Have you been considering getting hair transplant surgery? Today, this is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures among men and women. But despite its popularity, you are a bit hesitant because you want to avoid the potential pain and discomfort. In any medical or surgical procedure, most patients frequently ask about the level of pain, especially for elective or cosmetic surgery, like hair transplant surgery. Questions such as “Is a hair transplant painful?” or “Does a hair transplant hurt?” are common.
What is a hair transplant?
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure that restores hair in the thinning and balding area by extracting healthy hair from the back and sides of the head (donor area). Some also call it hair restoration surgery. There are various techniques available today – FUT, FUE, Hybrid Procedures, Robotic Hair Restoration and others. There are many technologies out there to perform Hair Transplants including the ARTAS Robot, Neograft, SmartGraft, ATERA FUE System, WAW FUE, Cole FUE, Ellis FUE, S.A.F.E. and others. MAXIM Hair Restoration is equipped with many of these technologies.
You can restore lost hair by taking a hair-bearing strip of skin and dissecting it into grafts which are then implanted into the thinning and balding areas. Hair transplantation helps in covering the thinning and balding areas.
Will my hair transplant surgery be painful?
Hair restoration is a very delicate procedure. But it is also labor-intensive and can look raw after the operation. Yet, there are certain types of hair transplants that are less painful (e.g. FUE). Most surgeons use a local anesthetic to numb your scalp. Although it is going to be slightly uncomfortable, once the area is numb, you shouldn’t feel the pain.
What are the different types of hair transplant procedures?
There are two hair transplant options for hair loss – FUT, and FUE. Some older folks call them Hair Plugs. But the most popular hair transplant procedures today are FUT and FUE. As for non-invasive procedures – scalp micropigmentation (SMP) is a procedure that uses medical grade pigment to conceal hair loss.
Hair Transplant Operation:
- Follicular unit strip surgery (FUSS)
- (FUE) Follicular unit extraction
- Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) or Strip Harvesting
- Hair transplant graft
- Flap surgery (generally not widely performed)
- Scalp reduction surgery (generally not widely performed)
What is Follicular Unit Transplant (FUT)?
Follicular Unit Transplant is a procedure performed by a hair restoration surgeon or physician. The hair transplant doctor removes healthy hair follicles in small strips from the donor area. During the hair transplant session, the surgeon safely transplants thousands of grafts. And this is done to maximize the aesthetic impact of the treatment. The strips of follicles are then divided into hair grafts. Then, it will be inserted into the thinning and balding areas.
In addition, FUT requires an incision at the donor area site. It will result in minor linear scarring in the donor area. This is covered by the residual hair. Therefore, the scarring won’t be easily visible.
Is a FUT hair transplant going to be painful?
With FUT, the hair transplant surgeon will administer local anesthesia on your scalp. And the pain that you will experience with the first injection will be about 1+ on a scale of 1-10. During the session, the doctor will then reinforce local anesthesia. The dosage is administered as needed to make the operation comfortable.
From start to finish of the procedure, you will feel a bit of discomfort. The night after the surgery, the anesthetic eventually wears off. So, expect that there will be more discomfort and swelling by that time.
Your surgeon may prescribe medication to help ease the pain. However, tightness and tenderness around the transplanted area are noticeable. However, you don’t have to worry and this is normal after the hair transplant. And this will disappear within a week.
So, if you are wondering if a FUT hair transplant hurts. Yes, you will experience some pain but this is bearable. And there is a pain reliever that you can take to subside the discomfort.
What is Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)?
FUE hair transplantation is a procedure that involves a hair transplant physician or clinician. He/she will extract individual hair follicles (instead of strips) at the back of the head of the donor and implant them in the recipient sites (thinning and balding areas). In this process, the donor areas are shaved down up to a workable length (2mm).
You won’t feel much pain during this process because of the administration of local anesthesia. This hair transplant requires skill to harvest hair follicles without transecting them.
Does a FUE hair transplant leave scars?
With FUE hair transplant surgery, there is no strip removed. Instead, the hair restoration doctor or clinician will be removing each hair follicle in a tiny round surgical punch. So, there is no linear scar. After getting the desired amount of grafts, the donor’s scalp is left to heal. This process does not need suturing. And it usually leaves small circular scars throughout the donor area from where the grafts are harvested.
The procedure often leaves little scarring and takes longer. When FUE is performed effectively, the scars are less noticeable. But the recovery period is much faster.
Does Follicular Unit Excision (FUE) hair transplant hurt?
So, if you are starting to consider FUE, you may see images of the surgery. At that time, it may look raw and painful but the pain is tolerable. So, don’t let it get in the way of achieving the hair you’ve been dreaming of. Everyone deals with pain differently. So, it is hard to say how painful your FUE hair transplant will be.
During the surgery, you won’t feel much pain because of the anesthesia, ice packing, or vibrators. Oftentimes, FUE patients experience severe pain on postoperative day 1. However, this is still manageable and the pain scales on an average of 1.26.
Same with FUT, your surgeon will prescribe you a pain reliever to ease the discomfort. You may feel sore after the procedure. And, it often lasts for a day or two. Some people also experience it throughout a week or more. But like we have said, people have varying degrees of pain tolerance. In general, the more grafts you have, then the longer time it will take to heal.
Moreover, there are cases where the redness in the harvested area often lasts for a week. However, if the redness lasts longer than 1 week, consult your doctor. He can check if there are underlying issues that contribute to your discomfort.
Is a FUT/FUE hair transplant safe?
Yes, of course. Hair transplantation is one of the safest, minor surgical procedures. However, a licensed, qualified, and experienced surgeon or clinician should perform the surgery. This is because the hair restoration surgery requires great precision and care.
Will there be hair transplant pain/discomfort during and after the procedure? Yes, of course. There will be slight pain/discomfort during and after the surgery.
Hair transplant pain/discomfort during the procedure
FUT and FUE require the doctor to make incisions on your scalp. And the removing and placing process of hair follicles can cause discomfort. You may experience some nerve pain on your scalp. To make the procedure relatively painless, the surgeon will administer local anesthesia when performing hair transplant surgery.
You will be awake during the FUE/FUT procedure. And you will be aware of what is happening. However, you will still feel the slight pulling and tugging on your scalp.
Hair transplant pain/discomfort after the procedure
Is a hair transplant painful after the procedure? Possibly. After the effect of the anesthesia has subsided, you will likely experience some discomfort. With hair transplant surgery, you will normally experience minor pain and swelling. Also, expect redness on the scalp – especially in the case of individuals who opt for a FUT procedure.
FUT hair transplant involves the surgical removal of strips of hair follicles. You will feel a bit of discomfort, especially during the night. But the hair doctor may give you pain-relieving medications. Moreover, you will be given antibiotics to reduce any chance of infection.
How long does the pain or discomfort last after a hair transplant?
The scalp pain or discomfort that you will feel after the procedure often lasts for a couple of days. In some cases, the uncomfortable feeling could last for about two more days. After the fourth day, there should be no more pain in the transplanted or donor areas.
What are the side effects after hair transplant surgery?
In FUT and FUE procedures, it is normal to have an achy, tight, and swollen scalp. But this will be within a couple of days only. Expect that there will be temporary scabbing in the transplanted area. No matter how good the procedure is, there will be a single scar or several and very tiny scars. But the scars will be less noticeable – especially in FUE. With FUT, there may be a risk of long-term numbness in the donor area but this is rare.
The hair transplant procedures are not painful. Yet, it is important to note that everyone has a different pain threshold. If you are concerned, talk with your hair restoration surgeon or clinician about the procedure. And ask what he/she can do to help you feel as comfortable as possible throughout your hair transplant journey.
Are you looking for a way to restore your hair for a fuller head of hair? MAXIM Hair Restoration can help you find the right hair restoration solution for you. Request an appointment at one of our locations today. We offer TeleHair consultations in some locations.