The hair transplant procedure is the best treatment available for those suffering from hair loss. This technique regrows hair in missing bald areas by extracting hair follicles from one part of the body to donor areas where hair is missing. Although it is a surgical procedure, the hair transplant procedure is tolerated very well by most patients. They report that they felt no pain during the procedure and that discomfort was mild. During the procedure, the surgeon administers local anesthesia to numb the recipient and donor areas. The two main hair transplantation techniques are follicular unit transplantation (FUT) and the FUE hair transplant. Each one of these procedures has its differences and advantages, that you should take into consideration before you decide. In this blog article, we will help you decide between the two procedures, how they work and how to manage the pain of it.
What Does A Hair Transplant Involve?
As we have already mentioned, there are two main types of hair transplant procedures. One is follicular unit transplantation (FUT), also known as the strip method, and the other is follicular unit extraction (FUE). Hair transplant surgery is performed in one day, and the patient is not hospitalized but can go home to rest and recover. Sometimes 2 sessions may be needed for hair transplantation if the area to be treated is large, but this rarely happens. It is good to know that the procedure will be performed under local anesthesia, which will allow the patient to be awake and communicate with the doctor, but he or she will not feel any pain or discomfort during the whole procedure. In addition, we will briefly explain the differences and techniques of FUE and FUT.
Follicular unit transplantation (FUT or Strip method)
First, we will explain follicular unit transplantation, briefly known as FUT. During this procedure, the doctor removes a thin strip of skin from the back or side of the scalp and divides it into smaller pieces. These pieces contain 1 to 4 hair grafts each. The site where the strips were taken will be closed with sutures to recover, and the grafts will be inserted into small cuts made where hair is missing. Scars will not be visible if the hair is long enough to cover them. Also, it is good to know that the doctor will not have to shave the entire head, but only the area where the incisions will be made.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE)
Follicular unit extraction, briefly known as FUE, is considered a more advanced and innovative technique than FUT because of its many advantages. During this procedure, hair follicles are extracted one by one and placed in the donor area, which can be the head, beard, or eyebrows. This technique allows the physician to be more precise, and scars will be minimal or even invincible. The back of the head should be shaved to facilitate the doctor's work.
Hair Transplant Pain
As we have already mentioned, whether follicular unit transplantation (FUT) or follicular unit extraction (FUE) is chosen, small cuts will be made. There are pain nerves throughout the body and face, so if these nerves are not cut when the surgeon makes an incision in the skin, they can cause pain and discomfort. Our scalp has numerous nerves, so it is necessary to anesthetize to prevent them from functioning before performing hair transplant surgery so that the patient does not experience any discomfort or pain. Surgeons at Queen Clinic can use several methods to anesthetize the area during hair transplant surgery. The first thing to do is to make the patient feel calm and comfortable in the clinic environment, because stress can increase the level of pain, and this can be administered with pain medications. During the procedure, the surgeon will use local anesthetic injections to eliminate any pain or discomfort.
Local Anesthesia Injections
Local anesthesia injections will be the first phase of the surgery. These are very small injections given to regions where the surgeon will remove hairs and insert new ones. The injections are done with a needle so thin that it is almost as wide as a human hair. Our surgeons go further, despite the small needle. To prevent the brain from receiving pain signals, they apply a device to the skin. This means that the discomfort caused by the initial numbing injections is much less. By the end of this stage, the entire scalp will be numb and the operation should not hurt.
Giving Pain Pain-Relieving Medications
In addition to local anesthetic, our surgeons will also offer you pain medications. These medications will help eliminate discomfort during treatment and promote relaxation.
Ensuring Every Patient Is Comfortable And Relaxed
It is good to know that the brain perceives pain more intensely when under stress or pressure. Therefore, one of the surgeon's main tasks is to make every patient comfortable and at ease in any way. Our hair transplant facility is specially built to make every patient comfortable. We use various methods in our clinic, such as aromatherapy and quiet music, and the temperature will be adjusted according to your comfort.
Pain And Discomfort During Hair Transplantation
As we have already mentioned, local anesthesia will be administered during the hair transplant procedure, which ensures that the patient does not experience any pain or discomfort. At the beginning of the procedure, the patient may feel slight pressure at the site where the doctor will make the incisions. The level of comfort we offer in our clinic can even put you to sleep. We pay close attention to our patients' comfort, and we are proud to say that we make sure their process is as relaxing as possible.
However, you should know more about the hair transplant and what will happen during the same. After the doctor has ensured that the patient is completely numb, the hair transplant procedure has two parts. The first is the harvesting of the grafts from the donor area, which is usually the back of the scalp, while the second stage of the procedure is the insertion of the hair follicles into the areas of balding and thinning that you want to improve.
Both the recipient and donor areas will need to be numbed before incisions are made and hair follicles are reinserted into the scalp, beard, or brow area. The same local anesthesia will be injected into the recipient area or, more precisely, exactly in front of the recipient region, a few millimeters before the hairline, and the entire area will go numb in a few minutes. This procedure is identical to donor numbing.
Once the numbing has taken effect, the patient will feel nothing when the doctor and nursing staff operate. The patient will not feel anything else for the whole day because of the numbness in the receiving area. Afterwards, the entire scalp is completely numb, from the front to the donor area in the back. Now the whole procedure can be performed without pain. There will be no physical pain from the procedure itself, but the patient may wish to reposition and take breaks to stretch and move around to minimize the discomfort of sitting for a prolonged period. Should the patient experience discomfort, he or she will alert the nursing staff and the physician will provide additional anesthetic injections.
Having talked about the level of pain during surgery, what happens after surgery? We know that anesthesia is used to relieve pain, but after the anesthesia wears off, what happens?
Fortunately, the hair transplant procedure has a high success rate, and people who have undergone it say that discomfort during the recovery period is minimal. To lessen these side effects, your doctor will recommend some medications for you to use to ease the discomfort and pain. The effect of anesthesia will still last for about 3 hours after leaving the operating room, and this is when you will need to use medications if you need them.
Switching from one medication to another should go smoothly and without any discomfort if the patient follows the correct instructions and takes a few medications before the numbness wears off. After taking the prescribed number of additional doses of pain medication as indicated, the patient will go to bed the night after surgery without pain. It is necessary to sleep with the head in an elevated position to avoid any contact with the view of the incision. The pain should disappear by the next morning and the pain will have been replaced, so the patient will not feel the need to take any more medication.
Overall you should keep in mind that the recovery period is different for everyone and if you are experiencing any kind of abnormal side effect contact your surgeon to see what the next steps are.
Does local anesthesia cause pain?
In most cases, patients report feeling comfortable during the hair transplant procedure. The procedure is performed in a painless environment with minimal discomfort. An extremely fine needle is used to inject local anesthesia under the skin. A very slight discomfort may be felt during the operation. However, it cannot be described as painful.
Are there alternatives to local anesthesia?
Most patients who constantly wonder whether hair transplant surgery is painful are only making the process more stressful for themselves. Although the demand for hair transplants is considerable nowadays, some people worry because they fear they may experience unmanageable pain and discomfort. Instead, hair transplantation is performed under sedative anesthesia as well as local anesthesia, according to the patient's wishes. Patients under sedation anesthesia are not completely asleep during the treatment and can communicate with the surgeon. However, it is certain that the patient will feel no pain during the operation with both sedation options used. Sometimes patients prefer general anesthesia.
Why Do People Get Drowsy After Hair Transplantation?
The anesthesia used where the roots are removed and in the area to be transplanted is the main cause of drowsiness after hair transplant surgery. The duration and intensity of numbness varies from patient to patient, which is understandable since the amount of anesthesia depends on the physiology of the patient being treated.
How Long Does Drowsiness Last After Hair Transplantation?
The important thing to remember about the numbness that results from anesthesia is that it will pass with time. In general, fatigue that disappears in the first 24 hours after hair transplantation may last longer. In this case, the experts' suggestion is to work closely with the treating physician and contact him or her personally for periods longer than 24 hours.
It is very common to experience tingling in the area where the hair transplant was performed. After a hair transplant, the numbness gradually disappears 8-10 hours after surgery. The numbness will disappear completely in a few weeks when the surgical site has healed.
However, some people may suffer from numbness after hair transplantation for a longer period of time. In some patients, the numbness that lasts for a few months goes on for as long as 8-9 months after the procedure. However, this is typical, and numbness may still be felt in the donor area up to a year after surgery, but there is no need to worry because this does not indicate that something is wrong or that there is a problem.
How Long Does It Take For Hair Transplant Pain To Go Away?
Another question often asked when discussing hair transplant surgery is, "When will the pain go away?" In the area undergoing surgery, there is often discomfort after hair transplantation. How long will the discomfort last after a hair transplant is a common question. Depending on the hair transplant technique used, pain may occur after surgery. In the FUE procedure, discomfort in the head and neck is often felt for 3-4 days; in the FUT method, it may persist for up to 2 weeks. However, it is difficult to estimate how long the discomfort will persist, as it depends on the patient.