considered to be painless, especially when compared to other surgical procedures. However, it is still an operative procedure that may cause discomfort among patients. This article discusses the level of pain you can expect during and after your hair transplant surgery and how to avoid any pain.

Fast Factssvg

Painless hair transplant Painless methods
Local anesthetic injections Donor and recipient area
Hair transplant procedure Extraction & insertion phase
Pain after surgery Rarely tightness, headache

Why are hair transplants not painful?

During a hair transplant, the surgeon will make small incisions into the skin or take a strip of skin in the case of FUT. While these cuts are quite small, they may cause pain due to nerves that send pain signals from all over the scalp. Fortunately, doctors have many ways to make this process a lot more comfortable. 

Your hair doctor may use the following methods to make the hair transplant more painless for you:

  • Use Local Anesthesia Injections
    In order to block the nerves on your scalp, surgeons use local anesthesia injections. After administering local anesthesia, patients can feel a numbing sensation that makes the whole procedure virtually painless. You are likely to feel negligible pain, even if you manage to stay lucid during the operation.
  • Give Pain Relief Medications
    On top of local anesthesia, surgeons may also provide pain relief medication to alleviate further discomfort. They can also help you relax for a smooth-sailing hair transplant experience.
  • Create a Relaxing Environment
    Being anxious and stressed can make you more susceptible to feeling pain during surgeries. Your doctor can make you feel more comfortable by creating a relaxing environment through music, aromatherapy, or temperature adjustments.

Most common hair transplant method

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How painful are the local anesthetic injections?

Local anesthetic injections are used to numb specific areas of the body during surgical procedures. Most hair doctors use small injections with very fine needles that are almost as wide as a single human hair. 

Patients might feel some discomfort when the doctor administers the injection but it soon subsides as the area becomes numb. There might be a tingling sensation or soreness after it wears off.

Pain during the hair transplant

Here’s a rundown of what you can expect during the two main phases of the hair transplant procedure:

  • The Extraction Process: Patients receive a local anesthetic in the donor region before the extraction phase. Once the region is numb, the whole extraction process becomes painless. 
  • The Insertion Process: Just like extraction, the surgeon will administer local anesthetic to the recipient region or balding area. This will make the patient’s entire scalp numb, removing any feelings of pain or discomfort. During this time, the surgeon will begin making incisions and implanting the grafts into the required areas.
    If patients feel pain or discomfort returning during the procedure, they can alert the staff or doctor to re-numb the areas with more medication.

Hai Transplant FUT or FUE

Pain after hair transplantation

Local anesthesia takes care of all the pain that patients may experience during the surgery. But what happens when the numbing anesthesia wears off? Well, most people feel only minimal discomfort, and that too, due to the tightness of the scalp.

To take care of that, the doctor may administer another dose of local anesthetic after the hair transplant surgery. The effect of this injection can last up to three hours which gives patients enough time to settle down at home and take their pain relief medication. When patients take their pain relief medicine at the recommended time, they should feel almost no pain even as the anesthesia wears off.

They might be instructed to take pain relief pills a couple of more times that night to alleviate any discomfort. After the initial night, most patients should feel nothing beyond a bit of tenderness in the scalp. If there is any remaining pain, the doctor may recommend continued usage of pain relief medicine or over-the-counter remedies.

In case patients feel an increase in pain, tenderness, swelling, or burning within the first few days, they should contact their hair surgeon right away. These could be signs of a more serious infection that should be addressed immediately.

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Due to new techniques and advancements in the hair restoration industry, hair transplants have become increasingly painless and convenient. While surgeries can still be intimidating due to their invasive nature, you can expect to feel temporary discomfort from the procedure if all goes well. 

In addition to that, the high success rate of hair transplants suggests that most patients tend to be satisfied with the experience and results. To lower your recovery time and level of pain even more, you can go for the minimally invasive FUE procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the pain last after a hair transplant?

Are you awake during a hair transplant?



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